This book narrates a Catholic Church mission effort that is usually associated in the popular mind with the American Southwest. The Franciscan friars operated some forty missions in the future states of Florida and Georgia by the mid-sixteenth century; yet they were driven out of Georgia by 1686, and Spain and the Catholic Church virtually abandoned the American Southeast after 1763. In contrast to the early church presence in Florida and Georgia, Catholicism did not reach colonial Texas and Louisiana until after 1700; however, it persisted in both areas throughout the eighteenth century. Catholicism, its Spanish variety in Texas and its French variety in Louisiana, survived into the nineteenth century even when both provinces were eventually annexed to the American South. Colonial Catholicism persisted in what would become the southern states of Texas and Louisiana, and it was in Maryland, a southern colony of Britain, that germinated the initial American Catholic leadership.
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