Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and the Conquest of Florida
A New Manuscript
Gonzalo Solís de MerásEdited, translated, and annotated by David Arbesú
“Until now, historians have had to rely on a single incomplete, flawed version of this work. . . . This new edition is most welcome. It will be the authoritative version of this work, not only revealing previously unappreciated historical details, but also helping us understand the man and his historical context.”—The Americas
“Arbesú’s important new bilingual volume is the product of his 2012 discovery of a second early manuscript copy of the Solís de Merás narrative. . . . This new edition . . . unquestionably belongs on the bookshelf of any serious scholar of sixteenth-century Spanish Florida and should take its place as the definitive edition of this important early narrative.”—Hispanic American Historical Review
“A welcome contribution to sixteenth-century scholarship. . . . Offers an important perspective on a contested historical space.”—Journal of Southern History
“This book succeeds resoundingly in its goal to offer this new manuscript copy of Solís de Merás to historians of Florida and the wider United States.”—H-Net
“A valuable addition for public libraries in Florida and all college and university libraries.”—Choice
"The most authoritative edition of Gonzalo Solís de Merás's rare eye-witness account of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés's 1565 expedition to Florida, one of the earliest and most valuable accounts written about any region in the United States."--J. Michael Francis, author of Invading Colombia: Spanish Accounts of the Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada Expedition of Conquest
"An invaluable source for scholars and aficionados of La Florida alike. The history reads like a novel, and with its careful presentation, we now have a reliable source to a key chapter in early American history and literature."--Thomas Hallock, coeditor of William Bartram, The Search for Nature's Design: Selected Art, Letters, and Unpublished Writings
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (1519-1574) founded St. Augustine in 1565. His expedition was documented by his brother-in-law, Gonzalo Solís de Merás, who left a detailed and passionate account of the events leading to the establishment of America's oldest city.
Until recently, the only extant version of Solís de Merás's record was one single manuscript that Eugenio Ruidíaz y Caravia transcribed in 1893, and subsequent editions and translations have always followed Ruidíaz's text. In 2012, David Arbesú discovered a more complete record: a manuscript including folios lost for centuries and, more important, excluding portions of the 1893 publication based on retellings rather than the original document.
In the resulting volume, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and the Conquest of Florida, Arbesú sheds light on principal events missing from the story of St. Augustine's founding. By consulting the original chronicle, Arbesú provides readers with the definitive bilingual edition of this seminal text.
David Arbesú is associate professor of Spanish at the University of South Florida. He is the editor of several medieval Spanish works such as the Sendebar, Flores y Blancaflor, and the Fazienda de Ultramar; and Golden Age authors such as Lope de Vega and Pérez de Montalbán. He has produced a verse translation of Spain’s most popular play, Don Juan Tenorio.
- Sample Chapter(s):
- Table of Contents
The most reliable and complete account of Pedro Menendez de Aviles’s landing on Florida and the founding of St. Augustine 450 years ago.
--La Nueva USF News
A valuable addition for public libraries in Florida and all college and university libraries.
This . . . translation and scholarly transcription of Solís de Merás’ account should find a place on the shelves of all students of Spanish Florida.
--Florida Historical Quarterly
A welcome addition to the published canon of La Florida primary sources. . . . This book succeeds resoundingly in its goal to offer this new manuscript copy of Solís de Merás to historians of Florida and the wider United States.