Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The book then is really a series of forty-five letters, written
over a five-year period, describing Mexico and its inhabitants.
These letters tell how the Indians were converted. They describe
their devotion, their customs, their habits, their pagan festivals,
their sacrifices, their cruelties, their self-inflicted tortures, and
their offerings. They tell about their temples, their idols, their
superstitions, their magic practices, their calendar, their skills,
their trades, and their ceremonies. Through them all runs a
description of the physical aspects of the country, with observa-
tions on plant and animal life.
Las Casas obviously drew heavily on Motolinia's manuscripts
in writing his Apologetica Historia de las Indias. Evidence is
presented to show that others from Zurita, a contemporary, in
his Relacidn, to W. H. Prescott in his immortal classic, The Con-
quest of Mexico, used them freely.
Dr. Foster has performed a scholarly and worthwhile service
in translating Motolinfa's history. She has retained the flavor of
the original and still provided fairly easy reading. Wherever there
might be obscurity in construction, or doubt about the meaning,
she has given the original Spanish in the notes. There is an
adequate index. The Cortes Society has limited the edition to
five hundred copies.
Edinburg Regional College
Sonora: A Description of the Province. By Ignaz Pfefferkorn.
Translated and annotated by Theodore E. Treutlein. Coro-
nado Cuarto Centennial Publications, 1540-1940, Volume
XII. Albuquerque (The University of New Mexico Press),
1949. Pp. xv+329. $9.50.
The author of Sonora, Ignaz Pfefferkorn, was a Jesuit, born in
Mannheim, Germany, in 1725. As a young man he went to
Sonora where he spent eleven years (1756-1767) as a missionary
among the Pima, Opata, and Eudebe Indians, whom he describes
in much detail in thirteen of the thirty-one chapters of this
translation of his work. Only one chapter is dedicated to the
Spaniards in Sonora and two to the Spanish missions there.
With the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish dominions,
Pfefferkorn stayed eight years in Spain as a prisoner suspected
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101139/. Accessed July 14, 2014.