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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces part of
Spain in America

Edward Gaylord Bourne

in the
Barnes & Noble edition,
New York, 1962

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Chapter 1

 p. xvii  Author's Preface

It has been my design in preparing this volume to accomplish two objects, so far as was practicable within the limits imposed by the conditions of the series to which it belongs. The first object was to provide an account, succinct and readable and abreast of present scholarship, of the discovery and exploration of the New World, from birth of Christopher Columbus to the beginning of continuous activity in colonization by the English, at which point the succeeding volume takes up the story. Anything like a detailed account of the conquest of Mexico has been omitted as not preparing the way for future Anglo-Saxon occupation. The second part of my plan is to present an outline sketch of the Spanish colonial system and of the first stage of the transmission of European culture to America. This latter purpose seemed to me to be justified both by the intrinsic importance of the subject, some knowledge of which is essential for an understanding of theº effect on European politics of American colonization; and also by the considerations that more than one-half of the present territory of the United States has at one time or another been under Spanish dominion; that our country has assumed the responsibility of shaping the destiny  p. xviii of several millions of people whose total acquisitions of European culture have until very recently come through Spain; and that more and more, in the increasing contact of the United States with Spanish America, will an appreciative recognition of the work and purposes of Spain in America be of service in promoting friendly relations.

The foot-notes and the bibliography reveal the sources from which the material has been derived. It is, therefore, unnecessary to make individual acknowledgments here; yet the extent to which my work has been facilitated by certain of my predecessors in the practical matters of shaping the proportions of the narrative, of fixing upon the essentials, of discovering the primary sources without unnecessary loss of time, and of indicating the present conclusions of scholars upon doubtful questions, would make it seem ungrateful, to myself at least, not to single out for particular mention, among the older works, Peschel's Das Zeitalter der Entdeckungen and Winsor's Narrative and Critical History; and among the later ones, Ruge's Columbus, Errera's L'Epoca delle Grandi Scoperte Geografiche, Günther's Das Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, and Hugues's Cronologia delle Scoperte e delle Esplorazioni Geografiche.

I wish also gratefully to acknowledge the value of Professor Hart's editorial suggestions, which have improved the form of the book without imposing irksome restraints upon the writer.

Edward Gaylord Bourne.

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Page updated: 23 Jan 08