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Historian Herbert Eugene Bolton (1870–1953) insisted that the experience of Spanish colonialism was as important as British colonialism to U.S. history. Furthermore, he argued that sharing a colonial experience bound the nations of the Americas in a common history. His ground-breaking book, The Spanish Borderlands: A Chronicle of Old Florida and the Southwest (1921), named a historical field; and although Borderlands Studies has changed radically since Bolton's time, he remains the seminal figure in the discipline.

Born in Wisconsin in 1870 and raised on a Nebraska farm, Bolton studied with Frederick Jackson Turner at the University of Wisconsin in 1895. Turner helped Bolton get into the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a PhD in medieval history, and later facilitated an offer to Bolton from the ...

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