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First recorded history-Jesuits-Missions-Cortez' expedition
Exploration of the Gulf of California-Ulloa's expeditionCortez returns to Spain — Cabrillo's expedition — Sir Francis Drake's expedition : he takes possession of California - New Albion-San Diego and Monterey discovered— The Golden Gate not yet discovered-Viscayno's voyage-Father Tierra's expedition: he takes possession of California in the name of the King of Spain--Conversion of the heathen-Father Ugarte's expedition—The Jesuits expelled-Franciscan missions establishedFather Serra's expedition-Dominican friars in California-Voyage of the San Carlos and San Antonio-Loss of the San José.
THE first authentic account of California that we possess is derived from the records and writings of the early Spanish navigators. These, after having explored and settled the greater part of South and Central America, turned their attention to the exploration of the coast of Lower and Upper California; until, however, the acquisition of the country by the American government, in 1846, no permanent settlement had been made nor development of the country effected, with the exception of a few scattered missions established by the Jesuit priests for the conversion of the native population.
For more than three-quarters of a century previous to this period, frequent voyages had been made and expeditions fitted out by zealous Spanish adventurers, for the purpose of discovering the fabled treasures of California, which seemed not to be confined to silver and gold, but also to diamonds and other precious stones. Each expedition, however, failed either to discover the golden treasures of her mountains, or bring to light the splendid harbor of San Francisco.
Cortez, who, in 1521, completed the conquest of Mexico, turned his attention to the exploration of the coast of California. This he did under most unfavorable circumstances: he was compelled to build his vessels of raw material taken from the forest, and, without chart or guide, to explore a coast whose waters had hitherto been undisturbed by the navigator's keel. His explorations were confined chiefly to the west coast of Mexico and the Gulf of California. After many shipwrecks and mutinies of the crews, which rendered his explorations abortive, the pilot, Ximines, who had himself been a mutineer, landed, in 1534, on the east side of the peninsula of Lower California ; after having surveyed the coast, he returned with encouraging accounts of the land he had discovered.
Later in the same year, Cortez in person, with four vessels, left Tehuantepec to explore further northward. He reached Lower California and explored a portion of it, his object being to found a Spanish colony; but so great were the sufferings of his party, and so hostile the Indians, that he soon returned to Mexico, leaving his object unaccomplished.
Still hopeful, however, of making rich discoveries toward the north, Cortez, in 1537, fitted out another expedition of three vessels under the command of Francisco de Ulloa. This officer, after exploring the Gulf of California, steered westward round the Cape of Lower California, and proceeded north to the twentyninth degree of latitude. At the end of a year's cruise he returned to Mexico with reports of a wretched, barren, and inhospitable region, much to the chagrin of Cortez, whose dreams of spice islands and of great mineral wealth now began to fade away. Three years later Cortez returned to Spain, having bade adieu to the American continent forever.
In the year 1542, Juan Rodriguiz Cabrillo, by birth a Portuguese, but at this period in the service of Spain, by directions of Mendoza, Viceroy of Mexico, sailed from the western coast of Mexico, on June 27, on a voyage of discovery and exploration. He kept his course westward along the coast of California to Cape Mendoza, (called after the viceroy; now Cape Mendocino,) and returned in the following April to Natividad, the place of departure, without having gained much knowledge of the country.
Francis Drake (afterwards Sir Francis Drake) sailed from England, in his good ship the Golden Hind, to make explorations in the Pacific, and, by right of discovery, add to the possessions of his countrymen. He was not aware that, thirty years before, Cabrillo had discovered and explored the coast of California. After preying upon the Spanish galleons in his track, from Magellan's straits to Panama, and robbing them of their treasure and precious cargoes, he headed north, along the California coast. After having proceeded as far north as the southern line of Oregon, being buffeted by northern gales, he was driven south, June, 1579, and sought refuge in an inlet near Point Reyes, a short distance north of the Golden Gate; here he remained thirty-six days. During this time he took possession of the country in the name of the Queen of England, (Elizabeth,) calling it New Albion, and erected a monument commemorative of his act; upon this was “a plate nailed upon a fair great post, whereupon was engraven her majesty's name, the day and year of our arrival there, with the free giving up of the province