The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998 Page: 540
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
was soon to be colonized as Nuevo Santander, or modern Tamaulipas. Also pre-
sented is Capt. Joseph de Berroterin's 1748 report on the region just below the
Big Bend, now shared by the states of Chihuahua and Coahuila. This forbidding
and desolate stretch of country included the Bols6n de Mapimf, used by hostile
Indians as a refuge after their raids on the northern settlements, and it
remained a problem area for frontier defense well past the colonial period,
thanks to the fiercely independent Apaches.
The Texas Corridor documents commence with Alonso de Le6n's 1690
expedition and end with a report on the 1758 San Sabi massacre. Included are
three of Father Mazanet's letters about the unsuccessful missions for the Tejas
Indians; the diaries of Fathers Espinosa and Pefia for the 1716 and 1720-1722
entradas; and four other documents concerning the troubled mission/presidio
establishments at La Bahia, San Xavier, and San Sabi. While the events
described are generally known from the studies by Bolton, Castafieda, and
Weddle (among others), there is nothing like the immediacy of a firsthand
account to bring home to us the trials and tribulations of life on the frontier in
The goal of the editors in this important series is to present selected docu-
ments that show us how the presidio and militia developed on the northern
frontier of New Spain and how this development was interrelated from coast to
coast. Because thousands upon thousands of documents are available in the
Spanish and Mexican archives, the editors-in making their selection-bear a
heavy burden. Readers who are knowledgeable about the colonial period will
always question why certain documents were included and not others, which are
still waiting to be translated into English. The 1716 Espinosa diary, for example,
is available through the 1930 translation by Gabriel Tous published by the Texas
Catholic Historical Society (Ram6n's own account of the expedition being trans-
lated by Paul J. Foik in this series three years later). While the rarity of the
TCHS's Preliminary Studies series might justify another translation, this is not the
case with Pefia's diary of the Aguayo expedition. Not only do we have the
TCHS's translation by Peter P. Forrestal (1935), but Richard G. Santos as recent-
ly as 1981 published a composite edition of five slightly variant versions of Peiia's
diary (uncited by the editors). Surely lesser-known documents such as the vari-
ous reports on the Texas military situation by the two powerful auditors of war,
Olivin Rebolledo and the Marques de Altamira, would have been better choices
than these two diaries for many Texas readers.
None of this quibbling should detract from the overall usefulness of the
Arizona series. The volumes are elegantly designed and extensively annotated,
providing new dimensions to the array of historical characters involved. Many
maps and illustrations accompany the documents, each of which is introduced
by a concise essay that places the document in its historical context and ties the
overall presentation together. Also, the original Spanish is given for all docu-
ments, enabling specialists (and scholars in Mexico) to profit from a luxury that
few other presses can afford these days, that is, being able to compare the
English with the Spanish and thereby satisfy themselves that the translation is
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998, periodical, 1998; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/m1/623/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.