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THE

HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA.

CHAPTER I.

GEOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE OF CALIFORNIA.

THE territory called California is that part of North America situated on the Pacific Ocean, and extending from the 42° of north latitude southwardly to 22° 48′, and from 107° longitude, west from Greenwich, to 124°. It is bounded on the north by Oregon territory, east by territories belonging to the United States and the Gulf of California, and on the south and west by Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. California is naturally divided into two portions; the peninsula, called Lower California, and the territory extending northward from the peninsula, on the Pacific Ocean, called Upper California. The line of division between Upper and Lower California runs nearly along the 32d parallel of latitude, westward from the head of the Gulf of California.

The peninsula of California is about one hundred and thirty miles in breadth, where it joins the continent. It extends south-eastwardly, generally diminishing in breadth, till it terminates in two points. The point farthest south-west is called Cape San

Lucas. The other, sixty miles east by north of San Lucas, is called Cape Palmo. The peninsula is about seven hundred miles long.

Upper California extends, upon the Pacific, from the 32d parallel of latitude, northward to the 42d parallel, a distance of about seven hundred miles. It is separated from Oregon by a range of highlands, called the Snowy Mountains, or, by the Spaniards, the Sierra Nevada. The eastern limit of Upper California is rather uncertain. By some it is considered as including the region watered by the Colorado River, while others limit it by the great mountain range that extends along the western side of the continent.

The Californian peninsula seems to be a prolongation of the great western chain of mountains. It consists entirely of high, stony ridges, separated by sandy valleys, and contains very few tracts of level ground. In a general view, it might be termed an irreclaimable desert. The scarcity of rain and the small number of springs of water, with the intense heat of the sun's rays, uninterrupted in their passage, render the surface of the country almost destitute of vegetation. Yet in the small oases formed by the passage of a rivulet through a sandy defile, where irrigation is possible, the ground may be made to produce all the fruits of tropical climes, of the finest quality, and in great quantity. The southern portion of the peninsula contains several gold mines, which have been worked, though not to any great extent. On the Pacific side, the coast offers many excellent harbors, but the lack of fresh water near them proves an obstacle in the way of their occupation. The principal harbors are the Bay of la Magdalena, separated from the ocean by the long island of Santa

Margarita, the Bay of Sebastian Vizcaino, east of the Isle of Cedaro, Port San Bartolomé, sometimes called Turtle Bay, and Port San Quintin, a good harbor, with fresh water in the vicinity, and called by the Spanish navigators the Port of the Eleven Thousand Virgins.

The great westernmost range of mountains runs northward from the peninsula, nearly parallel with the Pacific coast, to the 34th parallel of latitude, below which is Mount San Bernardin, one of the highest peaks in California, about forty miles from the ocean. Farther northward, the space between the mountains and the coast becomes wider, and, in a few places, reaches eighty miles. The intermediate region is traversed by lines of hills, or smaller mountains joined with the great range. The most considerable of the inferior ridges extends from Mount San Bernardin to the south side of the entrance of the Bay of San Francisco, where it is called the San Bruno Mountains. Between this range and the coast runs the Santa Barbara range, terminating at the Cape of Pines, on the south-west side of the Bay of Monterey. Bordering on the Bay of San Francisco, on the east side, is the Bolbona ridge. Beyond these are lines of highlands which stretch from the great chain and terminate in capes on the Pacific.

There are many streams among the valleys of Upper California, some of which, in the rainy season, swell to a considerable size. But no river, except the Sacramento, falling into the Bay of San Francisco, is known to flow through the maritime range of mountains, from the interior to the Pacific. The valleys thus watered offer abundant pasturage for cattle.

The principal harbors of Upper California are those

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