Fighting the Apache
This chapter follows Bernardo de Gálvez’s first sojourn in America where he followed his uncle who was posted to the viceroyalty of New Spain (mainly today’s Mexico, Southwest of the United States and part of Central America) as visitador general (visitor general) in charge of conducting an inspection of all the branches of colonial administration as part of the so-called bourbon reforms. When his uncle fell seriously ill, Bernardo de Gálvez assumed his position as lieutenant, and afterwards as captain of the Presidiales, the American-born soldiers, fighting the Apaches who were conducting raids against Spanish settlements. Instead of succumbing to the warmongering attitudes prevalent in the region, he studied the Apaches’ culture, including their motivations for their attacks, concluding that a new Indian policy was needed in order to pacify the region. His report appeared under the title of Account and reflections on the current war against the Apache Indians in the provinces of New Spain is a mayor source for the Apaches’ culture and situation during the second-half of the eighteenth century.
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