Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Alta California

TL;DR -- As our initial focus was New England, New France came into focus early. But, after the start of the U.S. and the beginnings of the movement to the west, New Spain became the theme of research. Our early looks at this were about Los Angeles and San Francisco around the start of the 20th century.  As we step back in time, Portola's efforts come into view with interesting history to consider. We can start by considering the 1776 beginning of the Mission San Francisco de Asis. 

We had mentioned Spain in earlier posts while discussing the times before the Cape Ann expedition. Several countries were fishing along the eastern seaboard. It was being more efficient in providing products from the yearly fishing efforts that precipiated the colony focus. 

Our first reference to New Spain was with our look at Jedediah Strong Smith's journey from the east coast through St. Louis, in the 1820s, out to the west coast. Our post on Jedediah covered his wanderings which are of note. Hence, he has been mentioned many times. With respect to Spain, Jedediah went south and west through the Mojave Desert, in summer. His appearance in the LA area was a surprise. Luckily, Jedediah was able to talk his way to freedom and continued up north and then back toward the east. He met his demise in the wesern area of Kansas. 

In the time of the pandemic and its isolation, we spent a lot of time researching the middle of the country. Okay. That was part of the Louisiana Purchase. Both France and Spain had been involved in the exploration of the area. We had looked at New France first, as it was the other side of the conflict before the Revolutionary War. Many use the French-Indian Affair. The friction was between France and its Native Indian allies and England via New England; as well, there was conflict in Europe and at sea.  

As we start to look at folks who had ventured all the way to the west coast, we realized that we needed to look at New Spain more closely. For instance, Coronado was close to where I am in 1541. In Texas and in the southwest, New Spain was the principal colonizer. California sites have been given lots of attention in the blog of late. There are several reasons for this. We're looking at the long reach of New England. And, John went to school and worked in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Of late, he has been look at Bunker Hill West which is part of the downtown LA area where we can see changes over several periods, such as the early arrival, the mansion period, commercial focus, and the modern status of high-rise island in a sea of sprawl. The web is offering lots of incentive to research by allowing systematic publication of photos across time. As well, the social media spaces (such as Facebook) are providing means for like minds to compare findings. 

We will continue with the themes of California as it allowed the start of the series and will expand into all of the regions where New England families settled over the past 250 years. Part of this effort is looking at the rivers and waterways that supported the development of areas. 

Now, today's theme ventures back up north. Last year, we did several posts on San Francisco, some of which dealt with the impact of the major quake from the early 1900s. We actually looked at the region in our early days due to tracking the history of a barque Bostonian that had been built and used by a Gardiner for whom a town is named in Oregon. We learned a lot from that exercise which generated more questions than answers. 

Along that line, the Bostonian was in San Franciso at least two times. But, that brought up other visitors to the area, such as Judge Thompson who helped establish Montana as a State. He was there around the time of the Civil War. Later, we see the railroad coming into play with faster and more reliable transportation across the wide expanse of the country. 

But, let's step back, again. As we can look at the establishment of the San Francisco region by New Spain. Facebook has a group with the title, Alta California, which follows Portola's expedition up the coast.  Portola's group built missions and forts. Of the later, we have the Presidio of San Francisco which we have mentioned several times. 

Of the former, this photo is of the Mission San Francisco (St. Francis) de Asis. A mass was celebrated on 9 Oct 1776 for the laying of the cornerstone for this mission. 
Mission, St. Francis, Assisi
in San Francisco, CA

This post is cursory as it skims over a lot of history with regard to Spain's explorations and colonizations. We will begin a series with a closer look at California's start

Remarks: Modified: 02/20/2024

02/20/2024 --  

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