The March of Portolá by Zoeth S. Eldredge

The Log of the San Carlos and Original Documents Translated and Annotated by E. J. Molera Published by the Reception Committee of The California Promotion Committee This Book is published with the approval and endorsement of the Executive Committee of the Portolá Festival. The March of Portolá and The Log of the San Carlos San
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The Log of the San Carlos


Original Documents Translated and Annotated

E. J. Molera

Published by the Reception Committee of The California Promotion

This Book is published with the approval and endorsement of the
Executive Committee of the Portolá Festival.

The March of Portolá


The Log of the San Carlos

San Francisco

“Serene, indifferent of fate,
Thou sittest at the Western Gate;

Upon thy heights so lately won,
Still slant the banners of the sun;

Thou seest the white seas strike their tents,
O warder of two continents,

And scornful of the peace that flies,
Thy angry winds and sullen skies,

Thou drawest all things, small or great,
To thee beside the Western Gate.”

Table of Contents

The March of Portolá and Discovery of the Bay of San Francisco
Data regarding Portolá after he left California
Letter of the Viceroy of New Spain to Don Julian de Arriaga
Causes that led to the Expedition of the San Carlos
Log of the San Carlos
Report of the Commander of the San Carlos
Description of the Bay of San Francisco
Report of the Pilot of the San Carlos


The March to Monterey (Frontispiece)
Carrying the Sick
Discovery of the Bay of San Francisco
Departure of the San Carlos from La Paz
Facsimile of signature of Governor Portolá
First Survey and Map of the Bay of San Francisco


In the annals of adventure, there are no more thrilling narratives of
heroic perseverance in the performance of duty than the record of
Spanish exploration in America. To those of us who have come into
possession of the fair land opened up by them, the story of their
travels and adventures have the most profound interest. The account of
the expedition of Portolá has never been properly presented. Many
writers have touched on it, and H. H. Bancroft, in his History of
California, gives a brief digest of Crespi’s diary. Most writers on
California history have drawn on Palou’s Vida del V. P. F. Junipero
Serra and Noticias de la Nueva California, and without looking further,
have accepted the ecclesiastical narrative. We have endeavored in this
sketch to give, in a clear and concise form, the conditions which
preceded and led up to the occupation of California.

The importance of California in relation to the control of the Pacific
was early recognized by the great European powers, some of whom had but
small respect for the Bull of Pope Alexander VI dividing the New World
between Spain and Portugal. England, France, and Russia sent repeated
expeditions into the Pacific. In 1646 the British Admiralty sent two
ships to look in Hudson’s Bay for a northwest passage to the South Sea,
one of which bore the significant name of California. The voyage of
Francis Drake, 1577-1580, was a private venture, but at Drake’s Bay he
proclaimed the sovereignty of Elizabeth, and named the country New
Albion. Two hundred years later (1792-1793) Captain George Vancouver
explored the coast of California down to thirty degrees of north
latitude (Ensenada de Todos Santos), which, he says, “is the
southernmost limit of New Albion, as discovered by Sir Francis Drake, or
New California, as the Spaniards frequently call it.” Even after the
occupation and settlement by the Spaniards, so feeble were their
establishments that, as Vancouver reports to the Admiralty, it would
take but a small force to wrest from Spain this most valuable
possession. But though the growing feebleness of Spain presaged the time
when her hold upon America would be loosened, the standard of individual
heroism was not lowered, and the achievements of Portolá and of Anza
rank with those of De Soto and Coronado. The California explorer did
not, it is true, have to fight his way through hordes of fierce natives.
The California Indians, as a rule, received the white adventurers
gladly, and entertained them with such hospitality as they had to offer,
but the Indians north of the Santa Barbara Channel were but a poor lot.
In a country abounding in game of all kinds, a sea swarming with fish, a
soil capable of growing every character of foodstuff, these miserable
natives lived in a chronic state of starvation.

As in heroic qualities, so also in skill and judgment, Portolá upholds
the best traditions of Spain. The success of an expedition depends upon
the character of the leader. Pánfilo de Narváez landed on the coast of
Florida in April, 1528, with a well-equipped army of three hundred men
and forty horses, just half the force he sailed with from Spain the
previous June, and of the three hundred men whom he led into Florida,
only four lived to reach civilization – the rest perished. That is but
one example of incompetent leadership. When Portolá organized his
expedition for the march from San Diego Bay to Monterey, many of his
soldiers were ill from scurvy, and at one time on the march the sick
list numbered nineteen men, including the governor and Rivera, his chief
officer. Sixteen men had to be carried, and to three, in extremis, the
viaticum was administered; but he brought them all through, and returned
to San Diego without the loss of a man.

There are two full diaries of this expedition, one by Father Crespi and
the other by Alférez Costansó. There is, besides, a diary of Junípero
Serra of the march from Velicatá to San Diego Bay, a translation of
which is printed in Out West magazine (Los Angeles), March-July, 1902.
It is of small value to the student of history. There is a diary by
Portolá, quoted by Bancroft, and a Fragmento by Ortega, also used by
Bancroft. These we have not seen. There are letters from Francisco
Palou, Juan Crespi and Miguel Costansó, printed in Out West for January
1902. The diary of Father Crespi is printed in Palou’s Noticias de la
Nueva California. Documentos para la Historia de Mexico, re-printed San
Francisco, 1874. The diary of Miguel Costansó is in the Sutro library.
It has never been printed. It is prefaced by an historical narrative, a
poor translation of which was published by Dalrymple, London, 1790, and
a better one by Chas. F. Lummis in Out West, June-July, 1901. In
Publications of the Historical Society of Southern California, Vol. II,
Part 1, Los Angeles, 1891, a number of documents of the Sutro collection
are printed, with translations by George Butler Griffin. These relate to
the explorations of the California coast by ships from the Philippines,
the two voyages of Vizcaino, with some letters of Junípero Serra, and
diaries of the voyage of the Santiago to the northern coast in 1774.

The sketch here submitted is the result of much study of original
documents, and the route of the expedition is laid down after careful
survey of the physical geography where possible, and in other cases, by
the contoured maps of the Geological Survey, following the directions
and language as given by the diarists. Among the printed books consulted
are Palou’s Vida del Padre Junipero Serra and his Noticias de la Nueva
California, above noted. The Conquest of the Great Northwest, Agnes C.
Laut, New York, 1908; History of California by H. H. Bancroft; Treaties
of Navigation, Cabrera Bueno, Translation, Dalrymple, London, 1790; The
Discovery of San Francisco Bay, George Davidson, and Francis Drake on
the Northwest Coast of America in 1579, the same author; Proceedings of
the Geographical Society of the Pacific.

In view of the forthcoming Portolá Festival, The California Promotion
Committee, through its Reception Committee, appointed three of its
members to compile a history of the first expedition for the settlement
of California. In the endeavor to obtain further knowledge of the life
and character of Portolá, the committee has been enabled, through the
efforts of one of its members, to have careful search made among the
archives of Madrid, of the India Office at Saville, of the City of
Mexico, and of Puebla, and while we have little to show, as yet,
concerning Portolá, we have received other documents of the utmost
importance to the history of San Francisco: a chronicle of the events
following the discovery of the Bay.

By royal edict, a maritime expedition for the exploration of the
northwestern coasts of America sailed from San Blas early in the year
1775. This consisted of the frigate Santiago, under the
commander-in-chief, Don Bruno de Heceta; the packet boat San Carlos,
under Lieutenant Ayala, and schooner Sonora, under Lieutenant Bodega. To
Lieutenant Ayala was assigned the exploration of the Bay of San
Francisco, while the Santiago and the Sonora sailed for the north.
Bodega discovered the Bay which bears his name, and Heceta (to spell his
name as it is usually written) discovered the Columbia River. Bancroft
(History of California), in giving Palou’s Vida as authority for his
short and incorrect account of Ayala’s survey, says: “It is unfortunate
that neither map nor diary of this earliest survey is extant.” It is
with pleasure we are permitted to present to the public these important
documents, now printed for the first time, and only regret that the
shortness of time allowed for their study may perhaps necessitate later
some minor corrections.

We have also received from the Minister of Marine of Spain, Don José
Ferrano, under date of July 14, 1909, a drawing of the paquebot, San
Carlos, together with the record of her gallant commander, Don Juan
Manuel de Ayala.

Ayala was born in Osuna, Andalucia, on the 28th of December, 1745. He
entered the Marine Corps on the 19th of September, 1760, and was made
Alférez de Fragata, October 10, 1767; Alférez de Navio, June 15, 1769;
Teniente de Fragata, April 28, 1774; Teniente de Navio, February, 1776;
and Capitan de Fragata, December 21, 1782.

When the order for the exploration of the northern coast was made, Ayala
was one of the officers assigned to the work. He arrived in Vera Cruz in
August, 1774, proceeded to the City of Mexico, and was ordered by
Viceroy Bucareli to San Blas, where he was given command of the schooner
Sonora. The squadron under Heceta had hardly got under way, when the
commander of the San Carlos, Don Miguel Manrique, suddenly went mad.
Ayala was ordered to the command of the packet-boat, and returned to San
Blas with the unfortunate officer, to follow the squadron a few days

In December, 1775, Ayala conducted a reconnaissance on the coast of New
Spain, and at its conclusion was placed in command of the Santiago, and
until October, 1778, served the new establishments of California. In
August, 1779, he was sent to the Philippine Islands in command of the
San Carlos, returning to San Blas in 1781. In July, 1784, he returned to
Spain, and on March 14, 1785, was retired, at his own request, the royal
order granting him full pay as captain of frigate in consideration of
his services to California. He died December 30, 1797.

Zoeth S. Eldredge,
E. J. Molera,
Charles H. Crocker,

San Francisco, August, 1909. – Committee.

The March of Portolá and the Discovery of the Bay of San Francisco


Zoeth S. Eldredge.

The popular mind accepts the oft-repeated statement that the settlement
of California was due to the pious zeal of a devoted priest, eager to
save the souls of the heathen, supplemented by the paternal care of a
monarch solicitous for the welfare of his subjects. The political
exigencies of the day are forgotten; military commanders and civil
governors sink into insignificance and become mere executives of the
priestly will, while the heroic efforts of Junípero Serra to convert the
natives, his courage in the face of danger, his sublime zeal, and his
unwearied devotion, make him the impelling factor in the colonization of

Nor is the popular conception that the church led the way into
California strange, when we understand that it is to the writings of
Fray Francisco Palou, friend, disciple, and successor of Junípero, that
all historians turn for the account of the occupation. Fray Palou
details the glorious life of the leader with whom he toiled; he
eulogizes the worthy priest, the ardent missionary, as he passed up and
down the length of the land, founding missions, planting the vine, the
olive, and the fruit tree in a land whose inhabitants had often suffered
from hunger; giving aid and comfort to the sick and weary and
consolation to the dying. Indeed, the pictures of the padres are
fascinating. The infant establishments planted by the church grew rich
and powerful, but so wise and gentle was the administration of the
priests and so generous their hospitality, that life in California in
the first quarter of the nineteenth century was an almost dolce far
niente existence.

Radiant as is the priestly figure of Junípero drawn by Palou, the
careful investigator will find that the impelling factor in the
occupation of California was stern military necessity, not missionary
zeal. From the time of Cabrillo, Spain had claimed the coasts of the
Pacific up to forty-two degrees north latitude by right of discovery,
but more than two hundred years had passed and she had done nothing
towards making good this right by settlement. The country was open to
colonization by any nation strong enough to maintain and protect its

Before relating the story of Portolá’s march, let us consider for a
moment the situation of California in its relation to Spain and other
European nations, and we will then understand why Spain found it
necessary to occupy the country.

When Legaspi completed the conquest of the Philippines in 1565, he sent
his flagship, the San Pedro, back to New Spain under command of his
grandson, Felipe Salcedo, with orders to survey and chart a practicable
route for ships returning from the Islands. The San Pedro sailed from
Cebu, June 1, 1565, and took her course east-northeast to the Ladrones,
thence northward to latitude thirty-eight, thence sailing eastward,
following the Kuroshiwo, the Black Current of Japan, they made a
landfall on the coast of California about the latitude of Cape
Mendocino. A sail of two thousand five hundred miles down the coasts of
California and New Spain brought the voyagers to the port of Acapulco.
This route was charted by the priests on board the San Pedro, and for
nearly three centuries was the one followed by the galleons of Spain
sailing from Manila to Acapulco. The voyage across the Pacific was a
long one and ships in distress were obliged to put about and make for
Japan. A harbor on the coast of California in which ships could find
shelter and repair damages was greatly desired. A survey of the unknown
coasts of the South Sea, as it was called, was ordered, and it was also
suggested that the explorations be extended beyond the forty-second
degree of north latitude, it being held that the coast was a part of the
same continent as that of China, or only separated therefrom by the
narrow strait of Anian, which was believed to open in latitude

Up to this time the only exploration of the northern coast of California
was that of Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo, and continued after his death by
his chief pilot, Bartolomé Ferrelo, in 1542-1543. Cabrillo sailed as far
north as Fort Ross, anchored in the Gulf of the Farallones, off the
entrance to the Golden Gate, and then sought refuge from the terrible
storms in San Miguel Island, Santa Barbara Channel, where he died.
Ferrelo took command and sailed up to Cape Mendocino, which he named in
honor of Don Antonio de Mendoza, first viceroy of New Spain.

