The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, http://texasparlor.blogspot.com/ . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader http://youngtexasreader.blogspot.com/ which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

La Junta de los Rios - Morgenthaler

cover art    
   La Junta de los Rios: The life, death, and resurrection of an ancient desert community in the Big Bend region of Texas.  By Jefferson Morgenthaler. Boerne, Texas:  Mockingbird Books, 2007.  183 pages, notes, bibliography, index, paperback, ISBN 978-1-932801-10-1 $18.95.
 
 
La Junta is a comprehensive history of the early period, up to the 1800's, of the region along the Texas – Mexican border where the Rio Conchos confluences with the Rio Grande.  As such in La Junta Morgenthaler provides and excellent prequel to his The River Has Never Divided Us that covers the 1800's onward.
La Junta is often overlooked in the history of early Spanish Texas, in favor of San Antonio, settlements in the Valley, and El Paso, but the Spanish used La Junta as a major gateway.  Furthermore Morgenthaler goes into convincing detail to demonstrate the intelligence and energy of the Jumano and other natives whose culture had persisted for hundreds of years.
 
On New Spain's northern frontier, Nueva Vizcaya it came to be called, the wasteland and scattered fertile plots around these rivers were generally protected by the mountains and harsh living conditions.  Cabeza de Vaca slipped through from the north.  Random contacts occurred until the 1580's Rodriguez and Chamuscado expedition came looking for a path to Cibola.  Espejo came only a couple of years later.  Spanish enforcers pursued Sosa up the river.  Another freebooter, Leyva y Bonilla, this way came.  Onate passed through on his way to establish his settlement in New Mexico.    Death and conflict ensued.  Missions, presidios, about ten pueblos, and trade followed. 
 
Morgenthaler develops the influence of Mendoza, Retana, and Sabeata.  A rebellion failed in the 1680's, and the La Salle entry shook the region.  But later the Apaches came raiding the region, and the Spanish stalled.  Until the volume's end the Apache are a dominant theme or background noise as the Spanish presence expands northward into Texas.
 
Morgenthaler adds more fully clothed characters to the Texas story around La Junta.
 

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