16 halftones, 7 maps

The War for Mexico's West

Indians and Spaniards in New Galicia, 1524-1550
By Ida Altman



Winner of the 2011 A. B. Thomas Book Award from the Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies

The War for Mexico's West
examines a dramatic, complex episode in the early history of New Spain that stands as an instructive counterpoint to the much more familiar, triumphalist narrative of Spanish daring, resilience, and victory embodied in the oft-told tale of the conquest of central Mexico. As Spaniards consolidated their hold over central Mexico they fanned out in several directions, first entering western Mexico--the future New Galicia--in 1524. A full-fledged expedition of conquest followed several years later. Among the loosely organized, ethnically and linguistically diverse societies of New Galicia, however, neither the Spaniards' usual stratagems of conquest nor their attempts to settle and impose their institutions met with much success. An uprising against Spanish rule, today known as the Mixton war, erupted in 1540, attracting thousands of people from many different indigenous communities and bringing Spanish failure in the region into sharp relief. Set within the context of the complex politics of early New Spain in which such prominent figures as Hernando Cortés, Nuño de Guzmán, Pedro de Alvarado, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, and don Antonio de Mendoza vied to fulfill their ambitions in the west and incorporating accounts and testimony reflecting indigenous perspectives, Altman's treatment of the prolonged conquest of New Galicia provides the first full-length account in English of these little-known events and their consequences for Indians and Spaniards.

Contributor Bios
Ida Altman is professor of history at the University of Florida. She is the author or coauthor of a number of books and articles on colonial Spanish America and the early modern Spanish empire.