The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996 Page: 422
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
This compilation of documents and, especially, the footnotes are a wealth of
information. The footnotes speak to the great and thorough care Kessell has
taken with his research. The only criticism is almost a compliment: at times, the
amount of information is overwhelming, as in the comparison of French,
English, and Spanish colonization. And this reviewer found one error: Santa Fe's
Virgin, "La Conquistadora," was not renamed "La Paz." Rather, the latter name
was added to her already existing and historical name.
No historian of the Spanish Southwest should be without this series of books.
Each of the volumes in the series is better than the last, which hardly seems pos-
sible, for this is history at its best. In addition, these publications are important,
for they put heretofore inaccessible, even unknown, information before the pub-
lic in a language most of us can read.
This volume contains an added bonus. For the curious who want to read the
original Spanish, check the scholarship, or answer any number of further
research questions, a "semipaleographic transcription" with reference lists and
other aids is available on microfiche. The historian and student of the border-
lands could hardly be presented with a more complete work.
Palace of the Governors Museum, Santa Fe THOMAS E. CHAVEZ
The Red Captain: The Life of Hugo O'Conor. By Mark Santiago. (Tucson: Arizona
Historical Society, 1994. Pp. vi+125. Acknowledgments, index. ISBN o-
910037-33-7. $15.95, paper.)
Hugo O'Conor was a Spanish military officer who had a distinguished and
controversial career on the northern frontiers of New Spain from 1765 to 1777.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, he migrated to Spain as one of the "Wild Geese" at an
early age, fought in Europe during the Seven Years War and Spain's Portuguese
campaign, and joined his cousin, Alejandro O'Reilly, in the military reforms in
Cuba. Arriving in New Spain in 1765, O'Conor served in Texas, where he
became acting governor in the late 1760s. From September 1771 to October
1776, he reached the pinnacle of his career as commandant inspector of the
Provincias Internas del Norte. In this position he founded and relocated pre-
sidios, including those of Tucson, La Junta de los Rios, and Carrizal; organized
militia units; and conducted campaigns against hostile Apaches over a vast fron-
tier in Nueva Vizcaya and Sonora. Promoted to brigadier, he became governor
and captain general of Yucatan in 1777, where he died two years later.
Although O'Conor is well known to Spanish Borderlands historians, Mark
Santiago's study is the first biography to examine O'Conor's background, family,
relationship with O'Reilly, and activities in New Spain. Using mostly published
secondary and primary works in Spanish and English, and archival sources in
Tucson, Santiago provides a readable, chronological narrative supplemented by
two maps by the late Don Bufkin, twenty illustrations, notes, a classified bibliog-
raphy, and an index.
Santiago certainly achieves his purpose of describing O'Conor's life and
career accurately and forthrightly. However, his statement that O'Conor's "most
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996, periodical, 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/m1/484/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.