In lean, swift-moving prose, Across the Northern Frontier
chronicles the compelling adventures of the Spaniards who ventured
north from colonial New Mexico into the unknown, and their contacts
and conflicts with Native Americans. The narrative takes the reader
along on those dangerous frontier expeditions for diplomacy, trade,
North of colonial New Mexico, the northernmost province of New
Spain, loomed the region's highest mountains, seemingly limitless
plains, moving black hills of buffalo, and a bewildering maze of
mesas and canyons held by disparate and often hostile native
peoples. Few journeys across the frontier were routine, for they
included unpredictable encounters, with natives and exposure to the
hazards of the wild. Water, and its scarcity, influenced every
decision. Expedition leaders routinely kept journals of their often
momentous travels, and those that survive provide rich detail on
the new lands and strange peoples.
Spanish explorers exerted a profound influence on the subsequent
history of the present-day states of New Mexico and Colorado -- a
legacy not fully documented until now -- as well as Texas, Kansas,
Arizona, and Utah. Colorado's people, their cultural practices,
place names, and even occasional artifacts all attest to this early
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