On the 17th of June, 1579, Francis Drake, in command of the Golden
Hinde, took refuge in the bay under Point Reyes, now known as Drake’s
Bay. He took possession of the country in the name of Queen Elizabeth,
and named it New Albion, because of the white cliffs which, Chaplain
Fletcher writes, “lie towards the sea,” and also “that it might have
some affinity with our own country.” It was in this place and at this
time that the first English service was held in America, by Master
Francis Fletcher, chaplain to Francis Drake. The “Prayer Book Cross” in
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, commemorates the event.

Drake remained in this bay thirty-seven days, refitted his ship,
supplied himself with wood and water, and sailed on July 23d to the
Southeast Farallones, where he laid in a store of seal meat, and on the
25th sailed across the Pacific for England by way of the Cape of Good

In 1585, Captain Francisco de Gali, sailing for the Philippines, was
directed to sail, on the return voyage, as far north as the weather
would permit, and on reaching the coast of California, examine the land
and the harbors on his way homeward, make maps of all, and report all
that he accomplished. It does not appear from Gali’s report that he
accomplished anything in particular. He reached the coast in latitude
37° 30′ (Pillar Point), and noted that the land was high and fair; that
the mountains[1] were without snow, and that there were many indications
of rivers, bays, and havens along the coast.

In 1594, Captain Sebastian Cermeñon, a Portuguese sailor in the service
of Spain, sailed for the Philippines with orders similar to those of
Gali. In an attempt to survey the coast, he lost his ship, the San
Agustin. It is supposed she struck on one of the Farallones and was
beached in Drake’s Bay. From the trunk of a tree they constructed a
boat, called a viroco, and in this the ship’s company of more than
seventy persons continued the homeward voyage. The little vessel reached
Puerto de Navidad in safety, and here the commander and part of the
company left it in charge of the pilot, Juan de Morgana, with a crew of
ten men, who brought it into Acapulco on the 31st of January, 1596; a
most remarkable voyage of nearly twenty-five hundred miles by
shipwrecked, sick, and hungry men, crowded into an open boat. With the
loss of the San Agustin, explorations of the California coast by laden
ships from the Philippines came to an end.

Sometime prior to the summer of 1595, the viceroy of New Spain, Don Luis
de Velasco, entered into an agreement with certain persons looking to
the exploration of the coasts of the Californias and the settlement of
the land. The consideration for this undertaking, which was to be at the
expense of the adventurers, was the privilege of pearl fishing and
trade, together with all the honors, favors, and exemptions usually
given to the pacifiers and settlers of new provinces. Preparations for
the expedition were under way, when a dispute arose between the leader
and his partners in the enterprise, and the matter was carried into the
courts. Before a decision was reached, the leader died, and the judge
ordered the other partners, among whom was one Sebastian Vizcaino, to
begin the voyage to the Californias within three months. Under this
order, Vizcaino applied to Viceroy Velasco, and received his permission
to make the journey. This was the condition of affairs when, on October
5, 1596, Velasco was relieved and a new viceroy, Don Gaspar de Zúñiga y
Azevedo, Count of Monterey, took command. At Velasco’s request, Zúñiga
made a careful examination of all matters pertaining to the expedition
to the Californias, and the result was not favorable to Vizcaino. The
new viceroy did not think that an enterprise which might involve results
of such vast importance should be entrusted to the leadership of a
person of such obscure position and limited capital. He also doubted if
Vizcaino had the resolution and capacity necessary for so great an
undertaking, and it appeared to him that if disorders should arise among
his men through lack of discipline, or if the natives of the country to
which he was going should repel him, the repute and royal authority of
the king would be in danger. On the other hand, there was the decision
of the court, the concession of the viceroy, and the fact that Vizcaino
had already been at expense in the matter. Zúñiga communicated his
doubts to the former viceroy, who, in his perplexity, submitted the
question to a theologian and a jurist, selected as the viceroy writes,
from the number of those whose opinions were entitled to the greatest
consideration. Their decision was that the concession of the viceroy had
the force of an agreement and contract; that what was at first a favor
had become a right, and that, as the captain had manifested no
incapacity and had been guilty of no offense, the compact could not be
varied. The audiencia[2], before whom Zúñiga also laid the matter, was
of like opinion. In view, therefore, of the length to which the affair
had gone, the viceroy resolved not to annul the contract but to do all
in his power to insure the success of the expedition. That Vizcaino’s
soldiers might respect and esteem him, the viceroy clothed him with
authority and showed him the greatest honor. He required Vizcaino to
furnish him with complete memorandums and inventories of the ships and
lanchas he intended to take with him, with their sails and tackle, the
number of people, and the provisions for them, arms, ammunition, and all
other property, and he instructed the royal officers at Acapulco that
the expedition must not be permitted to sail until it was fully provided
with everything necessary for the voyage and the safety of the people.
The Council of the Indies, on receiving Zúñiga’s report, ordered him to
cancel Vizcaino’s commission and select another leader for the
expedition, but before this order could reach the viceroy, Vizcaino had
sailed. The expedition consisted of the flagship San Francisco, six
hundred tons; the San José, a smaller ship, under command of Captain
Rodrigo de Figueroa, and a lancha. Vizcaino sailed from Acapulco in
March, 1596. His first stop was at the port of Calagua on the coast of
Colima, where he took on some of his people and stores, and to this
point the watchful viceroy sent a personal representative to see that
Vizcaino complied with all of his requirements, and to report on the
conduct of his soldiers. From here Vizcaino sailed northwest to Cape
Corrientes, thence northerly to the Islands of San Juan de Mazatlan.
From Mazatlan he bore west-northwest across the Gulf of California and
landed in a large bay which he named San Felipe, afterwards known as the
Bay of Cerralbo. From here he went to La Paz bay, which he so named
because of the peaceful character of the Indians, who received him
hospitably with presents of fish, game, and fruits. This was, it is
supposed, the place where Jimenez, the discoverer of California, lost
his life in 1533, and where Córtez planted his ill-fated colony two
years later. In entering the bay, the flagship ran on a shoal, and they
were obliged to cut away her masts and lighten her of her cargo of
provisions, a great part of which was wet and lost. Here Vizcaino landed
and built a stockade fort, and leaving the dismantled flagship and the
married men of his company under command of his lieutenant, Figueroa, he
sailed on October 3rd, with the San José and the lancha and eighty men
to explore the gulf. He encountered severe storms which separated his
vessels, and not having proper discipline among his men, had trouble
with the Indians of the coast, during which nineteen men were lost by
the overturning of the ship’s long boat. He turned back to La Paz, where
his men, disheartened by the storms and the loss of their comrades,
demanded to be returned to New Spain. His stock of provisions was
running low, and putting the disaffected on the flagship and the lancha,
he sent them back, and with the San José and forty of the more
adventurous of the men, again sailed, on October 28th, for the
headwaters of the gulf. For sixty-six days he battled against strong
north winds, and only succeeded in reaching latitude twenty-nine; then
yielding to the demands of his men, he sailed for the port of the Isles
of Mazatlan.

The results of the expedition did not add to Vizcaino’s reputation, but
he made a most glowing report of his discoveries. He told of a land
double the extent of New Spain and in situation much preferable; its
seas abounding in pearls of excellent quality and in fish of all kinds,
in quantity greater than was contained in any other discovered sea;
while in the interior of the land, some twenty days’ journey to the
northwest, were people who lived in towns, wore clothes, had gold and
silver ornaments, cloaks of cotton, maize and provisions, fowls of the
country (turkeys), and of Castile (chickens); thus the Indians told him
– not only in one place but in many. He desired permission to make
another voyage, and as the late expedition had exhausted his own
resources, asked that he be granted thirty-five thousand dollars from
the royal treasury and outfitting for his ships. These advances he
agreed to repay from the first gain received by him during the voyage.
He also asked, on behalf of those who accompanied him, that the
countries brought by him into subjection to the crown be given to them
encomienda for five lives[3]; that they be made gentlemen and granted
all the favors, exemptions, and liberties that other gentlemen enjoy,
not only in the provinces of the Indies but also in Spain. For these and
for other favors asked, Vizcaino agreed to sail with five ships,
equipped with proper artillery, one hundred and fifty men, arms and
ammunition, provisions, etc. – all things necessary for the voyage. He
would pay the king one-fifth part of all gold, precious stones and
valuable mineral substances obtained, one-tenth part of the fish taken,
and one-twentieth part of the salt obtained. He also agreed to make
discovery of the whole ensenada and gulf of the Californias, take
possession of the land in the name of his majesty, make settlements,
build forts, and explore the country inland for a distance of one
hundred leagues.

Vizcaino’s rose-colored report did not deceive the authorities, but as
he had the necessary outfit and had had some experience, the Council
decided that he was the best man to head the expedition, though Zúñiga
favored Don Gabriel Maldonado, of Saville, for commander. The Council
ordered that Vizcaino be supplied from the royal treasury with all
necessary funds; it granted the boon of encomienda for three lives, and
that the discoverers should have all the privileges of gentlemen
throughout the Indies. It also granted other minor privileges and boons
asked for. Vizcaino was made captain-general of the expedition, and
sailed from Acapulco May 5, 1602, with orders to explore the coasts of
the Californias from Cape San Lucas to Cape Mendocino, or as far north
as latitude forty-two. His ships were the San Diego, flagship, the Santo
Tomas, under Toríbio Gomez de Corvan, the Tres Reyes, a small fragata or
tender, under Alférez Martin Aguilar, and a barcolongo for exploring
rivers and bays[4]. The chief pilot of the expedition was Francisco
Bolaños who had been one of the pilots with Cermeñon on the lost San
Agustin. Three barefooted Carmelites looked after the spiritual needs of
the adventurers. The story of this second voyage of Vizcaino is well
known. On the 10th of November, they were in the Bay of San Diego, which
Vizcaino named for San Diego de Alcalá, whose day, November 14th, they
spent in the bay, ignoring the name, San Miguel, given it by Cabrillo
sixty years before. Later in the month he entered and named San Pedro
bay, for Saint Peter, bishop of Alexandria, whose day, November 26th, it
was. He also named the islands still known as Santa Catalina and San
Clemente. He next sailed through and named the Canal de Santa Barbara,
which saint’s day, December 4th, was observed while in the channel, and
also named Isla de Santa Barbara and Isla de San Nicolas. Passing Punta
de la Concepcion, which he named[5], Vizcaino sailed up the coast in a
thick fog, which lifting on December 14th, revealed to the voyagers the
lofty coast range usually sighted by the ships coming from the
Philippines. Four leagues beyond they saw a river flowing from high
hills through a beautiful valley to the sea. To the mountains he gave
the name of Sierra de la Santa Lucia, in honor of the Saint whose day
(December 13th) they had just celebrated, and the stream he named Rio
del Cármelo, in honor of the Carmelite friars. Rounding a high wooded
point, which he named Punta de los Pinos, he dropped anchor in Monterey
bay, December 16th, 1602. Here Vizcaino found the much desired harbor of
refuge, and he named it for his patron, the Conde de Monterey. Vizcaino
made the most of his discovery, and in a letter to the king, written in
Monterey Bay, December 28, 1602[6], he gives a most glowing description
of the bay, which is, at best, but an open roadstead. The Indians, as
usual, told him of large cities in the interior, which they invited him
to visit, but Vizcaino could not tarry. His provisions were almost gone,
his men were sick with scurvy, of which many had died, and putting the
most helpless on board the Santo Tomas, he sent her to Acapulco for aid,
and sailed, January 3, 1603, with the flagship and fragata, for the
north. A storm soon separated the vessels and they did not see each
other again until they met in the harbor of Acapulco. Vizcaino was told
by the pilot, Bolaños, that Cermeñon had left in Drake’s Bay a large
quantity of wax and several chests of silk, and he entered the bay on
January 8th to see if any vestiges remained of ship or cargo. He did not
land, but awaited the arrival of the fragata. As she did not appear, he
became uneasy, and sailed the next morning in search of her. On the
13th, a violent gale from the southeast drove him northward. This was
followed by a dense fog, and when it lifted, he found himself in
latitude forty-two – the limit of his instructions – with Cape Blanco in
sight, “and the trend of the coast line onward,” he writes, “towards
Japan and Great China, which are but a short run away.” Only six of his
men were now able to keep the deck, and he bore away for Acapulco, where
he arrived March 21, 1603. Of the company that sailed with him,
forty-two had died.

