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The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763$
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Paul W. Mapp

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833957

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838945_Mapp

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Exploiting Indigenous Geographic Understanding

Exploiting Indigenous Geographic Understanding

(p.69) 2 Exploiting Indigenous Geographic Understanding
The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763

Paul W. Mapp

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows that consideration of the inhibiting effects of western exploratory difficulties and disappointments, of the Far West's geographic position, and of the competitive allure of other potential targets of investigation yields a fair explanation for the pre-1763 Spanish failure to explore the better part of the North American West. Such consideration leaves open, however, the question of why, if the physical and human geography of the North American West rendered its thorough exploration by Spaniards themselves arduous and unappealing, they could not avail themselves of Indian information, utilizing native geographic knowledge as a substitute for Spanish sails and feet. When Vizcaino sailed the coast, when Kino trudged along the Colorado, when Velez Cachupin ransomed “Indian children” taken from and by “all nations,” why not inquire about what lay beyond the frontiers of Spanish rule and reconnaissance?

Keywords:   geographic knowledge, North American West, Spaniards, Vizcaino, Kino, Velez Cachupin

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