Constructing the Spaces of Contact: Native Captives and Commoners in Sixteenth-Century La Florida Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Lauersdorf, Aubrey
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • Although scholars have examined the interactions between the Hernando de Soto expedition and the Native elite who governed the hierarchical chiefdoms of La Florida, oft-overlooked Native commoners were foundational to this early Spanish imperial effort. Native commoners often constructed the spaces of contact between the expedition and local peoples. As guides to an army fully unfamiliar with the region, Native commoners determined the social spaces in which the Spaniards existed, influencing where the expedition traveled, with whom it interacted, and how this interaction transpired. Aware of Spanish reliance on Native knowledge of the region, other Native commoners described space in the abstract as a means to manipulate the expedition. Because the de Soto expedition generally acted as a destabilizing presence, Native commoners also possessed the capacity to uphold the security of their own province and undermine the security of adversarial provinces through these efforts.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Radding, Cynthia
  • DuVal, Kathleen
  • Steponaitis, Vincas
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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