The idea for historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto's new book came from a chance encounter while on the lecture circuit in 2007. The Notre Dame professor was in Colorado Springs, delivering a speech at the U.S. Air Force Academy, when one instructor mentioned that he wanted the U.S. to be welcoming to immigrants. The instructor also said: “people who come here must learn the native language.”
“I quite agree,” said Fernández-Armesto. “Everyone should learn Spanish.” The Air Force instructor seemed surprised, so Fernández-Armesto reminded him that “Colorado” itself is a Spanish word.