The authors of such works, especially in the early days of Spanish dominance, were government officials and priests who possessed the tool of literacy and who typically regarded their mission in the Southwest on a grand scale.(See, for example, the selections by Otermín, 1: 475-483; de Vargas, 1: 440-445; Delgado, 11-1217; and Palou, 1: 1217-1226.) Belletristic fictional works, particularly novels, were rarely produced until the cultural infrastructure necessary to support such writing a stable, relatively well-educated middle-class population, the introduction of sophisticated printing technology, and efficient means of distribution, for example came into existence in several southwestern towns and cities.Learn more about how Oath collects and uses data and how our partners collect and use data.
The authors of such works, especially in the early days of Spanish dominance, were government officials and priests who possessed the tool of literacy and who typically regarded their mission in the Southwest on a grand scale.
But the cultural forces that gave rise to Chicano literature date from the late sixteenth century when the Spanish conquistadores began their exploration and colonization of what is now the southwestern United States.
The Spaniards were remarkably courageous, audacious, and, inevitably, brutal, as the narratives of Cabeza de Vaca, de Niza and Castañeda excerpted in The Heath Anthology amply demonstrate; and they planted their institutions, particularly language and religion, throughout this vast region.
Traditional Spanish plays were sometimes adapted to the particular circumstances of the Southwest.
In New Mexico, The Moors and the Christians, which featured an abduction of the Christ Child by the Spaniards' mortal enemies, metamorphosed into Los Comanches, in which the kidnappers were pagan Indians.
All this is not to say that the region was not already developing its cultural particularities.
For if the Mexican Southwest, despite great obstacles, managed to maintain cultural ties with the Mexican interior, it also was developing ever-stronger connections with the United States.
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