RIO DEL NORTE by Carroll L. Riley

RIO DEL NORTE

People of the Upper Rio Grande from Earliest Times to the Pueblo Revolt
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An often engaging, if uninspired, history of the Rio Grande River of New Mexico and those who have lived along it. Anthropologist Riley (New Mexico Highlands Univ.) describes the ``big river'' of the American Southwest and the impact it has had on the diverse cultures on or near its banks. Beginning with the waterway itself, he describes its geographic and topographic features. He then moves quickly to the people who have made the region of the river home, beginning with American Indians. From the area's earliest known ``paleoindian'' Clovis and Folsom cultures (mammoth hunters today known largely through their well-formed spear points), Riley moves on to the diverse tribes inhabiting the region on the eve of Columbus's landing in the Western Hemisphere (Pueblo, Navajo, etc.). Part two, entitled, ``The Invaders,'' examines the coming of Europeans and the devastating effects of colonization on the indigenous residents. Riley traces Spanish contact, beginning with CortÇs and the Aztecs of Mexico and the impact of that encounter farther north. He tells the stories of familiar figures: Cabeza de Vaca, whose accounts of ``Seven Cities of Gold'' fueled both Spanish greed and desire for territorial expansion; Esteban, the black slave who was the first non-Indian seen by the Pueblos; and Coronado, the conquistador who was the first to systematically explore the region. One of the more interesting accounts is also one of the lesser known, that of Turk, an Indian guide for Coronado who hoped to mislead the Spaniard and bring about his demise. The well-known Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the most successful Indian revolt in North American history, and its aftermath are briefly depicted at the end of the volume. Despite some detectable ethnocentrism, Riley offers much useful information to persons unfamiliar with southwestern history. (36 illustrations, 18 maps, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-87480-466-3
Page count: 336pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1994




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