About this Edition

This edition is comprised of five documents written in Spanish Florida during the early eighteenth century. The first three documents, dated 1715-11-28; 1715-07-05; and 1716-01-25, were written by the Spanish governor of Florida, Francisco de Córcoles y Martínez. The following documents titled 1718-02-28 and 1718-04-28 are written by the Spanish governor of Florida: Juan Ayala de Escobar, and Don Joseph Primo de Rivera, respectively. These documents are currently held at the General Archive of the Indies in Seville. This collection of documents was gathered by Dr. John Worth and have been cited in several of his works.

The documents have been transcribed and encoded using TEI-XML, following the general editorial criteria for coloniaLab. The most complete expression of that criteria currently available is found in the draft introduction to the Antioquia Negra Digital Archive, a coloniaLab project. In essence, this approach involves encoding a diplomatic transcription and a partially modernized reading version together in a single TEI-XML document, using the <choice> element to record original and regularized readings. The basic guideline for such regularization is that we alter only those aspects of the text that can be modified without impacting how the text would sound when read aloud. The documents in this collection have presented some issues that are not considered in the general coloniaLab criteria, in terms of modernization and other aspects, and so are discussed in detail below.

The documents are presented using an adaptation of TEI Boilerplate which enables the user to access the texts in three formats: the diplomatic transcription, an intermediate view, and a partially modernized reading version. The transcription view attempts to recreate, to the extent possible, the format and textual facts of the original document, including line breaks, original spelling, and punctuation. The edition view shows encoded modernizations that have been made to the document. The intermediate view reveals the editorial interventions made in the text.


We have named our XML files in the following format: yyyy-mm-dd.xml, corresponding to the date of the edited document. When we are dealing with several documents grouped together, such as a letter accompanied by autos or other enclosures, we use the date of the enclosing document. This is the case, for instance, with the letter dated Jan. 29, 1716. Formatting the filenames in this way allows the files to automatically sort in chronological order.


We have employed the <note> element in four different ways, employing four distinct values for @type. “authorial” designates marginal or interlineal notations we believe to correspond to the moment of initial creation of the document. “post-authorial” corresponds to situations where we believe marginal or interlineal notations correspond to some movement after the initial creation of the document, usually upon receipt or at some moment thereafter. In neither case are we making assertions about “authorship,” as, indeed, in most or all instances such actions are the work of scribes, not “authors.” Instead, we are making claims about the chronology, and also indirectly the geography, of scribal activities. Both of these categories of notes appear in all views (“transcription,” “edited text showing changes,” and “edited text”). We display both in a sans-serif font, like the body text itself, and “authorial” as blue text, and “post-authorial” as orange text. Note that when we represent several documents from separate dates in a single XML file, as is the case, for example in 1716-01-25, we consider each document to be an autonomous “authorial” object, with “authorial” and “post-authorial” annotations made to it, as appropriate, and entirely separate from the chronology of “authorial” and “post-authorial” annotations that might be made to other documents in the file.

We use a value of “transcription” for @type in order to document problems related to the act of transcribing the text. These are most often annotations dealing with the layout of text on the pages, which in these documents is often opportunistic, with writing squeezed into available space, often with symbols used to remit the reader to other sections of text elsewhere on the page, or on other page (see the first few folios of 1716-01-25 for an example). These notes, which we display in a serif font and in red text, display only in the “transcription” and “edited text showing changes” views.

We employ a value of “editorial” for @type on interpretive annotations in which we comment on lexical, historical or other aspects of the text. These display in a serif font and in purple text, and only in the “edited text showing changes” and “edited text” views.

The use of color-coding, as discussed in this section, is a provisional solution, as it presents limitations in terms of accessibility.



The following items represent additions to the general coloniaLab criteria for regularization:

We transcribe as-is the “=” used to delineate the end of a sentence and/or paragraph throughout these documents but modernize this to a period in the reading version.

In a few instances in the text, we encountered words that begin with “es” but that were written without the initial “e”, such as “Spaña” in place of “España” or “spiritual” in place of “espiritual”. In these cases, we have modernized the words to include the first letter, because we do not believe these to be conventional spellings that do not reflect actual pronunciation.  

We transcribe as-is dates written with three digits, as in “715” when referring to the year 1715 but expand to four digits (“1715”) to provide clarity in the modernized reading version.

 The upper-case “R” is used at times as a sort of shorthand to represent the sound normally written as “rr” between two vowels We transcribe that capital “R” as-is (preserving the case), but modernize to “rr” in the reading version.

In the reading version, we have added headers such as “resumen”, “carta”, “sobrecarta”, and “consejo”. We have deemed these headers important to identify different parts of the letters to the reader.

Another change that has been made to the edition view, is the addition of encoded signatures. We use <closer><signed><name> to distinguish and italicize signatures within the document. (https://tei-c.org/release/doc/tei-p5-doc/en/html/DS.html#DSOC)


The annotations in these documents follow two different functions and formats. First, we choose to annotate lexical items in order to provide definitions for antiquated words, and to make note of word substitutions that cannot be modernized due to pronunciation differences. For example, the word “imbiar” cannot be modernized to “enviar” because of different vowels. In this case, we could add a lexical note clarifying that “imbiar” has the same meaning as “enviar”.

We also try to annotate relevant terms, names, and locations as they appear throughout the document. These documents provide the unique challenge of referring to many indigenous tribes and their locations. We annotate as many as possible, but some terms will require more research. Annotating Native American towns and villages can be difficult because Native American towns have variable locations on maps.  Several towns such as Pocotaligo and La Tama have been located in different places during different time periods, often with different spellings. This lack of clarity reduces the amount of annotations that can be provided the reader.

The coloniaLab criteria for editing, has a protocol for citing sources in lexical annotations. With historical annotations, we have had to decide how to cite our sources. This is an evolving situation, but at the current moment, we have chosen to cite sources in MLA format following each annotation. The first time a source is mentioned, we provide the full citation. Another further mentions of a source use MLA format for in-text citations. The reason that we have chosen not to create a works cited page, is that we want the digital edition to be complete.