In 1606, Philip III, King of Spain, ordered that Monterey be occupied
and provision made there to succor and refit the Philippine ships. He
directed that to Vizcaino should be given the command of the expedition.
His orders were not carried out and Vizcaino sailed instead for Japan,
whence he returned in 1613, and died three years later.

For over one hundred and sixty years, no steps were taken for the
pacification and settlement of Alta California. The galleons continued
to make their yearly voyages to the Philippines, and returning, sail
down the coast within sight of the fair land; but no harbor of refuge
was established and no attempt was made to colonize the country.

At last the Spanish king began to realize that if he would retain his
possessions in America, some action was necessary for their protection.
Spanish sovereignty in the Pacific was threatened. The Russians had
crossed Bering Sea, had established themselves on the coast of Alaska,
and their hunters were extending their pursuit of the sea otter into
more southern waters. England had wrested Canada from France and was
ready to turn her attention to the American possessions of Spain. The
Family Compact of the Bourbon princes of France, Spain, and Italy had
aroused the ire of Pitt, then at the zenith of his fame, and he resolved
to demand an explanation from Spain, and, failing to receive it, attack
her at home and abroad before she was prepared, declaring that it was
time for humbling the whole house of Bourbon. A check in the cabinet
caused Pitt’s resignation, but in 1766 he was again restored to power
with vigor and arrogance unabated.

On February 27, 1767, Don Carlos III of Spain issued his famous decree
expelling the Jesuits from the Spanish dominions. This society had
established a number of missions in Lower California, and Don Gaspar de
Portolá, a captain of dragoons of the Regiment of Spain, was appointed
governor of the Californias and sailed from Tepic with twenty-five
dragoons, twenty-five infantry, and fourteen Franciscan friars to
dispossess the Jesuits and turn the California missions over to the

The king having been warned of the advance of the Russians upon the
northern coasts of California, ordered the viceroy of New Spain to take
effective measures to guard that part of his dominions from danger of
invasion and insult. While the viceroy was casting about to find a
person of sufficient importance and ability to organize and carry out so
great an undertaking, Don José de Galvez, visitador-general of the
kingdom and member of the Council of the Indies, offered his services
and volunteered to go to Lower California and effect the organization
and equipment of the expedition. His services were eagerly accepted, and
Galvez set out from the City of Mexico, April 9, 1768, for San Blas, on
the coast of New Galicia. Before arriving at that port, he was overtaken
by a courier from the viceroy bringing orders just received from the
court directing that a maritime expedition should be at once dispatched
to Monterey and that port fortified. Convening the Junta at San Blas on
the 16th of May, 1768, the señor visitador laid before them the
situation and the wishes of the king. He stated that on the exterior or
occidental coasts of the Californias, Spain claimed from Cape San Lucas
on the south to the Rio de los Reyes[7] in 43 degrees, though the only
portion occupied was from Cape San Lucas up to 30° 30′.[8] The civilized
or Christian portion of the community (gente de razon – people of
reason) did not, he said, number more than four hundred souls, including
the families of the soldiers of the garrison of Loreto and those of the
miners in the south; that if foreigners of any nation were to establish
themselves in the celebrated ports of San Diego and Monterey, they might
fortify themselves there before the government could receive notice of
it. In all the Sea of the South that washes the shores of New Spain
there were no other vessels than the two packet-boats recently built in
San Blas, the San Carlos and the San Antonio, and two others of small
tonnage which served the Jesuit missionaries in their communications
between California and the coast of Sonora. In these few ships consisted
all the maritime forces which could have been opposed to foreign
invasion. All this Galvez laid before the Junta, there being present the
commandant of the department and the army officers and pilots who
chanced to be there. It was resolved to send an expedition by sea in the
San Carlos and San Antonio, and orders were made to prepare the ships,
while Galvez proceeded to the peninsula to attend to the gathering of
supplies and provisions. All the missions of Lower California were laid
under contribution of vestments and sacred vessels for the new missions
to be established, also dried fruits, wine, oil, riding horses and mule
herd; for Galvez had decided to supplement the maritime expedition by
one by land, lest the infinite risks and dangers attending a long
sea-voyage should render the attempt abortive. The governor, Don Gaspar
de Portolá, volunteered to lead the expedition, and he was named
commander-in-chief. Don Fernando de Rivera y Moncado, captain of the
presidio of Loreto, was appointed second in command. The troops were
composed of forty cavalrymen from the presidio of Loreto in Lower
California, under Rivera, and twenty-five infantrymen of the compania
franca of Catalonia, under Lieutenant Don Pedro Fages. To the presidial
troops were joined thirty Christian Indians from the missions, armed
with bows and arrows. These were intended for the land expedition. The
mission of Santa Maria, the northernmost mission on the peninsula, was
the rendezvous of the land forces, and from Loreto four lighters loaded
with provisions for the land expedition were sent up the gulf to the bay
of San Luis Gonzaga, the nearest point to the mission of Santa Maria,
whither also went by land the troops, muleteers, and vaqueros, with the
herd of every sort. Finding insufficient pasturage for the cattle at
Santa Maria, they advanced to Velicatá, some thirty miles distant, and
here was assembled the land expedition. In addition to the officers
named, Don Miguel Costansó, ensign of royal engineers, was ordered to
join the expedition as cosmographer and diarist, and Don Pedro Prat was
appointed physician. To minister to the soldiers and take charge of the
missions to be established in the new land, the following missionary
priests, all of the college of San Fernando in Mexico, were named to
accompany the expedition. Fray Junípero Serra, appointed president of
the missions of Alta California, Fray Juan Crespi, Fray Fernando Parron,
Fray Juan Vizcaino, and Fray Francisco Gomez.

On the 6th of January, 1769, at the port of La Paz, the San Carlos was
loaded and ready for sea. The venerable Father Junípero Serra sang mass
aboard her, and with other devotional exercises blessed the ship and the
standards. The visitador named the Señor San José patron of the
expedition, and in a fervent exhortation, kindled the spirits of those
about to sail. These were Don Pedro Fages, with his twenty-five Catalans
of the 1st batallion 2d regiment, Voluntarios de Cataluna, Alférez
Miguel Costansó, Surgeon Don Pedro Prat, and Padre Fernando Parron. The
ship was commanded by Don Vicente Vila, lieutenant of the royal navy;
the mate was Don Jorge Estorace, and twenty-three sailors, two boys,
four cooks, and two blacksmiths made up the rest of the ship’s company –
sixty-two in all. They embarked on the night of January 9th and sailed
on the 10th. Galvez appointed Fages gefe de las armas – chief of the
military expedition at sea, and instructed him to retain command of the
soldiers on land until the arrival of the governor at Monterey[9]. On
the 15th of February, Father Junípero performed like offices for the San
Antonio, and she sailed the same day under command of Don Juan Perez,
“of the navigation of the Philippines,” carrying Frays Vizcaino and
Gomez, some carpenters, blacksmiths, and cooks, that, with the sailors,
made some ninety persons, all told, on both ships. The rendezvous was
San Diego bay, where all were to meet.

The land expedition was divided into two parts. The first division,
under Rivera, started from Velicatá March 24th, and the second, under
command of the governor, started May 15th. With Rivera were Padre
Crespi, Pilotin (Mate) Jose Cañizares. Twenty-five soldados de
cuera[10], three muleteers, and eleven Christian Indians – forty-two
men. With the governor marched Junípero Serra, fifteen soldados de
cuera, under Sergeant Jose Francisco de Ortega, two servants, muleteers
and Indians – forty-four in all. The previous day, May 14, 1769, being
Easter Sunday, Junípero established the Mission of San Fernando with
Fray Miguel de la Campa as Minister. For the succor and relief of the
forces, both sea and land, Galvez built, at San Blas, a ship which he
named in honor of the protector of the expedition, the San Jose, and
loading her with supplies and provisions, sent her with orders to meet
the expedition at Monterey. She was lost at sea.

There is very little of interest in this march of some two hundred miles
through a barren country to the bay of San Diego. Junípero’s diary lies
before me[11]; it is a dreary recital of small incidents of the march, the
Indians they met, the barrancas they crossed, with pious comments, etc.;
no course, no distances traveled, or other like information necessary to
an understanding of the route and country. As a diarist, he is not to be
compared with Crespi. On June 20th they came first in sight of the sea
at the Ensenada de Todos Santos; thence their journey was by the sea
until they came to the rendezvous. As they drew near to San Diego, their
Indian allies began to desert, evidently in fear of the Diegueños, whom
they began to meet in numbers and who proved a rascally lot. They
thronged the camp and became a perfect nuisance with their begging and
stealing. They begged from Junípero his robe and from the governor his
cuera, waistcoat, breeches, and all he had on. One of them succeeding in
inducing Junípero to take off his spectacles to show them to him and as
soon as he got them in his hands made off with them, causing the priest
a thousand difficulties to recover them. On the 27th of June Sergeant
Ortega, with his scouts, pushed on to San Diego and announced to the
anxious camp the proximity of the governor. Rivera sent ten of his
soldiers with fresh horses back with Ortega, and Portolá, in advance of
his command, reached the camp June 29th, and the entire division
arrived, June 30th, in good order and condition, forty-six days from

Let us anticipate their arrival and ascertain the fate of the other
divisions of the expedition. For more than a century and a half the
placid waters of San Diego bay had lain undisturbed by any craft more
formidable than the tule rafts (balsas de enea) of the natives, when on
the 11th of April, 1769, a silent ship slowly entered the bay and
dropped her anchor not far from the point where now the ferry boat for
Coronado leaves the slip. It was the San Antonio, the first arrival at
the rendezvous. No attempt was made to land, for they were alone and
dread scurvy had them in its grip. Two had died, and most of the ship’s
company were sick. On the 29th, the San Carlos arrived, 110 days from La
Paz, with her company in even worse condition. All were sick, some had
died, and only four sailors remained on their feet, aided in working the
ship by such of the soldiers as were able to help. She had been driven
far out of her course; had found herself short of water, and had to put
into the island of Cedros to supply herself, and it was with the
greatest difficulty she reached the bay of San Diego. The first thing to
be done was to find good water and to minister to the sick. For this
purpose there landed, on May 1st, Don Pedro Fages, Don Miguel Costansó,
and Don Jorge Estorace, with twenty-five men-soldiers, sailors, etc.,
all who were able to do duty, and, proceeding up the shore, found, by
direction of some Indians, a river of good mountain water at a distance
of three leagues to the northeast. Moving their ships as near as they
could, they prepared on the beach a camp, which they surrounded with a
parapet of earth and fascines, and mounted two cannon. Within they made
two large hospital tents from the sails and awnings of the ships, and
set up the tents of the officers and priests. Then they transferred the
sick. The labor was immense, for all were sick, and the list of those
able to perform duty daily grew smaller. The difficulties of their
situation were very great. Nearly all the medicines and food had been
consumed during the long voyage, and Don Pedro Prat, the surgeon,
himself sick with scurvy, sought in the fields with a thousand anxieties
some healing herbs, of which he himself was in as sore need as the
others. The cold made itself felt with vigor at night and the sun burned
them by day – alternations which made the sick suffer cruelly, two or
three of them dying every day, until the whole sea expedition which had
been composed of more than ninety men, found itself reduced to eight
soldiers and as many sailors in a state to attend to the safeguarding of
the ships, the working of the launches, the custody of the camp, and the
care of the sick.

