The Enterprise Of Florida: Pedro Menendez De Aviles And The Spanish Conquest Of 1565-1568
Publish Date: 1983-05-01
Author: Eugene Lyon
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Adelantado: A Spanish or Spanish colonial official, appointed to represent the Kings interest in frontier areas in return for grants of authority and certain revenues and exemptions. --from the glossary of The Enterprise of Florida
This biography of Pedro Menndez de Avils, described as "magisterial" by Florida Historical Quarterly, explicates the role of private conquerors in Spanish expansion. Using primary materials in Spanish and Florida archives, many studied for the first time, Eugene Lyon refutes the claim that the Spanish contract to settle Florida was signed with Menndez in response to news of the French foothold at Fort Caroline. Not merely an expedition of military dominance or even of religious zeal, the Florida enterprise was primarily a joint commercial venture between Menndez and the Crown, with the adelantado assuming most of the risks. Menndez negotiated contracts for opening trade and agricultural centers, and he exploited family ties, particularly with his Asturian kinship group, who supported the adventure with men, ships, and money.