Donald E. Chipman is a famous history writer. By profession he was a teacher at North Texas University for over 20 years. Chipman was Professor Emeritus at University of North Texas at Denton till his retirement in May 2002. His work in the subject of history is a valuable asset and a great source of information. Other than his book under review he has also authored and co-authored the books of Texas Notable Men and Women of Spanish Texas, Explorers and Settles of Spanish Texas, Nuno de Guzman and the Province of Panuco in New Spain 1518-1533, New Light on the Career of Nuno Beltran de Guzman and The Dallas Cowboys and the NFL.
His book under review "Spanish Texas 1519-1821" received following awards.
Kate Brooks Bates Award from the Texas State Historical Association.
Outstanding Academic Book from Choice Magazine.
Presidio La Bahia Award from Sons of the Republic of Texas.
Order of Isabella the Catholic from King Juan Carlos II of Spain.
In the book, the author''s purpose seems to cover the rich and long early history of the region now known as Texas. This region was controlled by Spanish for over three centuries; thereafter Americans acquired it and started a new life in the West. Spanish conquistadors, as well as their successes and defeats, make for a fascinating read all by themselves. The book states their struggles with the French to the east (Louisiana), and how even the early empires feared the newly independent colonies of Great Britain, the United States. For researchers who are interested in the early history of the New World and of Texas this twelve Chapters book is one of the best one-volume resources available and for this presentation Chipman received great appreciation from the scholarly community
In start, Chapter 1 states the 16th century encounters between Spaniards, Native American peoples, and a vast land unexplored by Europeans. Unlike Mexico, however, Texas eventually received the effects of Anglo-American culture, so that Spanish contributions to present-day Texas tend to be obscured or even unknown. In this path finding study, Donald E. Chipman draws on archival and secondary sources to write the story of Spain''s three-hundred-year presence and continuing influence in the land that has become Texas today.
Donald E. Chipman begins with the first European sighting of Texas shores in 1519. He goes on to chronicle the exploits of Cabeza de Vaca, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado, Luis Moscoso and other 16th century explorers, before paying extensive attention to the 18th century, a time of active Spanish colonization. Although Mexican independence ended the Spanish era in 1821, Chipman finds that Spain has left a substantial legacy in modern Texas. Spanish precedents have shaped modern Texas law in the areas of judicial procedure, land and water law, and family law. Spanish influences abound in Texas art, architecture, music, and theater, not to mention the widely spoken Spanish language.
And the Roman Catholic religion introduced by the Spaniards continues to have many adherents in Texas. The reader of Spanish Texas, 15191821 will note the attention Chipman gives to Texas''s Spanish Catholic legacy and the well-planned manner by which he kneads Catholic history into the broader story of Spanish activity in Texas during that three-century period. In virtually all of Chipman''s twelve chapters, the role of the Church is ever-present. At the same time, certain chapters, particularly the second and third, place heavy emphasis on the idea that to Hispanicize meant to Catholicize. Perhaps the most significant chapter relative to the Catholic story in Spanish Texas is the one wherein the author traces the founding of the Texas missions between 1746 and 1762, analyzing the internecine struggles and acts of cooperation which surfaced between Church and Crown.
This awards winning book can be regarded as an important effort to consolidate and the history and information of the era of 1519-1821 as present day image of Texas is driven by Hollywood/Media view of history. Movies like cowboy
Westerns, Giant and TV shows like Dallas show an Anglo-European Texas, but the book sheds light on the Native Indian and Spanish presence and influence on Texas History.
As far as writer''s style and presenting his view point is concerned, through out the book, we see a well organized and solidly re-searched work portrayed in the book. This information work is based on the research available at universities and libraries in Texas, New Mexico and Spain. Each chapter covers about a 10-20 year period. Most helpful was each Chapter ends with a summation/overview of the ideas and subjects covered in the chapter. The book has no text bookish style and easy to read and understand. However there is a need to improve Graphics such as maps and pictures. For persons unfamiliar with the subject and region a visual reference can be helpful when faced with new names and places.
If the author had present day terrain photos, aerial pictures or historical renderings of people and places it would give more form and dimension. There were maps and pictures throughout the book but the placement within the book could have been better timed with the subject being discussed.