Chapa, Juan Bautista
CHAPA, JUAN BAUTISTA (1627–1695). Juan Bautista Chapa was born Giovanni Bautista Schiapapria in 1627 in Albisola, Italy, and is now recognized as the “anonymous historian” of Nuevo León, Mexico, where he arrived in the mid-seventeenth century and served Governor Alonso De León and other governors as their secretary for over four decades. Chapa knew these officials well, traveled through the province extensively, and wrote his observations of developments in that far northern region in Historia del Nuevo Reino de León de 1650 a 1690. The chapters of this work that treat Texas analyze the motives, frustrations, and strategies of Spanish expansion to the rim of the empire and constitute one of the most important primary sources for history in early Spanish Texas. The expeditions Chapa participated in include De León's first expedition in search of René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle's Texas colony, from Cadereyta to the mouth of the Rio Grande, and his second, which is generally supposed to have reached Baffin Bay. Chapa also joined De León on his 1689 expeditions that found the ruins of La Salle's Fort St. Louis.