Jane Landers


The historiography of seventeenth-century La Florida (which Spain claimed reached from the Florida Keys north to Newfoundland and west to "the mines of Mexico") is, like the Spanish empire itself, less rich than its sixteenth-century counterpart. This is primarily because the declension narrative for this period lacks the drama of the early explorations and the martyrdoms of devoted missionaries which were the focus of much of the sixteenth-century literature. Most scholars trained in colonial Latin American history, as I was, focused not on Florida, but rather on sites deemed more important: the great indigenous empires and Spanish conquests of New Spain (Mexico) and Peru. As a graduate student at the University of Florida, I was warned that to work on Florida would lead to being "typecast as a local historian." Fortunately, I disregarded this advice and followed in the daunting footsteps of noted historians such as Michael V. Gannon, Eugene Lyon, Paul E. Hoffman, Amy Turner Bushnell and John H. Hann and archaeologists such as Kathleen A. Deagan and Jerald T. Milanich, all role models for exacting and collaborative research.