Shipwrecked History: Spanish Ships Found In Pensacola Harbor

A hurricane sank a fleet in Pensacola Bay 450 years ago, dooming the first major European attempt to colonize North America, a story that archaeologists are just now fleshing out

On August 15, 1559, the bay now known as Pensacola slowly filled with a curious fleet of 11 Spanish vessels, their decks crammed with an odd mix of colonists and holds filled to bursting with supplies and ceramic jars of olive oil and wine from Cadiz. Aboard the 570-ton flagship Jesus stood the wealthy and ambitious Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano, with direct orders from the king of Spain to establish a permanent colony in La Florida. The rest of the fleet included two galleons, beamy cargo ships known as naos , small barques, and a caravel. North America had never before seen anything like it on this scale.Read more »

Covarrubias

He may have been the greatest caricaturist of all time—he has imitators to this day—but his true passion was for a very different discipline

The trouble was, he couldn’t say no to anyone. Badgered by magazine editors, book publishers, theater producers, political agitators, and college presidents to contribute his talents to their interests, Miguel Covarrubias said yes to all, forgetting that there were limits to even his energies. In time his careless acquiescences would prove ruinous, but until then he enjoyed enormous success as anthropologist, author, painter, muralist, stage designer, and—most especially—caricaturist. Read more »

“Texas Must Be Ours”

On the 150th anniversary of Texan independence, we trace the fierce negotiations that brought the republic into the Union after ten turbulent years

From the moment he entered the White House in March 1829, Andrew Jackson of Tennessee turned a cold and calculating eye on Texas. Sitting in his study on the second floor of the mansion, maps strewn around the room, the white-haired, sharp-featured, cadaverous President breathed a passion for Texas that was soon shared by other Americans. Read more »

The Man Who Made The Yanquis Go Home

Starting with thirty “liberated”
rifles, Augusto Sandino forced American troops out of Nicaragua in 1933

Rear Adm. Julian L. Latimer stood on the bridge of his flagship, the USS Rochester, as it nosed into the harbor of Puerto Cabezas, on Nicaragua’s northeastern Mosquito Coast. It was Christmas Eve, 1926, and the fifry-seven-year-old West Virginian had been called abruptly away from family festivities at the Canal Zone naval station at Balboa. Read more »

The Conundrum Of Corn

It’s our most important, profitable, and adaptable crop—the true American staple. But where did it come from?

In 1748 an inquisitive Swede named Peter Kalm, a protégé of the great botanist Linnaeus, came to America to find plants that could be useful in his country. He went around asking questions of everybody about everything. He asked Benjamin Franklin about hardy trees and was told that English walnuts did not survive Philadelphia’s winters. He asked John Bartram, the most knowing botanist in the colonies, about timber and was told that American oaks were not as tough as European.Read more »

Who Was This Man-and Why Did He Paint Such Terrible Things About Us?

The man was Diego Rivera, seen from the rear on his scaffold in an uncharacteristically modest self-portrait at left, and what he was doing in America was expressing his gargantuan contempt for capitalism and its precepts.Read more »

The Taking Of California

A low comedy for high stakes:

For three hundred years California drifted in a backwash of time. Spain had discovered the region in 1542 but had done little about it until the latter part of the eighteenth century, when fears of Russian interest in the province inspired her to settle a handful of missionary priests, half-educated soldiers, and thoroughly uneducated civilians in a few pinprick outposts scattered along the coast from San Diego Bay to San Francisco Bay. After Mexico won her independence from Spain in 1821, the Mexicans had done little better by California.Read more »

The Emergence Of Modern Mexico

The period between Mexican independence and the constitution of 1917 was turbulent and painful

The official commemorative coin of the 1968 Olympic Games (above) displays a pre-Columbian athletic figure. It is a proud symbol of Mexico’s ancient past. Mexicans do not debate the rival claims of Columbus and Leif Ericson. They know for a fact that their ancestors were here thousands of years before either of those latecomers, and had long since developed a civilization of dazzling sophistication. We cannot cover the glory of this ancient past in a limited picture portfolio.

Mexico

In the bright mestizo tapestry of Mexico’s thirty centuries of civilization, the Indian, the Spanish, and the modern threads interweave—and tangle

About one hundred years ago a roaring hurricane swept along the Mexican border with such fury that it radically changed the course of the Rio Grande—and consequently altered the international boundary. When the storm finally subsided, the village of El Paso, Texas, was about 630 acres larger, and the bawdy little pueblo of Juárez, Mexico, was that many acres smaller.

Mr. Coolidge’s Jungle War

Forty years ago, American Marines tangled with a tough Latin-American guerrilla leader whose tactics against “the capitalists” would evoke an unhappy shock of recognition in Vietnam today.

The United States was first introduced to the vexations of large-scale guerrilla warfare forty years ago in the mountain jungles of Nicaragua. There for the first time Americans were confronted by an elusive partisan leader of a type to become bitterly familiar not only in the Caribbean but in Southeast Asia, a man who pioneered techniques of warfare when Che Guevara and Fidel Castro were in rompers and Mao Tse-tung was an obscure revolutionary. “Mr. Coolidge’s War,” the affair has been called.Read more »