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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999

Book Reviews

The next two essays cover French exploration. The first, by Conrad
Heidenreich, interprets their early efforts to about 17oo. Although focusing on
the Northeast and Upper Middlewest (where the French presence was especially
strong), this essay does cover French efforts to claim the southern Mississippi
basin. That includes La Salle's ill-fated attempt (1685-87) to colonize an area
that turned out to be not the lower Mississippi at all, but rather Matagorda Bay
in Texas. Although this story is told in greater detail by Robert Weddle (The
French Thorn) coverage is adequate here to put France's efforts in continental
perspective. The second essay on French exploration, by W. J. Eccles, covers the
period of the 17oos-a crucial time when France attempted to establish trade
with Santa Fe by way of the southern Great Plains. Expeditions by La Harpe
(1718) and the Mallet brothers (Paul and Pierre) in 1739-40 are described.
These two chapters confirm that French exploration efforts in the region were
disconcerting to Spain.
This is a welcome volume in a long-awaited set. It documents the major expe-
ditions that are usually covered in a sentence or two in most North American
history books. By offering more detail, it addresses the often-overlooked issue of
indigeny, namely, how the European explorers related to the native peoples and
settlements with whom they came in contact. This is significant, because the
native peoples often provided information (and in some cases, disinformation)
about the geography of terrae incognitae. Because these essays include, on occa-
sion, excerpts from the original sources such as ships' logs and journals, they are
indispensable in portraying exploration activities in the language of the times.
So, too, are the historical maps, which provide a clearer picture of the state of
both geographic knowledge and geographic confusion. The editors also includ-
ed specially-drafted maps showing the paths of the numerous expeditions.
Although all of the maps are reproduced a bit too small (a common complaint
in virtually every history book), they are certainly very helpful in relating the
story of exploration. Encyclopedic and yet readable, this volume will be of inter-
est and value to students of North American history.
University of Texas at Arlington RICHARD FRANCAVIGLIA
From Sail to Steam: Four Centuries of Texas Maritime History, 150oo-9oo. By Richard
V. Francaviglia. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998. Pp. xvii+324.
Illustrations, acknowledgments, introduction, notes, glossary, bibliography,
index. ISBN 0-292-72503-5. $34.95, cloth).
The earliest explorers of present-day Texas came by sea, as did many immi-
grants from the United States and various European countries. Yet the state's
maritime history prior to publication of this book existed only in fragments.
Richard Francaviglia set for himself the horrendous task of pulling the pieces
together. The result is a lively, fact-filled, and profusely illustrated narrative: of
sea and river craft and their role in commerce, passenger service, and war.
After a brush past colonial maritime episodes, the author proceeds to a sub-
stantive discussion of ships serving Austin's colony; the Republic of Texas Navy;



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 4, 2016.

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