Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 4PM, Day 8) – Fact and Fiction: The New World
We began today with a discussion about different kinds of maps and what they can be used for: geographical maps, population maps, highway maps, or maps that show cultural or linguistic areas. Each of these maps is different, and has a different function, from navigation to advertising. We put our map knowledge to the test as we took a field trip to the Center for Second Language Studies. There, Dr. Todd told us stories about 4 different Spanish conquistadors that led expeditions in the 1500s to what is the present-day United States: Juan Ponce de León, Pánfilo de Narváez, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, and Hernando de Soto. Back then, the Spaniards called all of North America by the name of Florida (not just the present-day state). We analyzed the charter given to Hernando de Soto, and a map made of La Florida just after the return of his expedition. It includes land in present-day Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and even Tennessee! The map is not just a geographical depiction of the land they found: its purpose is to stake a claim by the king. Therefore, it is a political document, just like the charter given to Hernando de Soto. Students then followed directions given by Dr. Todd to map out the journeys of Ponce de León, Narváez, and Coronado through the Southeast. Though these voyages did not immediately result in any European settlements, it’s fascinating to imagine an alternate U.S. history that begins with conquistadors, not pilgrims.