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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay analyzes cartographic materials and geographic descriptions of New Spain’s northwestern borderlands elaborated by Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It explains the meaning of these documents as expressions of the aspirations of these religious institutions to extend their projects of territorial occupation toward that frontier; suggesting that far from simple descriptions of regions inhabited by Pima and Yuma Indians and other peoples between the northern region of the province of Sonora and the banks of the Gila and Colorado rivers, these testimonies were inspired by the need to demonstrate the viability of establishing mission towns and Spanish occupation along those frontiers.

Keywords: KeywordsGila River, Colorado River, mission cartography, territorial expansion, geographic descriptions

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