Spain and the Atlantic Coast of the United States

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In this book, Carmen Benito-Vessels re-examines historical narratives of Early Modern Times on the East Coast of the United States through 16 th Century Spanish texts. She focuses on the voyages, settlements, and exploration of the East Coast between 1521 and 1572 and the “Four Characters in Search of an Author”: the Spaniards Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón and Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, and the Native Americans Francisco Chicorano and Don Luis de Velasco, who guided and defeated the Spaniards. Benito-Vessels documents and emphasizes various settlements and missions throughout “Tierras de Ayllón” or “Lands of Ayllón,” and the Spanish Florida, a territory that stretched from the Chesapeake Bay to present day Florida. Ayllón’s discoveries influenced future navigations, quests, and mapping explorations of colonists and cartographers from Portugal, France, and England.
This book underscores the Spanish legacy in the Eastern Coast of the United States whose settlements preceded those of the British including Roanoke (1585) and Jamestown (1607) by almost a century. Through her thought-provoking analysis, Benito-Vessels argues for the U.S. coast as deserving of his own chapter in American History alongside the English and French narratives of early North American Colonies. With detailed -but widely unrecognized-documentation of the history of Spanish explorers, cartographers, legislation, administrators, literature and settlers, Benito-Vessels highlights the fact that Early North American History and its European roots actually began 500 years ago. This study demonstrates that the U.S. coast deserves a chapter of its own in American history of equal importance to the English and French narratives of the early colonies in North America.