There was no news whatever of the land divisions. The neighborhood of
the fort was diligently searched for tracks of a horse herd, but none
were discovered. They did not know what to think of this delay. At
length, on the 14th of May, the Indians gave notice to some soldiers on
the beach that from the direction of the south men mounted on horses and
armed as they, were coming. It was the first land division under Rivera,
fifty days from Velicatá, without the loss of a man or having a sick
one; but they were on half rations; they had only three sacks of flour
left and were issuing two tortillas[12] per day to each man. Great was
the rejoicing in the camp of the sick over the arrival of Rivera’s
force. It was now resolved to remove the camp near to the river. This
was done, and a new camp established on a hill in what is now known as
“Old Town,” where a stockade was made and the cannon mounted. The
surgeon, Pedro Prat, devoted himself to the sick, but the deaths
continued, until of the ninety and more who had sailed from La Paz,
two-thirds were laid under the sand of Punta de los Muertos[13]. It was
now thought best to send one of the packets to San Blas to inform the
viceroy and the visitador of the state of the expedition, and it was
feared that if this were longer delayed, the ship would be unable to put
to sea for lack of mariners. The San Antonio was selected for this
purpose, and was prepared for sea, but as she was about to sail, the
camp was thrown into an ecstasy of joy by the arrival of Portolá and the
second division, sound in body, and with 163 mules laden with
provisions. The governor promptly informed himself of the condition of
affairs, and desirous that the señor visitador’s orders concerning the
sea expedition should be carried out, offered to Captain Vila of the San
Carlos sixteen men of his command to work the ship, that he might pursue
the voyage to Monterey. As Vila had lost all his ship’s officers,
boatswain, storekeeper, coxswain of the launch, and there was not a
sailor among the men offered by Portolá, he declined to go to sea under
such conditions. All the available sailors were therefore placed on
board the San Antonio, and she sailed for San Blas, June 8th, with eight
men only for a crew.

The governor now proceeded to organize his force for the march to
Monterey. He determined to move at once, lest the advancing season
should expose them to the danger of having the passes of the sierra
closed by snow, as even at San Diego those who came by sea reported the
sierras covered with snow on their arrival in April.

On the 14th of July, Portolá began his march to Monterey, distant one
hundred and fifty-nine leagues. His force consisted of Sergeant Ortega,
with twenty-seven soldados de cuera under Rivera, Fages with six Catalan
volunteers – all that could travel, Ensign Costansó, the priests, Crespi
and Gomez, seven muleteers, fifteen Christian Indians from the missions
of Lower California, and two servants – sixty-four in all. Both Fages
and Costansó were sick with scurvy, but joined the command
notwithstanding. The personnel of this expedition contains some of the
best known names in California. Portolá, the first governor; Rivera,
comandante of California from 1773 to 1777, killed in the Yuma revolt on
the Colorado in 1781; Fages, first comandante of California, 1769-1773,
governor, 1782-1790; Ortega, pathfinder, explorer, discoverer of the
Golden Gate and of Carquines Strait[14]; lieutenant and brevet captain,
comandante of the presidio of San Diego, of Santa Barbara, and of
Monterey; founder of the presidio of Santa Barbara and of the missions
of San Juan Capistrano and San Buenaventura. Among the rank and file
were men whose names are not less known: Pedro Amador, who gave his name
to Amador county; Juan Bautista Alvarado, grandfather of Governor
Alvarado; José Raimundo Carrillo, later alférez, lieutenant, and
captain, comandante of the presidio of Monterey, of Santa Barbara, and
of San Diego, and founder of the great Carrillo family; José Antonio
Yorba, sergeant of Catalonia volunteers, founder of the family of that
name and grantee of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana; Pablo de Cota,
José Ignacio Oliveras, José Maria Soberanes, and others.

At San Diego, Portolá left the sick under the care of the faithful
surgeon, Prat, and a guard of ten cuera soldiers; Captain Vila of the
San Carlos, with a few seamen; Frays Junípero Serra, Juan Vizcaino, and
Fernando Parron, a carpenter, a blacksmith, and a few Lower California
Indians, some forty persons in all. The governor also left with them a
sufficient number of horses and mules and about sixty loads[15] of
provisions. On July 16th, two days after the Portolá expedition started,
Junípero founded, with appropriate ceremonies, the mission of San Diego
de Alcalá, the first mission established in Alta California. The deaths
continued, and before Portolá’s return in January, eight soldiers, four
sailors, one servant, and eight Indians died, leaving but about twenty
persons at the camp.

We will now follow the governor. Relying somewhat on the supply ship,
San Jose, which was to meet him at Monterey, but which, as we have seen,
was lost at sea, and also on the supplies to be brought by the San
Antonio, the governor, knowing the uncertainties of a sea voyage, took
with him one hundred mules loaded with provisions, sufficient, he
concluded, to last him for six months.

On the march the following order was observed. Sergeant Ortega, with six
or eight soldiers, went in advance, laid out the route, selected the
camping place, and cleared the way of hostile Indians by whom he was
frequently surrounded. At the head of the column rode the comandante,
with Fages, Costansó, the two priests, and an escort of six Catalonia
volunteers; next came the sappers and miners, composed of Indians, with
spades, mattocks, crowbars, axes, and other implements used by pioneers;
these were followed by the main body divided into four bands of
pack-animals, each with its muleteers and a guard of presidial soldiers.
The last was the rear guard, commanded by Captain Rivera, convoying the
spare horses and mules (caballada y mulada).

The presidial soldiers were provided with two kinds of arms, offensive
and defensive. The defensive consisted of the cuera (leather jacket) and
the adarga (shield)[16]. The first, being made in the form of a coat
without sleeves, was composed of six or seven thicknesses of dressed
deer skins impervious to the Indian arrows, except at very short range.
The adarga was of two thicknesses of raw bulls-hide, borne on the left
arm, and so managed by the trooper as to defend himself and his horse
against the arrows and spears of the Indians; in addition, they used a
species of apron of leather, fastened to the pommel of the saddle, with
a fall to each side of the horse down to the stirrup, wide enough to
cover the thigh and a leg of the horseman, and protect him when riding
through the brush. This apron was called the armas. Their offensive arms
were the lance, which they managed with great dexterity on horseback,
the broadsword, and a short musket, carried in a case. Costansó, who was
an officer of the regular army, bears testimony to the unceasing labor
of the presidial soldiers of California on this march, and says they
were men capable of enduring much fatigue, obedient, resolute, and
active; “and it is not too much to say that they are the best horsemen
in the world, and among the best soldiers who gain their bread in the
service of the king.”[17]

It must be understood that the marches of these troops with such a train
through an unknown country and by unused paths, could not be long ones.
It was necessary to explore the land one day for the march of the next,
and the camp for the day was sometimes regulated by the distance to be
traveled to the next place where water, fuel, and pastures could be had.
The distance made was from two to four leagues[18], and the command
rested every four days, more or less, according to the fatigue caused
by the roughness of the road, the toil of the pioneers, the wandering
off of the beasts, or the necessities of the sick. Costansó says that
one of their greatest difficulties was in the control of their caballada
(horse-herd), without which the journey could not be made. In a country
they do not know, horses frighten themselves by night in the most
incredible manner. To stampede them, it is enough for them to discover a
coyote or fox. The flight of a bird, the dust flung by the wind-any of
these are capable of terrifying them and causing them to run many
leagues, precipitating themselves over barrancas and precipices, without
any human effort availing to restrain them. Afterwards it costs immense
toil to gather them again, and those that are not killed or crippled,
remain of no service for some time. In the form and manner stated, the
Spaniards made their marches, traversing immense lands, which grew more
fertile and pleasing as they progressed northward.

The expedition followed practically the route which afterwards became
the Camino Real. Its fourth jornada (day’s journey) brought it to the
pretty valley where later was established the mission of San Luis Rey.
They called it San Juan Capistrano, but that name was afterwards
transferred to a mission forty miles north of this place. The command
rested here, July 19th. Resuming the march on the 20th, the sierra (San
Onofre), whose base they were skirting, drew so near the sea that it
seemed to threaten their advance, but by keeping close to the shore,
they held their way, and on the 24th they encamped on a fine stream of
water running through a mesa at the foot of a sierra, whence looking
across the sea, they could descry Santa Catalina Island. This was San
Juan Capistrano, and here they rested on the 25th. On the 28th they
reached the Santa Ana river, near the present town of that name; a
violent shock of earthquake which they experienced caused them to name
the river Jesus de los Temblores[19]. July 30th and 31st they were in
the San Gabriel valley, which they called San Miguel, and on August 1st
they rested near the site of the present city of Los Angeles. The stop
this day, in addition to the needed rest and the necessity for
exploration, was to give opportunity for the soldiers and people of the
expedition to gain the great indulgence of Porciúncula.[20] The priests
said mass and the sacrament was administered. In the afternoon the
soldiers went to hunt and brought in an antelope (barrendo), with which
the land seemed to abound. The next day they crossed the Los Angeles
river by the site of the present city, and named it Rio de Nuestra
Señora de Los Angeles de Porciúncula[21]. Passing up the river, they
went through the cañon and came into the San Fernando valley, which they
called Valle de Santa Catalina de los Encinos – Valley of St. Catherine
of the Oaks. Five days they spent in the valley, and crossing the Santa
Susana mountains, perhaps by the Tapo cañon, they came to the Santa
Clara river near the site of Camulos, and there rested, August 9th.
Portolá named the river Santa Clara, which name it still bears, in honor
of the saint, whose day, August 12th, was observed by them. Five days,
by easy jornadas, they traveled down the river, and arrived on the 14th
at the first rancheria[22] of the Channel Indians. It being the vespers
of the feast of La Asuncion de Nuestra Señora, Portolá named the village
La Asuncion. It contained about thirty large, well-constructed houses of
clay and rushes, and each house held three or four families. These
Indians were of good size, well-formed, active, industrious, and very
skillful in constructing boats, wooden bowls, and other articles.
Portolá thought this pueblo must be the one named by Cabrillo, Pueblo de
Canoas (Pueblo of the Boats). This was the site selected for the mission
of San Buenaventura, founded March 31, 1782. The natives received them
kindly, gave them an abundance of food, and showed them their well-made
boats, twenty-four feet long, made of pine boards tied together with
cords and covered with asphaltum, and capable of carrying ten men each.
The next four days they followed the beach and camped, on August 18th,
at a large laguna, called by them La Laguna de la Concepcion. This was
the site of the future presidio and mission of Santa Barbara. Everywhere
were large populous rancherías of the Indians, and everywhere they were
received in the most hospitable manner and provided with more food than
they could eat. The next stop was three leagues beyond, on the shore of
a large lagoon and marsh, containing a good-sized island on which was a
large ranchería, while four others lined the banks of the lagoon.
Portolá gave to this group the name In Mediaciones de las Rancherías de
Mescaltitan – The Contiguous Rancherías of Mescaltitan. The name of
Mescaltitan is still attached to the island, though the marsh is mostly
drained and contains some of the finest walnut groves in California. On
the 28th, they turned Point Concepcion and camped just north at a place
called by them Paraje de los Pedernales. Point Pedernales, about five
miles beyond, preserves the name. On the 30th they crossed a large
river, which they named the Santa Rosa, in honor of that saint, whose
day it was. This is now the Santa Inez, so called from the mission of
that name, established on its bank in 1804. Passing northward along the
beach, a sharp spur of the sierra jutting out at Point Sal turned them
inland through the little pass followed by the Southern Pacific Coast
Line, and they came, on September 10th, to a large lake in the northwest
corner of Santa Barbara county, to which was given the name of Laguna
Larga, now known as Guadalupe Lake. Three leagues beyond, they camped at
a lake named by Costansó, Laguna Redonda, but which the soldiers called
El Oso Flaco – The Thin Bear – and it is still known by that name. Here
Sergeant Ortega was taken ill, and ten of the soldiers complained of
sore feet. They rested on the 3d, and on the 4th reached the mouth of
the San Luis cañon. Here they were hospitably received by the chief of a
large ranchería, whose appearance caused the soldiers to apply to him
the name of “El Buchon,” he having a large tumor hanging from his neck.
Father Crespi did not approve of the name which the soldiers applied to
the chief, his ranchería, and to the cañon leading up to San Luis
Obispo, and he named the village San Ladislao. As in so many cases the
good father was unable to make the name he gave stick, the saint has
been ignored, but Point Buchon, just above Point Harford and Mount
Buchon, otherwise known as Bald Knob, bear witness to the staying
qualities of the tumor on the chief’s neck. Passing up the narrow cañon
of San Luis creek, they camped at or near the site of the mission and
city of San Luis Obispo. From here, instead of proceeding over the
Sierra de Santa Lucia by the Cuesta pass into the upper Salinas valley,
whence the march to Monterey would have been easy, they turned to the
west and followed the Cañada de los Osos to the sea at Morro Bay, which
they called El Estero de San Serafin. The Cañada de los Osos[23], still
so called, they named because of a fight with some very fierce bears,
one of which they succeeded in killing after it had received nine balls.
Another wounded the mules, and the hunters with difficulty saved their

The travelers now marched up the coast until, on the 13th, they came to
a point where further progress was disputed by the Sierra de Santa
Lucia. This was where a spur from the sierra terminating in Mount Mars,
blocks the passage by the beach and presents a bold front, rising three
thousand feet from the water. Camping at the foot of the sierra, Portolá
sent out the explorers under Rivera to find a passage through the
mountains. During the 14th and 15th, the pioneers labored to open a way
into the sierra through San Carpóforo cañon, and on the 16th the command
moved up the steep and narrow gulch, with inaccessible mountains on
either side. It is impossible to follow their route through this rugged
mountain range with any degree of accuracy. Their progress was slow and
painful. On the 20th, they toiled up an exceedingly high ridge to the
north, and from its summit the Spaniards looked upon a boundless sea of
mountains, “presenting,” writes Crespi, “a sad prospect to us poor
travelers worn out with the fatigue of the journey.” The cold was
beginning to be severe, and many of the men were suffering from scurvy
and unfit for service, which increased the hardship for all; yet they
did not falter but pressed bravely on, and on the 26th emerged from the
mountains by the Arroyo Seco, which they named the Cañada del Palo
Caido[24] (Valley of the Fallen Tree), and camped on the Salinas river,
which they christened Rio de San Elizario. From now on the march is an
easy one down the Salinas valley to the sea.

