Writing the Californias: Spain and a new history
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Near the end of the eighteenth century Spain was struggling to maintain the tenuous hold it had on its colonies on the pacific northwest coast of the American continent. The Official Contemporary Documents of the Spanish Exploration of the Pacific Northwest Coast provide a view into the political theatrical production of sorts that the Spanish empire put on on the pacific northwest coast during its last attempts to explore and populate this area, with the ultimate goal of repairing its damaged national identity and re-writing its own history. Not only was this a chance for Spain to regain its past status as a powerful colonizing nation, but its citizens also had the opportunity to do the same thing for themselves in the Americas. Esteban JosÃ© MartÃnez, the author of multiple letters from this collection, is a symbol of the national and personal reinvention that was possible in the New World.