- The Latest Word from 1540: People, Places, and Portrayals of the Coronado Expedition
Richard Flynn and Shirley Cushing Flint have made a name for themselves as experts on the Coronado expedition. In this book they have gathered the works of various scholars who are producing cutting-edge research on various aspects of that expedition. The Latest Word from 1540 includes seventeen essays ranging from traditional historical research into primary sources to very personal accounts of the research process. Authors include historians, archaeologists, and even artists [End Page 201] as the Flints collect works of as many different types of insight into the expedition as is possible. The result is a book filled with wide-ranging methodologies and various conclusions focused on the Coronado expedition of 1540.
The first three essays focus on the people of the expedition. Shirley Cushing Flint shows that Antonio de Mendoza, the viceroy of New Spain, consciously added his relatives, men of high standing, to the expedition in order to control it. José Enrique Achúe Zapata researched the family and friends of don Garcia López de Cárdenas to flesh out his biography. Thomas Hillerkuss illustrates the life and accomplishments of Cristóbal de Oñate, showing how he exemplified the ambitious and capable nobility of New Spain. Each of these essays shows scholarly use of various archival documents to reach their academic conclusions.
Twelve essays look at the places of the Coronado expedition. Richard Flint begins this section by reminding readers that Coronado and his expedition thought they were in Asia, that the Spanish were not yet aware that North America was a separate continent. Several essays are reports from archaeological teams trying to locate specific sites where the expedition traveled or camped. William K. Hartmann and Gayle Harrison Hartmann looked for the San Gerónimo garrisons, Deni J. Seymour looked for Coronado’s track through Sonora, and William K. Hartmann explains the existence of the Port of Chichilticale in Arizona. In New Mexico, Clay Mathers, Dan Simplico, and Tom Kennedy searched for evidence of Coronado’s entrada at an ancestral Zuni Pueblo, Clay Mathers and Charles Haecker looked at El Morro National Monument while Matt Schmader inspected the Piedras Marcadas Pueblo. Richard Flint and Clay Mathers took different approaches to finding the pueblo of Moho, and Donald J. Blakeslee showed how to use archaeology to interpret expedition documents more accurately. Don Burgess wrote a personal narrative of the Coronado Roadshows, where he interviewed the people of the area to see if they had any artifacts from the expedition while Nugent Brashear’s personal account described trying to decide Coronado’s route by using only the original sources.
The portrayals section includes a study of the folklore and fiction of the Tiguex War by Dennis Herrick and a look at various paintings and other depictions of the expedition by Richard Flint, Shirley Cushing Flint, Douglas Johnson, and Chris Webster.
For anyone interested in the Coronado Expedition, this collection provides an interesting look at the many varieties of scholarship currently embarked on in so many disciplines. The Flints have proven that there is still much to learn about the Coronado expedition and that research of all types is yielding great results.