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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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2. Exploring Borders   

2. Exploring

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities


This timeline places literary publications (in black) in their historical contexts (in red).

1490s - Christopher Columbus, "Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage" (1493)
Columbus sails from Spain for the New World, arrives in the Bahamas and claims the land for Spain (1492)
Jews expelled from Spain by order of Ferdinand and Isabella (1492)
Publication of the first Spanish Grammar, Gramática de la Lengua Castellana, by Antonio Nebrija (1492)
New World divided between Spain and Portugal by the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)
Bartolomé de las Casas sails with Columbus on his third voyage to America after receiving a law degree from the University of Salamanca (1498)

1500s Martin Waldseemüller coins the name "America" on a map of the New World (1507)

1510s Bartolomé de las Casas named "Protectorate to the Indians" after returning to Spain to petition the Crown for humane treatment of Native Americans (1516)
Spanish-Aztec wars; Cortés conquers the Aztecs in Mexico (1519-21)

1520s - Codex Boturini (c. 1521-40?)
Explorer Giovanni da Verrazano is first European to enter New York Harbor (1524)
Spanish explorers import first Africans as slaves to America, South Carolina (1526)

1530s - Huejotzingo Codex (1531)
La Virgen de Guadalupe appears to Juan Diego, an Incan Indian who had recently converted to Catholicism (1531)

1540s - Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, The Relation of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (1542)

1550s - Diego Muñoz de Camargo transcribes the Lienzo de Tlaxcala (c. 1550)
- Bartolomé de las Casas, "The Very Brief Relation of the Devastation of the Indies" (1552)
Bartolomé de las Casas debates with Juan Gines de Sepulveda; Casas argues that the Spanish conqests in the New World are unjust and inhumane (1550-51)

1560s - Bernal Díaz del Castillo begins his three-volume work The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (c. 1568, published in 1632)

1570s - Fray Bernardino de Sahagún completes the Florentine Codex (1577)

1580s - Thomas Harriot, A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (1588)
Sir Walter Raleigh and his English expedition reach "an island" and name it "Virginia" in honor of Queen Elizabeth (1584)
John White named governor of colony at Roanoke Island, founded by Walter Raleigh (1587)

1590s - Theodor de Bry's Grand Voyages (six volumes) (1590-96)

1600s - Garcilaso de la Vega, The Florida of the Inca (1605)
Samuel de Champlain makes his first voyage from France to Eastern Canada (1603)
Jamestown colony established in Virginia (1607)
Champlain founds Québec, to become the French capital in North America (1608)

1610s - Samuel de Champlain, The Voyages of Sieur de Champlain (1613)
1620s - John Smith, The General History of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624)
First Dutch settlers arrive in New Netherland (1624)

1640s - Adriaen Van der Donck, A Description of New Netherland (c. 1645)
- First publication of the story of the legend of La Virgen de Guadalupe (1648)
French cede Canada and claims to Indian lands east of Mississippi River to British (1763)

- Lienzo de Tlaxcala (1890)
Chicanos forced from their lands due to settlers arriving in Southwest to mine and develop land (1890-1900)
Spanish-American War (1895-1902)
1940s - Americo Paredes, George Washington Gomez: A Mexicotexan Novel (1940; published in 1991)
The Fair Employment Practices Act helps eliminate discrimination in employment (1941)
"Zoot Suit" riots take place in southern California (1943)

- Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987)
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) creates a means through which some undocumented workers can become legal (1986)
70 percent of Hispanic female-headed households have children living in poverty (1987)

Orbis Terrae Compendios Descripto
[2877] Mercator, Orbis Terrae Compendios Descripto (1587),
courtesy of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries.
Gerard Mercator was the most famous mapmaker after Ptolemy. His "Mercator Projection," while no longer considered good for global viewing, is still useful for navigation.

Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain
[2846] Samuel de Champlain, Illustration from Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain Capitaine Ordinaire pour Le Roy en la Nouvelle France es Années 1615 et 1618 (1619),
courtesy of the Robert Dechert Collection, Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania.

Pieces of Stardust
[6708] Judith F. Baca, Pieces of Stardust (1992),
courtesy of the Social and Public Art Resource Center.
Baca is an acclaimed muralist whose work is based on the belief that art can be a forum for social dialogue.

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