These documents offer both primary source data as well as contextual information concerning Spanish colonial history and culture. Many of the documents underscore differences between the conquest of La Florida and of Mexico and Peru while stressing imperial power struggles and the important role of creating the image of a conquistador. In 1565, Menendez sailed to Florida and fulfilled his duty to Phillip II by recapturing France's primary settlement, Fort Caroline, and executing the Fort's commander, Jean Ribault, along with his men. Menendez continued his duties by establishing two Spanish colonies, one of which, St. Augustine, would become the oldest permanent city of European origin in the United States. Following France's example, the colonies were instrumental to Spain's claim and military defense of the territory. This work has been based on the study of the key chroniclers and their writings (primarily Menendez' brother-in-law, Gonzalo Solis de Meras, who was with him on the expedition, and Bartolome Barrientos, Professor at the University of Salamanca who several years later wrote a second-hand chronicle of the expedition based on eyewitness accounts).
This is the first annotated English edition of the expeditions' chronicles.