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Desert Area Teaching American
History Institute

Resources for Learning About the Spanish in
Colonial North America on the Internet

Spanish Exploration and Conquest of Native America
Hernando de Soto explored America for a seaway to China in order to trade Spain's New World gold. He followed trails that we use as highways. Spain's records describe Native Americans along those trails at places that are cities again today. Conquest Trails in Fourteen States are presented here. The site, written by Dr. Lawrence A. Clayton from the University of Alabama, paints a very negative picture of the Spanish. Standards 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 5.3.1, 7.7.3, and 7.11.1

An Interactive Study Environment on Spanish Exploration
and Colonization of "Alta California" 1774-1776

This is a beautifully laid out bilingual site on Spanish exploration and colonization in California. It has primary documents such as diary and letter selections from Anza, Father Graces, and Font. A section with historical background puts the documents in context for easier understanding. Standard 4.2.2, 4.2.3, 5.2.2 and 5.2.4

Spanish Exploration and Conquest of Native America
Here is the conquest of America from a Native American perspective. Cabeza de Vaca's eight years in North America, starting in 1528, set the stage for Hernando de Soto to lead an army of settlers from Havana, Spain's "Ellis Island," into America in the 1540's. This is an extensive site with maps and primary source materials. It was written by Donald E. Sheppard and has received numerous awards including the American anthropology and History Award. Standards 5.2.2, 5.3.1, 5.3.4, 7.7.3, and 7.11.2

Spanish Missions of California
Take a virtual tour of a real Spanish Mission, and learn why they were an important part of California's history. Read about the everyday life of those who lived and worked here: the priests, the soldiers, and the native people. There's even a recipe for pozole, a common food served during those times. This site is rich with facts, photographs, maps, and audio tour guide readings. Need help with unfamiliar words? Check the hyperlinked glossary. Standards 3.3.1, 4.2.0, 4.2.3, 4.2.4, 4.2.5, 4.2.6, and 5.4.5

Spanish Colonial Frontier: Missions, Presidios, Pueblos
California was a colonial province of the Spanish empire during the years 1769 to 1821. Located on the northern frontier of New Spain, California was far removed from the cosmopolitan center of the empire. The central institutions of Spanish California were the Franciscan missions founded along the coast from San Diego to San Francisco. Presidios provided limited military protection while pueblos emerged as fledgling civilian centers. Standards 3.3.1, 4.2.0, 4.2.3, 4.2.4, 4.2.5, 4.2.6, and 5.4.5

Missions and Moral Judgment
The mission is a topic that permeates the history of Spanish America. The sixteenth-century monks who undertook the spiritual conquest of their Spain's new lands by baptizing hundreds of thousands but also witnessed the rapid decline in native population. The seventeenth-century evangelists, less assured about the sincerity of native conversion, spent their lives on remote frontiers working to Christianize and westernize the Indians. The success with which they segregated their charges from outsiders was their undoing when the church lost power in later centuries. Missions differed across the Spanish Borderlands, as they differed throughout the Americas, and that variety was a function of time, place, and above all, the people involved. Standards 5.3.1, 5.3.2, 7.11.2, and 8.8.5

Spanish Colonization of the Americas
This encyclopedia-type article hotlinks to further information. This article looks at Spanish colonies in the Caribbean, South America, Central America and North America. It then looks at the New World trade, and the northern extent of Spanish influence. Standard 7.11.3 and 5.2.2,

Explorers of North America
This site is divided into six eras with hotlinked information to explorers in North America for each era. There is also a map for each of the eras but it is larger that the screen for must be printed at 50% or less. Standards 5.2.1, 5.2.3, 5.2.4, 7.11.1, and 7.11.2

Spanish America: Spanish Colonization in the North
This is a brief summary of the Spanish colonial experience in North America. It links to maps and a glossary. It has embedded hotlinks to more information on key North American explorers. Standards 5.2.2, 5.4.5, 5.85, and 8.8.5

U.S. History Maps
This list of clear maps with in-depth annotations provides a summary of American history from colonial to modern times.

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