On the last day of September, the command halted near the mouth of the
Salinas river, within sound of the ocean, though they could not see it.
They were persuaded that they were not far from the desired port of
Monterey and that the mountain range they had crossed was unquestionably
that of the Santa Lucia, described by Torquemada in his history of the
voyage of Vizcaino, and shown on the chart of the pilot Cabrera Bueno.
The governor ordered the explorers to go out and ascertain on what part
of the coast they were. On the morrow, Rivera, with eight soldiers,
explored the coast to the southward, marching along the shore of the
very port they were seeking, while Portolá, with Costansó, Crespi, and
five soldiers, climbed a hill from whose top they saw a great ensenada,
the northern point of which extended a long way into the sea, and bore
northwest at a distance of eight maritime leagues, while on the south a
hill ran out into the sea in the form of a point, and appeared to be
wooded with pines. They recognized the one on the north as the Punta de
Año Nuevo and that on the south as Punta de Pinos, while between the two
lay the great ensenada[25], with its dreary sand dunes. This was as laid
down in the coast pilot (derretero) of Cabrera Bueno, but where was the
famous port of Monterey?

They thought that perhaps they had passed Monterey in the great circuit
they had made through the mountain ranges. For three days the search was
continued. Rivera reported that south of the Point of Pines and between
it and another point to the south (Point Cármelo) was a small ensenada,
where a stream of water came down from the mountains and emptied into an
estero; that beyond this the coast was so high and impenetrable they
were obliged to turn back, and he believed that it was the same sierra
which compelled them to leave the coast on the 16th of September.

Much perplexed by these reports, the governor called a council of
officers to deliberate as to the best course to pursue. On Wednesday,
October 4th, the council met and after hearing mass, the commander laid
the matter before them. He set forth the shortness of their store of
provisions, the seventeen men on the sick list, unfit for duty, the
excessive burden of labor imposed on the rest in sentinel duty, care of
the animals, and continual explorations, and to the lateness of the
season. In view of these circumstances, and of the fact that the port of
Monterey could not be found where it was said to be, each person present
was called upon to express freely his opinion.

Costansó spoke first; Vizcaino had put Monterey in 37°; they had only
reached 36° 42′; they should not fail to explore up to 37° 30′, so as
either to find the port or decide it did not exist. Fages was for going
up to 37° or a little more. Rivera thought they should establish
themselves somewhere. Then the resolute commander determined to go
forward and put his trust in God. If they found the desired port of
Monterey and therein the supply-ship San Jose, all would be well. If
Monterey did not appear, they would find a place for a settlement; but
if it should be the will of God that all were to perish, they would have
discharged their duty to God and man in laboring until death in their
endeavor to accomplish the enterprise on which they had been sent. To
this decision all agreed, and signed their names to the compact.

Ortega and his scouts were now dispatched to lay out the route and
locate camping places for several days in advance, and on the 7th of
October, the march was resumed. Sixteen sick men had now lost use of
their limbs. Each night they were rubbed with oil, and each morning they
were put into hammocks swung between two mules, tandem, and thus carried
in the mode of travel used by the women of Andalusia[26]. The march was
slow and painful. Some of the sick were believed to be in the last
extremity, and on October 8th, the holy viaticum was administered to
three, who were thought to be dying.

On this day they crossed the Rio del Pájaro, which they named because of
a great bird the Indians had killed and stuffed with straw, and which
measured seven feet and four inches from the tip of one wing to that of
the other. It was thought to be a royal eagle, and that the natives were
preparing it for some ceremony when they were frightened away by the
approach of the Spaniards. Crespi, who still had a supply of saints on
hand, gave the river the name La Señora Santa Ana, but again the saint
was ignored, and the river is known as the Pájaro (Bird). On the 17th
they crossed and named the Rio de San Lorenzo, at the site of the
present city of Santa Cruz. On the 20th they were at Punta de Año Nuevo,
and camped at the entrance of the cañon of Waddell creek. They
recognized Point Año Nuevo from the description given by Cabrera Bueno,
and Crespi estimated that it was one league distant from the camp. With
good water and fuel, the command rested here the 21st and 22d. Both
Portolá and Rivera were now added to the sick list. Meat and vegetables
had given out and the rations were reduced to five tortillas of bran and
flour per day. Crespi named the camp San Luis Beltran, while the
soldiers called it La Cañada de Salud. On the 23d, they again moved
forward, passing Punta de Año Nuevo and, traveling two leagues, camped
probably on Gazos creek, where was a large Indian ranchería, whose
inhabitants received them kindly. This camp, which was about opposite
Pigeon Point, they named Casa Grande, also San Juan Nepomuceno[27]. The
next jornada was a long one of four leagues, and their camp was on San
Gregoria creek. It began to rain and the command was prostrated by an
epidemic of diarrhoea which spared no one. They now thought they saw
their end, but the contrary appeared to be the case. The diarrhoea
seemed to relieve the scurvy, and the swollen limbs of the sufferers
began to be less painful. They named the camp Vane de los Soldados de
los Cursos, and Crespi applied the name of Santo Domingo to it. Unable
to travel on the 25th and 26th, but resuming the march October 27th,
they pressed forward. The next stop was Purisima creek, two short
leagues distant, but the way was rough, and the pioneers had to make
roads across three arroyos where the descents were steep and difficult
for the transportation of the invalids. On the bank of the stream was an
Indian ranchería, apparently deserted. The Spaniards took possession of
the huts, but soon came running forth with cries of “las pulgas! las
pulgas![28]” They preferred to camp in the open. The soldiers called
the camp Ranchería de las Pulgas, while Crespi named it San Ibon. On the
28th they camped on Pilarcitos creek, site of Spanish town or Half Moon
Bay. They named the camp El Llano de los Ansares – The Plain of the Wild
Geese – and Crespi called it San Simon y San Judas. Every man in the
command was ill; the medicines were nearly gone and the supply of food
very short. They contemplated killing some of the mules. That night it
rained heavily and Portolá, who was very ill, decided to rest on the
29th. On Monday, October 30th, they moved forward. Half Moon Bay and
Pillar Point were noted but no names given. Several deep arroyos were
crossed, some of which required the building of bridges to get the
animals over. They proceeded up the shore until a barrier of rock
confronted them and disputed the passage. Here in a rincon (corner)
formed by the sierra and. sheltered from the north wind they camped
while Ortega and his men were sent out to find a passage over the
Montara mountains. A little stream furnished them with water and they
named the camp El Rincon de las Almejas, on account of the mussels and
other shell fish they found on the rocks. Crespi calls it La Punta del
Angel Custodia. The site of the camp is about a mile north of the
Montara fog signal. By noon of the next day, October 31st, the pioneers
had prepared a passage over the bold promontory of Point San Pedro, and
at ten o’clock in the morning the company set out on the trail of the
exploradores and made their painful way to the summit. Here a wondrous
sight met their eyes and quickened their flagging spirits. Before them,
bright and beautiful, was spread a great ensenada, its waters dancing in
the sunlight. Far to the northwest a point reached out into the sea,
rising abruptly before them, high above the ocean. Further to the left,
west-northwest, were seen six or seven white Farallones and finally
along the shore northward they discerned the white cliffs and what
appeared to be the mouth of an inlet. There could be not mistake. The
distant point was the Punta de los Reyes and before them lay the Bahía ó
Puerto de San Francisco. The saint had been good to them and with joy in
their hearts they made the steep and difficult descent and camped in the
San Pedro valley[29] at the foot of the Montara mountains.

Some of the company thought they had left the Port of Monterey behind
but would not believe they had reached the Port of San Francisco. To
settle the matter, the governor ordered Ortega and his men to examine
the country as far as Point Reyes, giving them three days in which to
report, while the command remained in camp in the Vallecito de la Punta
de las Almejas del Angel de la Guarda, as Crespi calls it, combining the
two names of the camp of October 30th and transferring them to the camp
in San Pedro valley.

The next day, Thursday, November 2nd, being All Souls day, after mass
some of the soldiers asked permission to go and hunt for deer. They
climbed the mountains east of the camp and returning after nightfall
reported that they had seen from the top of the mountain an immense
estero or arm of the sea, which thrust itself into the land as far as
the eye could reach, stretching to the southeast; that they had seen
some beautiful plains thickly covered with trees, while the many columns
of smoke rising over them showed that they were well stocked with Indian
villages. This story confirmed them in the belief that they were at the
Port of San Francisco, and that the estero described was that spoken of
by Cabrera Bueno, the mouth of which they imagined they had seen from
the Montara mountains[30]. They were now satisfied that Ortega would be
unable to reach Point Reyes, and that three days was not sufficient time
to go around the head of such an estero. The exploring party returned in
the night of November 3d, discharging their fire-arms as they
approached. They reported that they found themselves obstructed by
immense estuaries which ran extraordinarily far back into the land[31],
but what caused their rejoicing was that they understood from the signs
of the Indians that at two days journey from where they were there was a
port in which a ship was anchored. On this announcement, some thought
that they were at the port of Monterey, and that the supply ship San
Jose or the San Carlos was waiting for them. Crespi says that if they
were not in Monterey, they were certainly in San Francisco.

On Saturday, November 4th, being the day of San Carlos Borromeo, in
whose honor they had come to establish a royal presidio and mission in
the Port of Monterey, and also the day of the king, Don Carlos III (que
Dios guarde), the holy sacrifice of the mass was celebrated “in this
little valley, beach of the Port (without the least doubt) of my father
San Francisco.” The men feasted liberally on the mussels which abounded
on the nearby rocks, and which were pronounced large and good, and, in
better spirits than they had been for some time, they took up their
march at one o’clock in the afternoon. Proceeding a short distance up
the beach, they turned into the mountains on their right, and from the
summit beheld the immense estero o brazo del mar. Then descending into
the Cañada de San Andres, they turned to the south and southeast, and
traveling two leagues camped in the cañada at the foot of a hill, very
green with low brush, and having a cluster of oaks at its base. The next
two days they traveled down the cañada, coasting the estero, which they
could not see for the low hills (lomeria) on their left, noting the
pleasant land with its groves of oak, redwood (palo colorado), and
madroño. They saw the tracks of many deer and also of bears. The Indians
met them with friendly offers of black tamales and atole, which were
gladly received by the half-starved Spaniards. They begged the strangers
to go to their rancherías, but the governor excused himself, saying that
he must go forward, and dismissed them with presents of beads and
trinkets. On the 6th, they reached the end of the cañada, which suddenly
turned to the east, and saw that the estero[32] was finished in a
spacious valley. To the cañada they gave the name of San Francisco[33].
Traveling a short distance towards the east, they camped on a deep
arroyo, whose waters came down from the sierra and flowed precipitately
into the estero. They were on the San Francisquito creek, near the site
of Stanford University[34].

Having failed to get through to Point Reyes by the ocean beach route,
Portolá now sent Ortega around by the contra costa giving him four days
in which to explore the country and find the port containing the

Ortega with his exploradores, guided by some friendly Indians from the
neighboring rancherías, set out after noon on November 7th and returned
in the night of the 10th. He reported that he had seen no sign of port
or ship, and was convinced he had not understood the information the
Indians had tried to convey to him, and that the port of Monterey could
not be in advance. They also reported that the country they had seen
towards the north and northeast was impassable for the expedition, for
the reason that the Indians had burned the grass and, in addition, were
hostile and would dispute the passage. They said that they had
encountered another immense estero on the northeast (Carquinez Strait),
which also ran far inland and connected with the one on the southeast,
and that to double it would take many leagues of travel[35].

During the absence of the explorers, the people of the expedition were
compelled for want of meat to eat oak acorns, which caused them much
suffering from indigestion and fever.

