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offered by the Bays of San Francisco, Monterey, San Pedro, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. The Bay of San Francisco is one of the finest harbors in the world. The combined fleets of all the naval powers of Europe might there find safe shelter. It is surrounded by ranges of high hills, and joins the Pacific by a passage two miles wide and three in length. The other harbors can only be frequented in the fine season, and afford a very insecure shelter for vessels. San Diego is the farthest south. The bay at that place runs ten miles eastward into the land, and is separated from the ocean by a ridge of sand. Proceeding northward, about seventy miles, the Bay of San Pedro is next met. It is open to the southwest winds, but sheltered from the north-west. About a hundred miles north-west of San Pedro, is the harbor of Santa Barbara. It is an open roadstead sheltered from the north and west winds, but exposed to the violence of the south-westerly storms, which prevail during the greater part of the year. A hundred miles farther north is the Bay of Monterey. It is extensive, and lies in an indentation of the coast, somewhat semicircular. The southernmost portion is separated from the ocean by the point of land ending at the Cape of Pines. In the cove thus formed, stands the town of Monterey, for some time the capital of California. The harbor affords but a poor shelter from storms.

The Sacramento and San Joachim are the principal rivers of California, but the Sacramento alone is navigable to any extent worthy of mention. There are numerous small streams and lakes in the interior, the principal outlet of which is the Colorado River. The valleys through which these streams flow are

fertile, and afford good pasture for cattle; but the remainder of the region between the maritime and the Colorado ranges of mountains is a barren waste of sand.



THE first exploration of the Pacific coasts of North America was made by the Spaniards, in the sixteenth century. After Hernando Cortes had completed the conquest of Mexico, he commenced exploring the adjoining seas and countries; no doubt, with the hope of discovering lands richer than those which he had conquered, and which would afford new fields for the exercise of his daring enterprise and undaunted perseverance. He employed vessels in surveying the coasts of the Mexican Gulf, and of the Atlantic more northerly. Vessels were built upon the Pacific coast for like purposes, two of which as early as 1526, were sent to the East Indies.

The first expedition of the Spaniards, sent along the western coast of Mexico, was conducted by Pedro Nunez de Maldonado, an officer under Cortes. He sailed from the mouth of the Zacatula River, in July, 1528, and was six months engaged in surveying the shores from his starting-place to the mouth of the Santiago River, a hundred leagues farther north-west. The territory he visited was then called Xalisco, and inhabited by fierce tribes of men who had never been

conquered by the Mexicans. Flattering accounts of the fertility of the country and of the abundance of the precious metals in it were brought back by the expedition, and these served to excite the attention of the Spaniards. When the expedition returned Cortes was in Spain, whither he had gone to have his title and powers more clearly defined. He returned in 1530 with full power to make discoveries and conquests upon the western coast of Mexico. From the opposition of his enemies, he was prevented from fitting out an expedition before 1532. The most northern post upon the Pacific coast, occupied by the Spaniards, was Aguatlan, beyond which the coast was little known.

The expedition sent by Cortes to the north-western coast of Mexico was commanded by his kinsman, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza. It sailed from Tehuantepec in July, 1532, and consisted of two vessels; one commanded by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza in person, and the other by Juan de Mazuela. Mendoza proceeded slowly along the shore of the continent as far as the 27° of latitude, where, his crew being mutinous, he sent back one of his vessels with the greater part of his men, and continued the voyage with the remaining vessel. Vague reports were afterwards received that Mendoza's vessel was thrown ashore somewhere to the northward, and that all on board had perished. The vessel which was sent back, was stranded near the mouth of the River Vanderas, and after the murder of the greater part of the crew, she was plundered by Nuno de Guzman, Governor of Xalisco. About the middle of the next year, Cortes received the news of the return of the vessel which Mendoza had sent back, and he immediately despatched two ships under

the command of Hernando Grijalva and Diego Becerra, in search of the other. These ships sailed on the 30th of September, 1533, but were soon separated. Grijalva discovered the islands of St. Thomas, as he called them-a group of islands about fifty leagues from the coast. He remained there till the following spring, and then returned home. Becerra proceeded north-westward; but his crew mutinied, and he was murdered by Fortuno Ximenes. The mutineers, under Ximenes, then steered directly west from the main land, and soon reached a coast not known to them before. They landed, and soon after Ximenes and nineteen men were killed by the natives. The rest of the men carried the vessel over to Xalisco, where she was seized by Nuno de Guz


Soon after these unlucky expeditions, Nuno de Guzman sent out several exploring parties in a northerly direction, one of which traced the western shore as far as the mouth of the Colorado, and brought back accounts of a rich and populous country and splendid cities in the interior. When Cortes became acquainted with the seizure of his vessels, a dispute arose between him and Nuno de Guzman, which almost led to a battle between their forces. But no action occurred, and Cortes, having heard of the newly discovered country, which was said to abound in the finest pearls, embarked at Chiametla, with a portion of his men, and set sail for the new land of promise. On the 3d of May, 1535, the day of the Invention of the Holy Cross, according to the Roman Catholic Calendar, Cortes arrived in the bay where Ximenes and his fellow-mutineers had met their fate in the previous year. In honor of the day, the place was called

Santa Cruz, and possession of it was taken in the name of the Spanish sovereign.

The country claimed by Cortes for Spain, was the south-east portion of the peninsula, which was afterwards called California. The bay, called by Cortes, Santa Cruz, was, perhaps, the same now known as Port La Paz, about a hundred miles from the Pacific, near the 24th parallel of latitude. Cortes landed on the shore of this bay, rocky and forbidding as it appeared, with a hundred and thirty men, and forty horses. He then sent back two of his ships to Chiametla, to bring over the rest of his troops. The vessels soon returned with a portion of the troops, and being again despatched to the Mexican coast, only one of them returned. The other was wrecked on her way. Cortes then took seventy men and embarked for Xalisco, from which he returned just in time to save his troops from death by famine. A year was spent in these operations, and the troops began to grow discontented. A few pearls had been found on the coast, but the country was found to be barren, and without attractions for Spaniards.

In the mean time, the wife of Cortes hearing reports of his ill success, sent a vessel to Santa Cruz, and entreated him to return. He then learned that he had been superseded in the government of New Spain by Don Antonio de Mendoza, who had already entered the capital as viceroy. Cortes returned to Mexico, and soon after, recalled the vessels and troops from Santa Cruz.

The viceroy, Mendoza, had received some information concerning the country north-west of Mexico, from de Cabeza-Vaca and two other Spaniards, who had wandered nine years, through forests and deserts,

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