Lucila del Carmen León Velazco
Greenleaf Visiting Library Scholar
Universidad Autónoma de Baja California
Dr. León Velazco received a Greenleaf Visiting Library Award in Spring 2016 to support research on Soldiers of Baja California, 1697-1840: Social Interaction Processes in the Northwest of New Spain. At the time of the award, she was a professor in the Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas in the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, where she taught courses on regional history, colonial New Spain, and paleography.
Velazco’s research focuses on colonial and nineteenth-century Mexican history, with an emphasis on Baja California, and addresses the interrelations between missionaries, soldiers and indigenous peoples during the colonial period and changes that occurred after Independence. One of her recent projects in 2016 involved examining the role of Spanish soldiers in the development of Baja California during the mission period and the first part of the nineteenth-century.
Title of Research : Soldiers of Baja California, 1697-1840: Social Interaction Processes in the Northwest of New Spain
While at UNM, she addressed how, during the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the soldiers that settled with their families in the peninsula of Baja California, in addition to affecting their military service, performed other activities that allowed them to become exceedingly familiar with the geographical characteristics of the region. This knowledge of the physical environment allowed for multiple processes underlying social interaction between soldiers and various groups of the emerging society. The experience facilitated many soldiers acting as intermediaries in relationships with indigenous populations and as cultural mediators to facilitate the adaptation of other regional groups, such as the local authorities and missionaries, to the environment.