Three men, standing at the Mexican border, looking south:
Man #1: Mexico Lindo.
Man #2: I don’t see nothin’ so ‘lindo’ about it.
Man #3: Just looks like more of Texas to me.
Man #1: You have no eyes!
(Iconic lines from a film, anyone want to guess which one?)
It’s an interesting history, for by the time the first settlers dropped anchor at Jamestown in 1607, all of South America, Central America, Mexico and what is now the southeast United States, as far north as South Carolina, had come under the dominion of Spain and Portugal. Mexico was first, when Hernan Cortes subdued the Aztec king in 1519. Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, all the way down to Argentina soon followed. Brasil was captured by Portuguese which only made a difference in the tongue that would be the national language and the customs that would be adopted in their civil administration.
All of South America was Spanish for all intents and purposes.
And all of this territory was under the jurisdiction of the Spanish Catholic Church.
This is significant for a pecking order had emerged in the early Church that next to Rome, where Peter was crucified, the English, Spanish and French churches were ranked in order of firsts; England, interesting enough because the first above-ground church was built there in the 1st Century, by none other than Joseph of Arimathea, so legend says. France came next because it was where Mary Magadalene purportedly built her church, near Marseilles. And third, Spain, where St James is said to have been buried, although he is also purported to be buried (at least his head) in the Armenian Church in Jerusalem after being beheaded by Herod Agrippa. (I know its confusing, and that is exactly what makes the 1st Century so interesting…you can’t come up with conclusive evidence about anything, yet you still know many definitive, historical things had to have happened.)
So none of these stories can be confirmed by eyewitness accounts, but no matter, at the time of the infusion of English Protestants onto our part of North America there was a French colonial empire, under the auspices of the French Church to its north (Canada) and the Spanish Church to its south, from the Rio Grande to the tip of the continent.
Both empires were headed by hereditary kings who on their face were extremely pious, with a Church prelate at their left hand steering virtually every decision, such as the 1588 assault by the Armada of Phillip II, against Elizabeth II, for the specific purpose of restoring the Church and driving out the Protestant heretics, …some of whom, 20 years later, would begin to settle on what are now American shores[…]