Crónica de la Provincia Franciscana de los Apóstoles San Pedro y San Pablo de Michoacán
Author: Isidro Félix de Espinosa (1679-1755)
Publisher: Imp. de "El Tiempo
Place: Mexico City
574 pages with frontispiece portrait. Royal octavo (9 3/4" x 6 1/2") bound in half leather with gilt lettering to spine over marbled boards. First edition.
Isidro Félix de Espinosa was a Spanish Franciscan missionary who participated in several expeditionary missions throughout the province of Tejas (modern Texas). He was the president of the missionaries from the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro. On April 5, 1709, an expeditionary group made up of Father Espinosa and Father Antonio de Olivares, along with Captain Pedro de Aguirre and fourteen soldiers, traveled to the area which today is San Antonio, Texas, to establish a Spanish colony, attracted by the presence of water resources in that region. Along the way, the expedition made first contact with the Pastia Indians who lived south of the San Antonio River. The expedition also encountered the Yojuane and their allies, the Simonos and Tusonibi in their travels. These groups tried to convince Espinosa and his associates to visit their villages located along the Rio Brazos, however, Espinosa could not go to their villages. The expedition moved past the San Antonio River and traveled to the Colorado River valley, where they hoped to contact the Hasinai, having heard that these native peoples inhabited the area. Espinosa and associates failed to contact any natives in the Colorado River area. The group left the area and returned to San Juan Baptista on April 28, 1709. Espinosa soon after returned to Queretaro. Espinosa was elected to oversee the building of the missions in the province of Tejas. He returned to Tejas, and in 1716 he joined Domingo Ramón and founded several missions: San Francisco de los Tejas, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and San José de los Nazonis, all of them located in east Texas. In late April 1716, another Espinosa and Ramón expedition traveled to east Texas to establish a Spanish colony in the area. Espinosa also joined the Martín de Alarcón and San Miguel de Aguayo's expeditions of 1718 and 1721, respectively.
Espinosa was a chronicler of Spanish Texas in the first half of the 18th century. Espinosa combined his work with writing, as he served the church by day while writing at night. He earned the nickname of "El Julio Cesar de la Fé en Nueva España" (The Julius Caesar of Faith in New Spain). He wrote many pieces of literature, as well as a biography of the Franciscan missionary Antonio Margil de Jesus, with whom he was friends. Espinosa was the author of the Crónica de los Colegios de Propaganda Fide de la Nueva España (Chronicle of the Colleges of Propaganda Fide of New Spain), which has been considered the most outstanding work in Texas in terms of information provided about the work of the Franciscans in the North American province.
This seems to be earliest printing of the present chronicle. "en 1748" in ink on title page apparently an indication of the date it was written. OCLC locates ten copies. There is only one located at auction in the last 20 years.
Wear to extremities, boards rubbed, front joint neatly repaired with glue; contents somewhat darkened, damage to gutter of front free endpaper. corners bumped and worn away, cracked hinges else good to very good.
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