Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and the Conquest of Florida

Pedro_Menendez_de_Aviles_and_the_Conquest_of_Florida_RGB.jpg“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literature.”—Thomas Hallock, coeditor of William Bartram, The Search for Nature’s Design: Selected Art, Letters, and Unpublished Writings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, assistant professor of Spanish at the University of South Florida, has edited various early modern and medieval Spanish texts, including the Fazienda de Ultramar and Flores y Blancaflor.

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Categories: Florida History, History, Publication Announcement, University Press of Florida

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