La Florida del Inca (1605) y la lucha inter-imperial por el dominio de La Florida (1562-1616)
Lopez, Andrea Vanesa
This dissertation sustains that Inca Garcilaso de la Vega’s The Florida of the Inca (1605), a chronicle on the expedition led by Hernando de Soto to Florida (1539-1542), constituted a model for the Spanish conquest of Florida. The research demonstrates how the legal and philosophical competition between the French, Spanish, and British empire over the territory of Florida shaped Garcilaso’s characters. Hernando de Soto represents the archetype of the Spanish conquistador while the indigenous leaders demonstrate civilized customs and express their wish to be integrated into the Spanish empire. By re-shaping the depiction of Native Americans, Garcilaso advocated for colonial reforms in benefit of the indigenous elites during the ongoing process of colonization of Florida. Moreover, this dissertation studies the appropriation and manipulation of Garcilaso’s ideas by Antonio de Herrera, Spain’s Royal Chronicler of the Indies. I argue that Herrera manipulated and inserted Garcilaso’s account into his own chronicle General History of the Acts of the Castilians in Tierra Firme (1601-1615) as a rhetorical strategy to foster Spanish settlements in Florida. Based on the analysis of the calligraphy and the contents of the manuscript “Historia de los sucesos de La Florida” discovered by Miguel Maticorena, I conclude that Herrera was the author of the manuscript and he accessed to it through the Consejo de Indias. This discovery is crucial to establish the influence of Garcilaso’s account into the Spanish official discourse. The dissertation is divided in four sections. The first section examines the inter-imperial competition for the conquest of Florida when Garcilaso was collecting information to write La Florida del Inca. It focuses on the judicial and theological debates between the French, Spanish and British crown. Based on the analysis of the representation of Hernando de Soto and of the indigenous leaders, in the second section I demonstrate that Garcilaso employed the same arguments of the rivals of Spain to elaborate his model. The third section examines the circumstances of creation of the manuscript discovered by Maticorena, and the objectives of Antonio de Herrera’s editions. The last section is dedicated to study the effects of Garcilaso’s chronicle within the official Spanish discourse.