Portolá called a council of officers, on November 11th, to determine the
best course to pursue. The decision was unanimous to return to the Point
of Pines and renew the search for the elusive Puerto de Monterey, which
they believed they had left behind. This was at once acted upon, and the
command took up the march in the afternoon of that day, returning by the
route of its coming, and on the 27th camped in sight of the Point of
Pines at a little lake of muddy water. They had partly subsisted on wild
geese which they shot, and on mussels gathered from the rocks of the
coast. The following day, November 28th, they moved across the Point of
Pines and camped in the cañada of the Cármelo, where was plenty of wood
and good water from the river. After giving his men a rest, the governor
sent ten soldiers, under command of Rivera, with six of the Indian
pioneers, who undertook to guide them by the coast trails, with
instructions to thoroughly explore the coast to the south and see if the
Port of Monterey was concealed in some “rincon” of the Sierra de Santa

The exploring party returned on Monday, December 4th, at night. They
were tired out with their travels over the rough mountain trails, and
they reported that no port of Monterey existed south of their camp; that
the mountains belonged to the Sierra de Santa Lucia, and that there was
no passage along the shore.

Vizcaino had said that Monterey was just north of the Sierra de Santa
Lucia. “It is all that can be desired for commodiousness and as a
station for ships making the voyage to the Philippines, sailing whence
they make a landfall on this coast. This port is sheltered from all
winds * * * and is thickly settled with people, whom I found to be of
gentle disposition, peaceable, and docile; * * * they have flax like
that of Castile, and hemp, and cotton,”[36] etc.

The commander knew not what to think. What should be a great port,
protected from all winds, was but an ensenada; what should be the Rio
Cármelo was but an arroyo; what should be great lakes were but
lagunillas; “and where, too, were the people, so intelligent and docile,
who raised flax and hemp and cotton?” Costansó says that in their entire
journey, they found no country so thinly populated, nor any people more
wild and savage than the few natives whom they met here. It is not
strange that Portolá failed to recognize, in the broad ensenada,
Vizcaino’s Famoso Puerte de Monterey.

The situation of the command was becoming very grave. The food supply
was almost gone. They had killed a mule, but only the Indians and the
Catalonians would eat it. The commander called a council of officers, on
December 6th, and told them the condition of affairs. They had not found
the port they had come in search of, he said, and had no hope of finding
it or the vessel that should have succored them; they had but fourteen
half sacks of flour left; winter was upon them, the cold was becoming
excessive, and snow was beginning to fall in the mountains. He invited
free discussion, but postponed the decision until the next day, that all
might have time for reflection. On December 7th, after hearing mass, the
junta again met. Some were for remaining where they were until the
provisions were entirely consumed, and then retreat, relying on the
mules for food during the journey to San Diego; others thought it better
to divide the party, one-half to remain and the other return to San
Diego. Both projects were carefully discussed, and both presented
difficulties. The prevailing sentiment seemed to favor a return, and the
governor announced his determination. They would return to San Diego at
once, he said, for if the snow should close the mountain passes, the
whole expedition would be lost.

A violent storm arose in the afternoon, which lasted until the night of
December 9th, delaying the march.

On Sunday, December 10th, they began the retreat from Monterey. Before
leaving Cármelo Bay, they set up a large cross on a little hill on the
shore of the ensenadita, and on it, cut into the wood, the legend: “Dig;
at the foot you will find a writing.” A message was put into a bottle
and buried at the foot of the cross. It gave the facts of the
expedition, its commander, date of starting, the dates of entering the
channel of Santa Barbara, of passing Point Concepcion, of the passage of
the Santa Lucia mountains, of the sight of Punta de Pinos, of Point
Reyes, etc.

“The expedition desired to reach Point Reyes, but some esteros
intervened which ran far inland, which required a long journey to go
around, and other difficulties (the chief of which was the want of
provisions), made it necessary for us to return, believing that the Port
of Monterey might perhaps be near the Sierra de Santa Lucia, and
thinking that we might have passed it without observing it. We left the
estero of San Francisco on our return on the 11th of November. We passed
the Punta de Año Nuevo on the 19th of said month, and reached the second
time this Port and Ensenada de Pinos on the 27th of the same.”

It states that from that day to this they have made diligent search for
the port of Monterey, but in vain, and now, despairing of finding it,
their provisions nearly gone, they return to San Diego. Then follows the
latitude at various points as observed by Costansó. It requests the
commanders of the San Jose or San Antonio, if they, or either of them,
should be informed of the contents of the letter and the condition of
the expedition, to sail down the coast as near the land as possible,
that the expedition might sight and obtain succor from them.

The march that day was across the Point of Pines, one league and a half,
and they camped on the shore of Monterey Bay, where they erected another
cross with an inscription announcing their departure. On the 11th, they
ascended the Salinas and began to retrace the route of their coming.
They killed many geese, which relieved their necessities somewhat, and
on the 21st were clear of the Santa Lucia mountains. The hungry soldiers
stole flour, and to prevent further theft, the comandante divided the
remainder among them. On the 28th the command was stuck fast in a
mudhole near San Luis Obispo, and were unable to say mass, though it was
a feast day[37]. On January 3d, they passed Point Concepcion. Here,
among the Channel Indians, food was abundant, their severe trials were
over, and the health of the command improved daily. Instead of following
up the Santa Clara river, they crossed the Santa Susana mountains, into
the San Fernando valley, and followed down the Los Angeles river,
crossed the Santa Ana, January 18th, and reached San Diego, January 24,
1770, with the command in good health and without the loss of a man,
“with the merit of having been compelled to eat the flesh of male and
female mules, and with not having found the Port of Monterey, which we
judged to have been filled up by the great sand dunes which were in the
place where we had expected to find it.”[38]

Portolá found a joyful welcome at the little camp at San Diego. Many had
died, and Junípero and Father Parron were just recovering from scurvy.
No tidings were yet received from the San Antonio. The commander made a
careful inventory of supplies, and reserved enough to march to Velicatá
in case the San Antonio did not appear when the remainder should be
exhausted. This, he calculated, would be a little after the middle of
March, and the 20th of that month was fixed as the date of departure,
very much to the disappointment of the priests. On February 11th Rivera
was sent to Velicatá with a guard of nineteen or twenty soldiers, to
bring up the cattle and supplies that had been left there.

After sundown of the day before that appointed for the departure, a sail
appeared in the distance. It was the San Antonio, just in time to
prevent the abandonment of San Diego. She brought abundant supplies, and
Portolá prepared for a second expedition in search of the Port of
Monterey. Captain Vila of the San Carlos declared, when the details of
the search were related to him, that the place where they erected the
second cross was the long-lost Port of Monterey.

On April 16th the San Antonio sailed for Monterey, carrying Junípero,
Costansó, Prat, and a cargo of stores for the new mission. On the 17th,
Portolá set out by land with Fages, twelve Catalan volunteers, seven
soldados de cuera, Crespi, two muleteers, and five natives. At San Diego
was left Vila with his mate and five sailors on the San Carlos, Fathers
Parron and Gomez, with Sergeant Ortega and eight soldados de cuera as
guard, and Rivera arrived in July with over eighty mules laden with
supplies, and one hundred and sixty head of cattle.

Portolá followed the same route that he took on the retreat from
Monterey, and on May 24th arrived at the Ensenada Grande under Punta de
Pinos, near the cross they had erected, December 10th. Selecting a place
for the camp, Portolá took Fages, Crespi, and a soldier for guard, and
went to the cross to see if any vessel had visited the spot. They found
around the cross a ring of arrows stuck in the ground, some of which
were decked with feathers; others had fish and meat attached to them,
while at the foot of the cross was a small pile of shell-fish. As
Portolá, Fages, and Crespi walked along the beach and looked out over
the bay and noted its calm and placid waters, with its swimming seals
and spouting whales, they broke forth with one voice, “This is the Port
of Monterey which we have sought. It is exactly as reported by Sebastian
Vizcaino and Cabrera Bueno.”[39]

Remembering the good water at the camp on the Rio del Cármelo, Portolá
ordered the expedition to Cármelo Bay by direct line, while he, with
Fages and Crespi, proceeded around the Point of Pines. They found it
well covered with pine trees, many of them large enough for masts of a
ship. They also came upon a grove of cypress at a point beyond (Cypress
Point), and arrived at camp after a walk of four good leagues. Here they
awaited the arrival of the San Antonio.

On May 31st the paquebot was sighted near Point Pinos. The soldiers made
signals, to which the ship replied with her guns, and before night had
dropped her anchor in Monterey Bay, which was pronounced by the sailors
to be a most famous port.

On the 3d of June, 1770, under a shelter of branches near the oak where,
in 1602, Vizcaino’s Cármelite friars had celebrated mass, Don Gaspar de
Portolá, with his officers, soldiers, and people of the land expedition,
Fray Junípero Serra and Fray Juan Crespi, Don Juan Perez, captain of the
San Antonio, Don Miguel del Pino, his second in command, together with
the crew, assembled to establish a presidio and mission. The father
president chanted the mass and preached from the Gospel, while the
musical deficiency was made good by repeated discharges from the guns of
the San Antonio and volleys from the muskets of the soldiers. At the
conclusion of the religious ceremonies, Don Gaspar de Portolá, governor
of the Californias, took possession of the country in the name of his
majesty Don Carlos III, King of Spain, and the presidio and mission of
San Carlos de Borromeo de Monterey were founded and established, the
first presidio and second mission in California.

In accord with the orders of the visitador-general, Portolá now
delivered to Lieutenant Fages, as comandante of California, the command
of the new establishments, sailed on the San Antonio, July 9th, for San
Blas, and California knew him no more.

[1] Sierra de Santa Lucia.

[2] Audiencia, the highest judicial body.

[3] The system of encomienda conferred feudal rights upon the
discoverers. The Indians became vassals of Spanish lords.

[4] Vizcaino says he set out on the discovery of the coast of the South
Sea with two ships, a lancha, and a barcoluengo. A lancha was a small
vessel having no deck and but one mast, and propelled by sweeps. Vanegas
calls the vessel a fragata. A barcoluengo, or barcolongo, was a long
open boat.

[5] The second voyage of Vizcaino is of particular interest to
Californians for the reason that the names given by him to the various
geographical features of the coast still remain. The particulars of the
first voyage are taken largely from the publications of the Southern
California Historical Society of documents in the Sutro collection.

[6] Sutro Col. Pub. Southern California Hist. Socy.

[7] Prof. George Davidson identifies the Rio de los Reyes as Rogue River
in 42° 25′.

[8] About Cape San Quintin, the latitude of their northernmost mission.

[9] Instruccion qua ha de observer el Teniente de Infanteria. Dn Pedro
Pages, 5 enero de 1769. Provincial State Papers; i, 38.9, Ms. Spanish
Archives of California.

[10] So-called from the cuera, a leathern jacket worn by them as a
defensive armor.

[11] Out West. March-July, 1902.

[12] Pancakes.

[13] Dead Men’s Point. The name has disappeared from the modern maps,
but is found on all of the old ones. It is the foot of H street where
the cars for the Coronado ferry turn on to the wharf.

[14] I am well aware that this claim will be disputed by one whose study
of original documents and power of analysis make him perhaps the
greatest authority on early California History; but I am nevertheless
prepared to maintain my position.

[15] Carga, 275 lbs.

[16] Hence the presidial soldiers were called Soldados de Cuera and so
distinguished from soldiers of the regular army.

[17] Diario Historico de los viages de Mar y de tierra hichos al norte
de la California. Ms. Original in Sutro Library.

[18] The league is the Spanish league of 5,000 varas. 2.63 miles.

[19] They also gave it the name of Santa Ana, whose day, July 26th,
they had just observed.

[20] Sometimes called the Grand Pardon of Assisi – the great indulgence
of the Franciscans. Originally granted to St. Francis for the Church of
Our Lady of the Angeles of Porciúncula, it was, by apostolic indult,
expanded to accompany the child of St. Francis wherever he may be. It is
enough for him to erect an altar and that altar will be to him St. Mary
of the Angels, and he will there find the Porciúncula of the
revelations. Whoso confesses and receives the sacrament in the church of
Porciúncula is granted plenary remission of his sins in this world and
the next. This indulgence is only for August 2nd – that is, from the
afternoon of August 1st until sunset of August 2nd.

[21] It is to this incident that the city of Los Angeles owes its name.
The full baptismal name of the city is Nuestra Senora La Reina de los
Angeles – Our Lady the Queen of the Angels. It was founded in 1781, by
royal order, the second pueblo established in California.

[22] Ranchería is the name given to an Indian village or town.

[23] The Valley of the Bears.

[24] The diarists applied the word cañada to either a cañon or an open

[25] The word ensenada, much used by the Spanish explorers, means a
bight or open roadstead, not an enclosed and protected bay.

