Looking for books about Mexican Alta California

Sep 2018
54
transitory
#1
I'd like to find some good books whose main focus is the Alta California region during the period of Mexican rule (1820s-40s). There are a lot of interesting topics from this period I'd like to read more about, including, but not limited to, the California hide trade, the conflicts between locals and the central Mexican authorities, the seclarisation of the missions, European/Anglo-American settlement, fur trade connections in the region, and general frontier/rancho life. I'm limited to books in the English language unfortunately.
 
Oct 2014
1,180
California
#2
I have this book (three links below) and cited it as a reference in my book (Baja California Land of Missions).
Lands of Promise and Despair should be helpful for your research. It covers the history of BOTH the original California [called Old or Baja (Lower) California after 1769] and the New or Alta (Upper) California, up until American forces occupied it.



Lands of Promise and Despair: Chronicles of Early California, 1535-1846 – Inlandia Institute

https://www.amazon.com/Lands-Promis...=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=0806151382

Lands of promise and despair : chronicles of early California, 1535-1846 (Book, 2001) [WorldCat.org]
 
Likes: acix

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,876
Spain
#3
I'd like to find some good books whose main focus is the Alta California region during the period of Mexican rule (1820s-40s). There are a lot of interesting topics from this period I'd like to read more about, including, but not limited to, the California hide trade, the conflicts between locals and the central Mexican authorities, the European/Anglo-American settlement, fur trade connections in the region, and general frontier/rancho life. I'm limited to books in the English language unfortunately.

Well... I would´t say European (save you think Spain is in Oceanie...) it is better t say anglo-american settlement.

About the Spanish Colonization in Alta California (and I say Spanish and not Mexican) you can find (unfortunatly in Spanish language) this source from Ciudad de México University (Colonización de Alta California: Los primeros asentamientos españoles: The Colonization of High California: The Spanish early settlements) . Although the Spaniards arrived to Upper California in 16th Century and took possession of the lands.. it was not till 18th Century when the Crown ordered the colonization. Some of the settlers were not from Spain or Canary but from border provinces as Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja California (Lower California).

The bases for the colonization of Upper California were San Diego, San Carlos and Monterrey (King´s Mountain). It was the Conqueror of Mexico who baptized California which that name... Although many people think California came from Spanish language Cálida (Warm) and Zona (Area)... California came from a legend. In 1533, Spaniards landed in Bahía de la Paz in Lower California. they believed they just arrived to the Queen Calia´s Kingdom (The Calia´s legend was another Conquistadores legends as El Dorado, las Siete Ciudades de Cíbola, la Fuente de la Eterna Juventud (Fountain of Youth). So they named Lower California only CALIFORNIA.. and by extension.. they named the prolongation of that land California too...As Florida was not only what in 2018 is the State of Florida... Florida was Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia etc etc).

Although there were several projects to settle Upper California (1565 and 1605)... the lack of human resources and the attention in other places (The Burgudian heritage and the wars in Europe) did the plans were abandoned... til 18th Century when a Spanish General (and hero in the American Revolution). Don Bernado de Gálvez wanted to organize a Provincia Autónoma de California (Self-Goverment Province of California). For Gálvez, Alta California had enough economic potential to become the richest Spanish Dominion.

So, January 1st, 1768, Bernáldo de Gálvez sent to the King his "Plan para la erección del gobierno y Comandancia General de la Península de California, y las provincias de Sonora, Sinaloa y Nueva Vizcaya" (Plan to organize the Government and General Comandancy of Peninsula of California, Sonora, Sinaloa and New Vizcay). Gálvez defended the Upper California´s effective ocupation because the Spanish Northwestern Dominions (that included to Alaska) were threated by Great Britain (From Canada) and by Russia (From Kamtchaka). The king agreed and by 28th January 1768 order was ordered the effective ocupation in Alta California. The Missions, the Jesuist and the settlers from Sinaloa and Sonora played a decisive rol to open Alta California to the settlements.

I add most of the Spanish colonizing expeditions were consisted by mixed people. Peninsulares were a minority (priest and soldiers).. most of them Indians, Mestizos and Mulattoes. The expeditions were successful. They stablished San Diego (1769), San Gabriel (1771), San José (1777), Los Ángeles (1781) or San Francisco (1776).
 
Oct 2014
1,180
California
#4
My goodness Martin, you are passionate and well-versed on this subject!
The discovery of California up to and including the original 18 California missions (founded 1697-1769), as well as the additional Dominican, founded missions on the peninsula (1774-1834) is the subject of my book and research. There is so much misinformation, published in the past, I was highly motivated to show the facts as best we know in this century. The missions in Baja California allow us to physically connect with the past. While most are in ruins or even vanished, there are several complete church buildings that date back to the mid-1700s. I have made many posts on this forum with photographs so I won't sidetrack further here from what acix is asking help on.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,876
Spain
#5
My goodness Martin, you are passionate and well-versed on this subject!
The discovery of California up to and including the original 18 California missions (founded 1697-1769), as well as the additional Dominican, founded missions on the peninsula (1774-1834) is the subject of my book and research. There is so much misinformation, published in the past, I was highly motivated to show the facts as best we know in this century. The missions in Baja California allow us to physically connect with the past. While most are in ruins or even vanished, there are several complete church buildings that date back to the mid-1700s. I have made many posts on this forum with photographs so I won't sidetrack further here from what acix is asking help on.
Dear David K..

Sincerely You are the specialist in the History of California and the history of Spanish colonization... compared to you, my knowledge in this matter is very limited. That's why I learn a lot by reading your post. By your post and photos I know today the California missions are being preserved ... at least a large part of them.
 
Oct 2014
1,180
California
#6
Thank you... I am just a fascinated hobbyist of the missions in Baja California. That was the method Spain employed to colonize the New World. California was a special case being so much further (or more difficult to get to) than New Spain (Mainland Mexico). Another fascination I have is with EL CAMINO REAL (in California). As you know, all Camino Reales lead back to Madrid as a source of income for the King. The California Camino Real was different than the others because California did not "flow with gold" (at least not during the mission era) and the Royal Road was only used for communications and travel between the missions. In Baja California, El Camino Real is still visible for many miles across the mesas and deserts. In places, modern construction has obliterated the old mission road or vegetation has grown over or on it. It remains a source of fascination for many to seek out and hike or ride mules on.
 

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