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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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Peoples and Terrain, Difficulties and Disappointments

Peoples and Terrain, Difficulties and Disappointments

(p.29) 1 Peoples and Terrain, Difficulties and Disappointments
The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763

Paul W. Mapp

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses early modern Europe's engagement with western North American geography. Since Spain initiated the engagement, it is with the Spanish Empire that a study of the influence of western geographic ideas properly begins. From the vantage point of the early twenty-first century, with the results of the last two and a half centuries of geographic investigation close at hand, it is remarkable how little early- and mid-eighteenth-century Spanish officials knew about the North American continent their empire had been colonizing since 1519. The effects of their uncertainty can be more completely and easily understood if the extent of and reasons for this Spanish geographic ignorance gets more attention.

Keywords:   early modern Europe, North American geography, Spain, Spanish Empire, Spanish officials

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