[26] “Transportar en Xamus al Modo que cominan las mujeres en
Andalucia,” Crespi: Palou’s Noticias de la Nueva California, ii. 181.

[27] The names given on this portion of the route have all disappeared,
but are here given as a suggestion to the Ocean Shore Railroad.

[28] The Fleas.

[29] It must be borne in mind that what they called the Bay or Port of
San Francisco was that stretch of water reaching from Point Reyes to
Point San Pedro and later known as the Gulf of the Farallones.

[30] Professor George Davidson says that what was seen by Portolá from
the Montara mountains was the break in the Ballenos cliffs, a deep
narrow valley which runs straight from Ballenos bay to Tomales bay,
fourteen miles.

[31] The Golden Gate and Bay of San Francisco.

[32] The Bay of San Francisco continued to be called the “Estero,” until
some time after Colonel Anza established the presidio and mission of San
Francisco in 1776.

[33] The present name, Cañada de San Andres, was given by Rivera, Nov.
30, 1714.

[34] On November, 1774, Rivera came up the peninsula on an exploring
expedition and on the spot where he had camped with the first expedition
in 1769, he planted a cross to mark the place for a mission. In March,
1776, Col. Juan Bautista de Anza, coming to select sites for the
Presidio and Mission of San Francisco, notes this cross on the bank of
the Arroyo de San Francisco (now San Francisquito creek), about one
hundred paces above the great redwood tree, and says the plan for a
mission there was abandoned because the creek was dry in summer. I note
this explanation because an excellent authority has located Portolá’s
camp on Redwood creek.

[35] I give to Ortega the credit of discovering the Golden Gate and the
Straits of Carquinez. The testimony seems sufficient to me.

[36] Vizcaino to the King, May 23, 1603. Pub. Hist. Socy. of Southern
California, Vol. ii, Part 1.

[37] On the day of the Holy Innocents it was not possible to say mass.
We are sorry for it, because it is the only feast day in all the journey
up to the present that we have been without mass. We are stuck in a mud
hole and are unable to move from the place where we are all wet through,
and it is not possible to make a journada to a plain that is dry for
this is bubbling up water – Crespi, Diario.

[38] Crespi: Diario.

[39] Palou: Noticias de la Nueva California.

Data Regarding Don Gaspar de Portolá After He Left California

E. J. Molera

Portolá and Costansó sailed, on July 9, 1770, for Mexico, to give to the
viceroy an account of their discoveries. Costansó remained in the
capital and took part in several engineering works, among others, the
map of the Valley of Mexico and its drainage. Diligent search instituted
by the writer in Mexico and Spain regarding Portolá’s further history,
has so far discovered little beyond the fact that the commander’s return
to the capital was followed by promotion from Captain to
Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Spanish Army, and his appointment as
Governor of Puebla, February 23, 1777.

In the municipal archives of the city of Puebla, on page 33 of the folio
covering the years 1776-1783, is the following description of Portolá’s
taking possession of the office as Governor of that city and state:

“Possession of Governor Portolá.”

“In the session (meeting of February 23d, 1777), the council saw a royal
title of Political and Military Governor of this city granted by his
Majesty to Señor Don Gaspar de Portolá, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Royal
Army, and also a superior order of his Excellency the Viceroy, Governor,
and Captain General of this New Spain, in which is stated that said
title has been forwarded.”

“The President of the Council, standing and uncovered, took the title in
his hand and kissed it and put it over his head, being a letter from the
king, our master, and said that he would obey and he did obey its
contents and in its provisions it was ordered that Lieutenant-Colonel
Don Gaspar de Portolá be given possession of said office, and for that
purpose, said noble corporation went out with the heralds to bring him
to this hail of sessions, and when he was in, a notary-public having
certified to his identity, he swore to use faithfully and well the
office of Governor, doing justice, punishing, and not burdening the poor
with excessive taxes; to keep and cause to be kept, the rights,
privileges, royal decrees and ordinances, etc.”

“Having signed the oath, the president gave him the cane of Royal
justice, by which the act of possession was completed.”

In the same volume many decrees and ordinances are signed by Portolá as
Governor of Puebla.

That in the year 1779, Portolá was still Governor of Puebla is proved by
two original manuscripts in possession of the writer. One is a circular
official notice to all the head authorities of Mexico, announcing the
death of Viceroy Frey Don Antonio Bucareli y Ursua, and shown herewith;
the other is a letter of Don Gaspar de Portolá, dated April 17th, 1779.

Letter from the Viceroy of New Spain to Don Julian de Arriaga, Giving an
Account of the arrival at San Blas of the Packet Boat San Carlos,
Returning from the Survey of the Port of San Francisco.
Document Obtained from the Archives of the Indies, Seville.

“My Dear Sir:”

“By courier sent to me from San Blas, I have just learned that the royal
packet-boat San Carlos, under command of Lieutenant of the frigate Don
Juan Manual Ayala, which with provisions and goods sailed for the harbor
of Monterey, thence to the port of San Francisco, anchoring on the 6th
inst. at San Blas.”

“In the copies which I send herewith, of the extensive examination made
by this officer and his pilot, Don José Cañizares, your Excellency will
see, in detail, all that was found advantageous, and the news obtained
gives knowledge of all that that vast port contains and the facilities
that is has to invernate[40] vessels. The docility and gentle manners of
the heathen that live in its vicinity inspire hopes in the utility of
the plan, on which I had previously determined, of colonizing this

“The letter of this officer, a copy of which is also enclosed, confirms
everything, extolling the grandeur of the view of the port, the water,
wood, and ballast with which it abounds, and although the climate is
rather cold, it is healthy and free from the fogs found in Monterey.”

“He gives an account of what happened on his return, and praises the
merit of the pilot, Don José Cañizares, in discharging the commission
entrusted to him, and he recommends him to my attention, which I reserve
to that of the King; at the same time recommending to Your Excellency
that you remind His Majesty that this pilot is one of the most useful
that the Department of San Blas has, and that in the voyages he has made
has always shown the same honor, conduct, and intelligence as on the one
just finished with such advantage to the service, because of the
information and knowledge he has shown in the discharge of his duty.”

“For his reward, I consider him worthy of the royal bounty, as well as
Lieutenant of frigate, Don Juan Manuel de Ayala, for his part in such
important work.”

“That the Lord may keep you from harm for many years is my wish.”

“Exm°. Sr.”

“Your most obedient servant who kisses Your Excellency’s hands,”

“Bailio Frey D. Antonio Bucareli y Ursua.”

“Mexico, November 26th, 1775. “
“To His Excellency
Sr. Bailio Frey Don Julian de Arriaga.”

[40] Invernate – to winter.

Causes that Decided the Government of Spain to Send an Expedition by Sea
to Ascertain if there were any Russian Settlements on the Coast of
California, and to Examine the Port of San Francisco.

Father Junípero Serra had difficulty in obtaining from Commandant Fages
the soldiers necessary to found the missions that were projected and
notwithstanding his old age, he decided to go to the capital of Mexico
to lay before the authorities his troubles. He sailed from San Diego in
the mail boat San Carlos October 19, 1772, but, stricken by fever in
Guadalajara, did not reach Mexico till February 16, 1773.

Viceroy Bucareli, then in command of the colony, made the orders he
considered necessary for California, but his orders would have had but
little effect or would have followed the slow process of all official
business, had not an outside incident given them force.

Count de Lacy, then Minister Plenipotentiary of Spain to St. Petersburg,
communicated to the court in Madrid, that the Russians were exploring
the coast of America. He corroborated his statement with copies of the
newspapers of the Russian capital[41]. This news with the corroborating
proofs was sent to Bucareli with the Royal edicts of April 11th and
September 23, 1773.

The result of this information was to give a better organization to the
maritime department of San Blas and better regulations for California.
It was also ordered that a settlement should be made at San Francisco;
that better means of communication be established between San Diego and
Monterey, and that an expedition should be sent to ascertain if the
Russians had made settlements on the coast of California.

[41] Manuel Orozco y Berra, Apuntes Airs. la Historia de la Geografia an
Mexico, Anales del Ministerio de Formento de la Republica Mexicana Tomo
VI, p. 269. Documents in the Archives of the Indies, Seville.

The Log of the San Carlos

Alias Toison De Oro (Golden Fleece)

Under Command of

Lieutenant of Frigate of the Royal Navy Don Juan Manuel de Ayala

From the Port of San Blas to the Port of San Francisco

The First Ship to Enter the Port of San Francisco. Transcript of a
Certified Copy of the Original, now in the Archives of the Indies, at
Seville, Spain[42].

On the 19th of March, 1775, Lieutenant of Frigate, Don Juan Manuel de
Ayala had the schooner under his command anchored near the white rock in
the harbor of San Blas, waiting the sailing of the frigate Santiago to
the west coast of California, when the commander of the expedition, Don
Bruno de Ezeta, ordered him to deliver to Lieutenant of Frigate, Don
Juan de la Bodega y Cuadra, the command of his schooner and take command
of the packet boat, San Carlos, as her captain, Don Miguel Manríque, was
sick and unable to make the voyage. Ayala obeyed the order and waited
until the morning of the 21st, for the return of the launch which
carried his predecessor to San Blas. He made everything ready on board
to follow the frigate and schooner and he asked the commander of the
expedition, Don Bruno de Ezeta, to take in his frigate some brown sugar
and provisions which he could not accommodate in his boat except on deck
where they were liable to be damaged.

At 3 p. m. of the 21st he sailed from the anchorage of San Blas with the
wind east-northeast and on the following day came in sight of Isabela
Island, lying about five miles to the west. On the 23rd he came in sight
of the Maria Islands and saw the frigate and schooner going to the
southeast of the islands, where he lost sight of them. Contrary winds
and calm weather prevented the San Carlos from making any considerable
progress. On the 26th, Ayala sent his pilot to see if he could obtain
some water to replace that which had been consumed[43]. The pilot could
not make a landing and consequently did not obtain any water. On April
2d, he saw Mazatlan and the packetboat Concepcion. The following day he
came near the Concepcion, and the captain informed him that he had on
board the governor of California[44]. From the Concepcion Ayala obtained
six kegs of water. On the 4th of April a serious accident happened to
the commander. When his predecessor was taken sick, he had a number of
loaded pistols. Ayala ordered them placed where they could not injure
anyone. In doing this, one fell and was discharged, the bullet entering
the commander’s foot between the second and third toes, coming out under
the big toe. This accident caused him to keep his bed.

On the 7th of April, Cape San Lucas was seen to the north, distant about
two leagues. On the 8th, Cape San Lucas was seen to the west, about
twelve leagues distant. On account of contrary winds, the progress
northward was very slow. On June 22d, while they were warming some pitch
to calk the launch, it took fire, but was extinguished before great
damage was done. On the same day indications of land were noted and some
whales were seen, which the sailors say is the first sign of land. On
the following day they saw some seals, which, according to the sailors,
was the second sign of land. On the 24th, they saw some ducks, which,
they say, is proof positive of land being near. On the same day land was
sighted at 4 p. m.; the North Farallones of San Francisco were seen to
the north and Point Año Nuevo to the southeast. At 7 p. m., the South
Farallones were seen at a distance of about two leagues to the
northeast. The variation of the needle was observed and found to be 13°

Next day, at 9 a. m., the fog having lifted, land was seen and Point Año
Nuevo was recognized to the northwest about three leagues distant. At
noon the sun’s altitude was taken, and the latitude found to be 36° 58′.
At 3 p. m. they took bearings to make Point Pinos, but this point could
not be seen on account of the fog. At 4 p. m. the fog lifted, and at 5
p. m. they saw the point which protects the harbor of Monterey. The
variation of the needle was observed and found to be 12° 58′ E. They had
some difficulty in finding good anchorage, but finally did so on a sandy

On the 26th of June, Commander Ayala sent his launch on shore with mail
and documents, and on its return the vessel was made fast.

Ayala remained in the harbor of Monterey till July 26th, during which
time he unloaded his cargo, took ballast, water, and fuel, mended sails
and repaired the ship, which needed it badly, the sixth board under
water at the poop having to be replaced for a length of one and one-half

He got ready to start for the newly-discovered Port of San Francisco.

Starting from the shelter of Monterey, situated at latitude 36°° 33′,
longitude 16° 45′ W. of San Blas to the newly-discovered Port of San
Francisco, July 26, 1775.

That day it was impossible to sail on account of the wind coming from a
contrary direction.

