They Say, I Say, A Land So Strange, and Creolization in the Americas

In the introduction of A Land So Strange, Résendez gives a brief description of Cabeza de Vaca’s journey and its consequences in historical and modern times respectively. Cabeza de Vaca, two other Spaniards, and Estebanico were the among first outsiders to experience and come into contact with the New World. They were able to view America before European diseases, colonization, and slavery changed it permanently. Though at one point Cabeza de Vaca’s story was well known by the general public, in modern times it has gone largely underappreciated. Résendez draws evidence from a few different sources, including the Joint Report, the Narrative, and the research of other scholars. I would argue that Résendez is persuasive, although it depends on what you believe he is arguing. I believe that he is attempting to introduce the reader to Cabeza de Vaca’s story, but he is also asserting that Cabeza de Vaca’s story is one that the general public should be more familiar with, despite the fact that its age makes it a bit difficult to understand.

In the introduction of Creolization in the Americas, Buisseret reports on the significance and effect of creolization during the colonization of the Americas. Other terms, such as “acculturation” and “assimilation,” fail to accurately describe what was actually happening at the time, Buisseret claims. This is because these terms describe a “one-way” process, in which a donor culture gives (however forcefully) its own traits and practices to a recipient culture. In the case of the cultural interactions between the Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans, the transfer of cultural traits was anything but unilateral, which is why Buisseret chooses to use the term “creolization” to refer to said process. Throughout the introduction of Creolization in the Americas, Buisseret briefly describes the many ways that creolization affected each group’s culture. Evidence of this mixing of cultures can be seen in the food, music, clothing, medicine, and religion of each of these cultures. Personally, I found Buisseret to be persuasive, mainly because he draws evidence from multiple different sources.

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