The Founding Of Alta California
The Portolá expedition.—While settling affairs in the Peninsula Gálvez organized the expedition. It was designed to establish garrisons at San Diego and Monterey, and to plant missions, under their protection, to convert and subdue the natives. The command was entrusted to Governor Portolá, and the missionary work to Father Junípero Serra, president of the California missions. The enterprise was carried out in 1769 by joint land and sea expeditions. The San Carlos under Captain Vicente Vila and the San Antonio under Captain Juan Pérez conducted a portion of the party, while the rest marched overland from Lower California, under Captain Rivera and Governor Portolá.
San Diego founded.—By the end of June all but one vessel had arrived at the Bay of San Diego. While Vila, Serra, and some fifty soldiers remained to found a mission and presidio there, Portolá led others to occupy the port of Monterey. Following the coast and the Salinas Valley, he reached Monterey Bay, but failed to recognize it. Continuing up the coast he discovered the present San Francisco Bay and then returned to San Diego.
Monterey founded.—At San Diego affairs had gone badly. Many persons had died, provisions were scarce, and Portolá decided to abandon the enterprise. Persuaded by Serra, he deferred the day of departure, and new supplies came. Another expedition to Monterey was successful, and the presidio and mission of San Carlos were founded there in 1770.
Plans for expansion.—At last the long talked of ports of San Diego and Monterey had been occupied. But the newly found port of San Francisco, further north, needed protection, the large Indian population called for more missions, settlers were lacking, and permanent naval and land bases were necessary. One by one these matters were considered and adjusted. To assist in the plans for expansion Serra went to Mexico in 1772 and made many recommendations. The temporary naval base at San Blas was made permanent, and thereafter played an important part in the development of California. The new foundations were assured support from the Pious Fund, and in 1771 and 1772 three new missions were founded—San Antonio, San Gabriel, and San Luis Obispo. In 1772 California was divided, the peninsula being assigned to the Dominicans. Politically the two Californias were continued under one governor, with his residence at Loreto, Fages being replaced as commander in the north by Rivera y Moneada.
Alta California Settlements.
A land route to California.—The next step was the opening of a land route from Arizona to California, and was the work especially of two frontier leaders. When the Franciscans in 1768 took the place of the Jesuits in Pimería Alta, Father Francisco Garcés was sent to San Xavier del Bac, the northern outpost. He at once began to make visits to the Gila, and in 1771 alone he crossed the Yuma Desert from Sonóita, and the California Desert to the foot of the western Sierras. Encouraged by these discoveries, Captain Anza of Tubac offered to open a land route to Monterey. The plan was approved by the viceroy, and in 1774 Anza, with Garcés as guide and with twenty soldiers, made the expedition, with great hardships but with notable success.
San Francisco founded.—The opening of the land route from Sonora facilitated the occupation of the port of San Francisco. Plans for its occupation had been discussed ever since its discovery by Portolá. Meanwhile the region had been throughly explored from Monterey as a base. In December, 1774, Anza was ordered to lead a soldier colony from Sonora to occupy the port, and plans were made for a mission. Enlisting some two hundred and fifty persons, Anza assembled them at Tubac, and in October set out for California. Descending the Santa Cruz and Gila Rivers to the Colorado, thence he followed his former trail to Monterey, where he arrived in March, 1776. Aided by Father Font, he reëxplored the Bay region, selected sites for a presidio and mission, and returned to Sonora. In September the presidio and in October the mission of San Francisco were founded.
A route from New Mexico.—The Sonora base for California was not altogether satisfactory and some thought that New Mexico would serve better. Among the latter was Father Garcés, and by a most remarkable exploration he put his views to the test. He accompanied Anza's second expedition to the Gila-Colorado junction, but from there set out to explore a new route. Ascending the Colorado to the Mojave tribe, near Needles he turned west and crossed the Mojave Desert. It was his plan to go straight to San Luis Obispo, but his guides refused, and he threaded Cajón Pass to Mission San Gabriel. From there he continued through Téjon Pass into the San Joaquin Valley, descended it to the Tulare region, emerged through an eastern pass, probably the Tehachapi, and recrossed the desert to the Mojaves. Thence he continued east to the Moquis, reaching Oraibe on July 2. Here he was given a cold reception, so he turned back to the Yumas.
