This volume is an interesting effort to write the history of the West Coast of Mexico—Sinaloa and Sonora—from the secular point of view. For this reason, the author has excluded from consideration the “tierras de misiones,” which have been treated so exhaustively by Jesuit chroniclers in behalf of their order, to which the area had been assigned by the Church and the government. The reader will therefore look in vain for the history of the west coast, as told by Pérez de Ribas, Eusebio Francisco Kino, or other chroniclers of the mission era. On the contrary, he will find that the first seventy-two pages are devoted to a cursory review of the exploration of the Gulf of California, early mining activity, and the population of the Gulf Coast, as well as Indians and Spaniards.

Then comes the heart of the book beginning with Chapter III. This is devoted to administration, particularly the “Alcaldías mayores.” It is a comprehensive treatment of the institution of the alcaldía mayor, from the issuance of patents by king, viceroy, governor, or audiencia. Although the author states that while he found numerous examples of the first three, he found none actually issued by the audiencia. He cites a typical “título,” quoting it in full, together with commentary. This is an interesting section, and well worth the eighty-six pages allotted to it. Virtually all of it is based on documentation from the AGI.

Equally interesting is the theme of Chapter IV, relations between Spaniards and Indians, as they developed in encomiendas, slavery, tribute, and trade. The use of forced labor by miners, practiced on this frontier as elsewhere in the Spanish empire, and of “forced” labor in the fields of the missions forms the substance of the discussion. The author cites examples of the practice and some of the controversies that arose over this vital subject. To ranchers, miners, and planters alike such labor was essential, and when attempts were made to upset the system, controversy and lawsuits inevitably followed. These examples are followed by a discussion of the socioeconomic structure of society in the late seventeenth century on this remote frontier.

Chapter V, entitled “Dominación y Defensa,” deals almost entirely with outbreaks of Indian hostility before 1700 and with the various military officers in charge of defense, from Captain Hurdaide to Mange. It is rather sketchy and presents notable cases of Indian outbreaks and military retribution, rather than a comprehensive treatment.

The reviewer’s copy of this book was defective, pp. 313-319 being duplicated, and the “Índice Analítico,” announced in the table of contents, missing.