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From the Library of Congress—Parallel Histories: Spain, the United States, and the American Frontier

Posted Jun 10, 2005
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The Library of Congress has redesigned and expanded its bilingual, multi-format English-Spanish digital library site devoted to Spanish exploration and settlement in North America from the 15th to the early 19th centuries. This cooperative effort between the National Library of Spain and the Library of Congress has added materials from the collections of the National Library. The project is part of the Library of Congress Global Gateway initiative to build digital library partnerships with national libraries around the world. The site may be accessed at

Parallel Histories: Spain, the United States, and the American Frontier explores the history of the Spanish presence in the territories now part of the U.S., from the first voyage of Columbus in 1492 to the exploration and settlement of California and the American Southwest in the early 19th century. It is intended for use by schools and libraries and by the general public worldwide. Its objective is to present important primary-source materials online—maps, manuscripts, rare books, prints, photographs, and other materials relating to the history of Spain and Spain's role in the exploration, settlement, and development of North America.

Parallel Histories: Spain, the United States, and the American Frontier includes some 55,000 images from the rare book, manuscript, map, and print collections of the Library of Congress and the National Library of Spain. Among the items available on the site are Columbus' letter of 1493 describing his first voyage to the New World; Naufragios [Shipwrecked], the account of the eight-year trek in the 1520s and 1530s by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca from Florida to Mexico; Villagra's Historia de Nueva Mexico, the first Spanish history of New Mexico; and manuscript items from the Hans P. Kraus Collection of Hispanic American Manuscripts relating to Arredondo, Las Casas, Verrazano, Vespucci, and others. The site also includes rare maps showing the voyages and discoveries of De Soto, Coronado, Father Eusebio Kino, Father Junipero Serra, and other prominent Spaniards.

The Library of Congress's Global Gateway Web site of international collections and links to international Web sites is available at "Parallel Histories: Spain, the United States, and the American Frontier" may be found under the link to "Collaborative Digital Libraries." For inquiries regarding this collection, visit the Global Gateway inquiry form at

Source: The Library of Congress,

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