Exploration by Escalante and Domínguez.—Shortly after Garcés returned, a party set out from Santa Fé to attempt reaching Monterey by a more northern route. The party consisted of Fathers Domínguez and Escalante, Captain Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco, and nine soldiers. Leaving Santa Fé on July 29, 1776, they went northward into Colorado, followed the western line across the San Juan, Dolores, Grand and Colorado Rivers, turned westward to Utah Lake and south past Sevier Lake. In October, concluding that it was too late to attempt to cross the Sierras, they returned eastward to Moqui, Zuñi, and Santa Fé. Thus had another great feat of exploration resulted from the attempt to find land connection with California.
Spanish Pueblos.—California still lacked the civil element to make it complete in outline, and this was now provided. In 1777 Governor Neve moved his capital from Loreto to Monterey, where he received orders from the viceroy to take steps toward founding colonies of settlers, as a means toward making the province self-supporting. Neve therefore proceeded to establish two Spanish pueblos.
San José.—With fourteen families from Monterey and San Francisco, in 1777 Lieutenant Moraga founded the Pueblo of San José in the Santa Clara Valley, near the head of San Francisco Bay, and near by the mission of Santa Clara was founded. The pueblo was established according to the general laws of the Indies. Five years later titles were issued to those settlers who had fulfilled their contracts.
Los Angeles.—The second pueblo was located beside Mission San Gabriel, in the southern part of the province. To procure colonists Rivera y Moneada was sent in '79 to Sinaloa and Sonora. Recruiting fourteen families, Rivera sent them overland by way of Loreto and the Peninsula. Rivera himself, with forty-two soldiers, went with nearly a thousand head of horses and mules over the Anza route by way of the Gila junction, where he and part of his men were massacred. The settlers reached their destination, and in September, 1781, the Pueblo de los Angeles was founded, with eleven families comprising forty-six persons.
Plans for a new outpost.—The old question of advancing the Sonora frontier northward to provide missions for the Pirnas and Yumas, and a halfway station on the road to California, had been much discussed ever since Anza's exploration in '74. Opinions varied as to the best location, one proposing the Gila-Colorado junction, another the middle Gila, another the Colorado above the Yumas, and another even the Moqui country.
Mission-Pueblos at Yuma.—But the weight of opinion was with the Gila-Colorado junction. The chief advocate of this location was the Yuma chief Ollyquotquiebe. In 1776 he went with Anza to Mexico City to ask for a mission and a presidio, made submission for his tribe, and was baptized as Salvador Palma. In the following year the king ordered the petition granted. Delays ensued and Palma became impatient. In 1779 Fathers Garcés and Díaz were sent, with a small garrison, to Palma's village. Their slender outfit of presents and supplies was disappointing, and the Yumas were dissatisfied. In the following year, at Croix's order, two missions were founded west of the Colorado, at the junction, but not of the usual type. Instead of a presidio, ten families were settled near each mission to serve as a protection to the missionaries and an example to the neophytes, who were to five among the settlers instead of in an Indian pueblo.
The massacre.—Trouble soon ensued, and in July, 1781, while Rivera y Moncada was on his way to found Los Angeles, the Yumas, led by Palma, massacred Father Garcés, his three companions, Rivera and his men, and most of the settlers. The women and children were spared. The experience at the Yuma missions is a pointed commentary on the need of soldiers to control mission Indians, and on the wisdom of the usual Spanish custom of separating the neophytes from the settlers. For his part in the plan Croix has been severely criticized, but it must be remembered that at the time he needed every soldier available for the Apache wars, and that the Yumas had much vaunted their friendship.
The Yumas punished.—Learning of the massacre, in September, 1781, Croix sent Pedro Fages to the scene with one hundred and ten men from Pitic and Altar. In the course of two journeys he ransomed some seventy-five captives. In the following year Captain Romeu of Sonora, made a campaign against the Yumas, killed or captured nearly two hundred, and recovered over one thousand horses. But the massacre put an end for the time being to the long series of efforts to establish the Yuma outpost, and practically closed the Anza route to California.
The Santa Barbara Channel occupied.—From the first Father Serra had been anxious to found a group of missions among the numerous Indians along the Santa Barbara Channel, but there had been a lack of funds and soldiers. The reduction of these tribes was important also from a military standpoint, because they held a strategic position on the coast and on the road to the north. With the coming of more soldiers in 1781 the desired step was taken, and in 1782 Mission San Buenaventura and the presidio of Santa Barbara, and in 1786 Mission Santa Barbara were founded.
With the occupation of this district California was complete in outline. There were four presidios, each occupying a strategic position and protecting a group of missions. In the succeeding years new missions were planted in the interior valleys, till the total reached twenty-one. They became marvellously prosperous, converting and giving industrial training to thousands of Indians, and acquiring great wealth in farms and herds. In 1784 Father Serra, the master spirit of the missions, died.
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