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Bill Thayer

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Spain in America
Edward Gaylord Bourne


The book is widely considered something of a minor classic; its main importance is that Bourne was the first North American writer to paint the Spanish colonial regime in tones of praise rather than disparagement for its horrendous cruelties to the native populations of the Americas.

Two reviews of the work are also onsite. The more recent (Walter Breymann in AAFH/TAM 19:333‑334) properly addresses itself to the 1962 reissue (see below). The earlier review (William R. Shepherd in PSQ 20:329‑333), published in 1905 when the book was new, makes a number of general criticisms, with which by and large I concur; and corrects many errors of various kinds: the serious student will do well to look at it.

Preliminaries of Discovery (867‑1487)

Preparations of Columbus (1446‑1492)

Columbus's Discovery and the Papal Demarcation Line (1492‑1494)

Columbus at the Zenith of his Fortunes (1493‑1500)

Voyages of the Cabots and Corte-Reals (1496‑1502)

Development of the Coast-Line (1499‑1506)

Amerigo Vespucci and the Naming of America (1499‑1507)

The Search for a Strait (1508‑1514)

Magellan and the First Voyage around the World (1519‑1522)

Exploration of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts (1512‑1541)

Exploration of the Interior of North America (1517‑1541)

French and Spaniards in Florida (1558‑1568)

The Achievement of Three Generations (1492‑1580)

The Beginnings of Spanish Colonial Policy (1493‑1518)

Spanish Colonial Government and Administration (1493‑1821)

Spanish Emigration to America (1500‑1600)

Race Elements and Social Conditions in Spanish America (1500‑1821)

Negro Slaves (1502‑1821)

Colonial Commerce and Industry (1495‑1821)

The Transmission of European Culture (1493‑1821)

Critical Essay on Authorities

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Technical Details

Edition Used

The edition transcribed here is the Barnes & Noble reprint, 1962. The original copyright, 1904, puts the book itself now in the public domain; the additional material was copyright 1962 — but the publishers failed to renew their copyright in the appropriate year, which would have been 1989 or 1990, so even the new text has now fallen into the public domain and is therefore reproduced onsite as well (details here on the copyright law involved).


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The edition I followed was very well proofread, with very few typographical errors. I marked the few corrections, when important (or unavoidable because inside a link), with a bullet like this;º and when trivial, with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

A small number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any over­looked mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.

[image ALT: A map of roughly the central half of the American continent, from the present S border of kind in the north to Paraguay in the south; patterned with a checkered design alternating squares with a crenellated tower and squares with a lion rampant. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage, and serves as the icon on my site for Bourne's book, 'Spain in America'.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is a graphic rendering of the book's title: a tiling of the coat of arms of Castile and Leon — which, rather than all of Spain, was the official ruling power in the New World — on a map of the area.

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Site updated: 1 Feb 08