Cover of Discovering Florida

Discovering Florida

First-Contact Narratives from Spanish Expeditions along the Lower Gulf Coast

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University Press of Florida


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Florida's lower gulf coast was a key region in the early European exploration of North America, with an extraordinary amount of first-time interactions between Spaniards and Florida's indigenous cultures. Discovering Florida compiles all the major writings of Spanish explorers in the area between 1513 and 1566.Including transcriptions of the original Spanish documents as well as English translations, this volume presents-in their own words-the experiences and reactions of Spaniards who came to Florida with Juan Ponce de Leon, Panfilo de Narvaez, Hernando de Soto, and Pedro Menendez de Aviles. These accounts, which have never before appeared together in print, provide an astonishing glimpse into a world of indigenous cultures that did not survive colonization. With introductions to the primary sources, extensive notes, and a historical overview of Spanish exploration in the region, this book offers an unprecedented firsthand view of La Florida in the earliest stages of European conquest.

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