On July 27th, the launch towed the San Carlos until she came to the
range of a southwest wind and sailed in a northwest direction[45]. At
noon Point Pinos was seen bearing south 13° distant five miles; at 3 p.
m. it had disappeared from view. Very soon after, Point Año Nuevo came
in sight and the land adjoining it, about four or five miles distant.
From July 28th to August 3d, little progress was made on account of
contrary winds from the northwest. On August 3d, at 1 p. m., land was
seen to the east 1/4 northeast, distant about twelve leagues. It was
found to be Point Año Nuevo. At 7 p. m. another point came into view
bearing north 1/4 northeast, distant about twelve leagues, which was
considered to be Point Reyes. At 10 p. m., the wind being northwest, the
San Carlos steered west-southwest and continued in that course until 8
a. m. of the 4th, when the bearing was changed to the north-northeast.
At noon the sun’s altitude was taken and the latitude was found to be
37° 11′, and longitude 17° 51′ W. of San Blas. At 6 p. m., August 4th,
the southernmost Farallon of the Port of San Francisco was seen to the
northwest, distant about eight leagues. The land to the north was Point
Reyes, bearing 4° W., distant about fourteen leagues. At half past
eleven, considering the coast was near, the course was changed to the
south-southwest, until 3 a. m. of August 5th, when it was changed again
to the north-northeast 5° north to bring the ship at sunrise to the
point it was at sunset of the day before. At 5 a. m. four of the
Farallones of San Francisco were seen to the north-northwest, distant
four leagues. Point Año Nuevo was southeast 1/4 east from twelve to
fourteen leagues and Point Almejas northeast 4° east, distant three
leagues. At 8 a. m., being near land, commander Ayala lowered the
launch, and in it Pilot Cañizares was sent with ten men to search for an
anchorage, while the San Carlos continued along the coast. At 9 a. m. a
strong current was felt, which drove them to sea, but at eleven it was
observed that the vessel was nearing the coast, which convinced the
commander that it was due to the tide, and this was confirmed by the
soundings; in entering the port, as on the first occasion, the tide was
going out, and on the second one the tide was coming in. The altitude of
the sun was taken at noon of that day, with the utmost care, and the
latitude was found to be 37° 42′ and the longitude 17° 14′ W. of San
Blas. At this time Point Año Nuevo was about fourteen leagues distant to
the southeast south; the Farallones to the northwest, distant four
leagues, and Point Reyes north 1/4 northeast, distant four leagues. The
wind was from the west. At 4 p. m. the vessel was steered to the
north-northeast, and half an hour later soundings were taken and bottom
found at sixteen brazas[46] of mud and sand mixed, and distant from the
mouth about two leagues. At 5 p. m. bottom was found at fifteen brazas,
with the same kind of bottom material. Sounding was continued and the
bottom was found to be as noted in the large map. The current was so
great at the mouth of this port that at 8:30 p. m., with a strong wind
from the west-southwest with full sails, the current allowed them to go
not more than a mile and a half per hour, which shows that the current
must go at least six miles at the middle of the channel. The swiftness
of the current, the fact that the launch had not returned and that night
was coming on, made it necessary to seek for an anchorage; this was done
with great care and precaution; as the force of the wind made it
necessary to have full sail, it was feared that some of the rigging
might give way. For that reason, soundings were taken continually with a
20-lb. lead, and a line of sixty brazas could not reach bottom, either
in the channel or near the point. This seemed very strange until it was
realized that the current was carrying the lead and it did not strike
bottom. They continued thus until they were one league inside the mouth
of the bay and a quarter of a mile from the shore, when the wind
suddenly stopped. Finding that the current was carrying the ship towards
the mouth, an anchor was thrown overboard, after having made it fast to
the big mast so that if it did not catch the bottom it would not be
lost. It was found that the anchor held. Two more anchors were made
ready to drop in case the big one should drag. When the wind stopped and
the current ceased, the vessel was found to be in twenty-two brazas,
with sandy bottom[47].

At 6 a. m. of August 6, the launch, which had not been seen since sunset
the day before, came to the vessel. The pilot was asked why he had not
come to meet the ship when he saw her sailing shoreward looking for the
entrance of the bay, answered that at 6 p. m. he had seen a suitable
harbor for the packet-boat to the east of the entrance, and when he
attempted to go out the whirlpools and eddies caused by the current were
such that it was impossible to make any progress, as the current carried
him back towards the shore, so that he determined to stay in the harbor
he had attempted to leave. This, and the fact that the men were fired
out, made him wait until 4 a. m., when he again attempted to go out,
with the same result as before. During his efforts to get out, he saw
the packet-boat, and putting the bow towards her he had no difficulty in
reaching her.

At 7 a. m., the commander sent the pilot to examine a harbor which was
to the west-northwest. He found it useless, because, though it had
sufficient water, the bottom was sticky mud. As Ayala was not in need of
shelter then, he did not enter that harbor, as he was afraid of losing
his anchor in the mud, and also because it was open from the south to
the east, although the wind came from the landward which was about two
leagues from the harbor[48]. He called this harbor “Carmeita,” because
in it was a rock resembling a friar of that order. There was in its
vicinity an Indian village, the inhabitants of which came out from their
huts and cried out and made signs for the vessel to go near them. As the
sailors were taking soundings and came near the shore, the Indians
erected a pole, at the top of which was a large number of feathers. The
sailors having no orders to answer them, remained at a distance from the
shore. The Indians, thinking, no doubt, that the sailors were afraid of
them, endeavored to assure them by dropping their bows to the ground,
and after describing a circle in the air with the arrows stuck them in
the sand. The launch came on board again, and soon after, the Indians,
from a point of land near the vessel, talked to the sailors with loud
cries, and although their voices were heard distinctly, they could not
be understood for want of an interpreter. At 9 the launch was sent again
to another harbor to the north, which seemed to be better sheltered and
to have better anchorage[49]. It was so, and when the launch returned at
10, the pilot stated that he found bottom at eight to fourteen brazas,
and the bottom was sticky with mud. At 3 p. m. the vessel sailed towards
the place examined, but a strong current prevented her reaching it. It
was then decided to anchor in fifteen brazas, sandy bottom, and they
stayed there all night, during which time the vessel moved on account of
the bad quality of the anchors.

On the 7th, at 9 a. m., the vessel was started towards a large and
fine-looking harbor which seemed commodious. Soundings were taken, and
the bottom was found at twelve to fourteen brazas. It had been decided
to go to the end of it, but the tide was contrary and it was necessary
to return to the vessel at 1 p. m. Indians from the shore were calling
to the men with loud cries, and the commander decided to send the launch
with the priest, the pilot, and armed men, with orders that they must
not molest the Indians but treat them well and make them presents, for
which purpose the commander gave the men beads and other trinkets and
ordered them to observe good precaution, so that in case the Indians
showed fight they could easily return to the launch, where four armed
men must always remain to protect the retreat. It is true that from the
day when intercourse was first had with the Indians, it was seen how
affable and hospitable they were, showing the greatest desire for the
Spaniards to go to their village, where, they said, they could eat and
sleep. They had already prepared on shore a meal of pinole, bread from
their corn, and tomales of the same. During the time the Spaniards were
with the Indians, they found that the latter repeated the Spanish words
with great facility, and by signs the Spaniards asked the Indians to go
on board the packet boat, but the Indians, also by signs, signified that
until the Spaniards should visit their village, they could not go on
board. After a little while the Spaniards returned to the boat and the
Indians disappeared.

On the 8th, the pilot, with men, was sent in the launch to explore the
bay, and on the 9th returned and made his report.

On the 12th the launch was lowered to look for a better anchorage near
Angel Island, which is the largest in this bay, and many good places
were found. It was also thought a good idea to examine another island,
which was found to be very steep and barren and would not afford shelter
even for the launch. This island was called “Alcatraz”[50] on account of
the abundance of those birds that were on it.

On the 13th the vessel moved to another anchorage with nine brazas of
water at pistol shot of the land. On the 21st, the first pilot, Don José
de Cañizares, returned from an expedition on which he had been sent a
few days before and made his report. On the same day, the second pilot,
Don Juan B. Aguirre, went, with fresh men, in the launch to try to find
the party which the commander of the presidio had promised to send to
San Francisco by land. The second pilot did not see the party, but
explored an estero which enters the land about twelve leagues[51].

On the 23d fifteen Indians came on a raft and were taken on board, where
they were entertained and given something to eat. They learned how to
ask for bread in Spanish.

From this day to the 6th of September, the explorations of the Bay of
San Francisco continued, and first pilot Don José de Cañizares was
instructed to make his report and the map of the bay.

On September 7th an attempt was made to go to sea for the return voyage,
but the rudder was injured by a submerged rock on which the current had
carried the vessel.

From this day to September 18th, the time was passed in repairing the
rudder and making preparations for the return voyage, which took place
on that day, going to Monterey, where they arrived the following day.

In order to make the necessary repairs to the ship and pass the equinox
in good shelter, the San Carlos remained in the harbor of Monterey till
October 13, 1775, when she started for San Blas, where she arrived on
November 6th of the same year.

[42] This is a summary of the document. A full translation would be too
tedious for a work of this kind.

[43] On the Tres Marias Islands.

[44] Don Pedro Fages. Commandante of California, who had been recalled.

[45] Bancroft. Hist. of Cal., says Ayala sailed from Monterey, July
24th. That was to make the sailing fit the Bancroft theories.

[46] Braza – Fathom: Six feet.

[47] Ayala anchored inside Port Point – the Presidio anchorage.

[48] Richardson’s Bay.

[49] Angel Island.

[50] Alcatraz – Pelican

[51] The Southern portion of the bay.

Report of Don Juan Manuel de Ayala Commander of the Packet Boat San
Carlos to Don Antonio Maria Bucareli Viceroy of New Spain On the
Examination of the Port of San Francisco

Your Excellency: – I have finished the orders under which I took command
of the San Carlos, returning to this port of San Blas today, November
6th, after having visited the ports of Monterey and San Francisco.

Although Your Excellency will see in the account of my examination,
together with the pilot, Don José Cañizares’ report of his examination
and the map he made of this port, the nature of the work done. I will,
notwithstanding in this, give a brief account, that shows the port of
San Francisco to be one of the best that I have seen on this coast from
Cape Horn.

After one hundred and one days of navigation, I arrived at the harbor of
Monterey, where I had to remain till July 27th, discharging the cargo
and making some repairs necessary for the safety of my vessel. On July
27th, I started in search of the Port of San Francisco, where I arrived
on the night of August 5th. I remained there forty-four days, inspecting
by myself, or by my pilot, with all possible accuracy, everything that
pertains to this matter.

It is true that this port is good, not only for the beautiful harmony
that offers to the view, but because it does not lack very good fresh
water, wood, and ballast in abundance. Its climate though cold, is
healthful and free from those troublesome fogs which we had daily in
Monterey, because the fogs here hardly reach the entrance of the port,
and once inside the harbor, the weather is very clear. To these many
advantages is to be added the best: and this is that the heathen Indians
around this port are so constant in their good friendship and so gentle
in their manners, that I received them with pleasure on board several
times, and I had the sailors frequently visit with them on land; so that
from the first to the last day, they remained the same in their
behavior. This made me present them with trinkets, beads, and biscuit;
the last they learned to ask for clearly in our language.

There is no doubt that this good friendship was a great comfort to us,
enabling us to make with less fear the reconnaissance that was ordered
of me. Although in a letter written by Your Excellency to my
predecessor, Don Miguel Manrique, dated January 2d, I read that it was
possible we might find in San Francisco the land expedition undertaken
by Captain Don Juan de Anza; I did not on that account refuse the offer
of another small land expedition which the Captain of Monterey, Don
Fernando de Rivera, made me. I did not see either of them while I
remained in that port, but I did not, on that account, postpone the
reconnaissance. I could not do all of this in person, because I was
convalescing from a serious wound in my right foot, received April 3d by
the accidental discharge of a double-barrel pistol, which Don Miguel
Manrique had left loaded in the cabin. Notwithstanding this, I am
satisfied that Don José Cañizares executed with his usual ability
everything I entrusted to his care. I therefore state to Your Excellency
(in order that the merit of his work may not be ignored), that as long
as he was with me, he acted not only with his usual honesty, but showed
such great talent in his profession that in the midst of my troubles I
found him one to entrust with the more delicate points of my duty.

On September 7th, I decided to leave the Port of San Francisco, as I
considered the reconnaissance completed, and in doing this, having no
wind, I was carried by the strong current against some rocks, injuring
the rudder and breaking two female and one male bolts. This obliged me
to enter a cove, where I repaired as well as possible the accident, and
again tried to sail forth, a light breeze from the north (the only one I
noticed in the forty-four days) aiding the sailing. On the 18th, because
the rudder was injured, and those who had been on this coast before had
warned me that at this time of year the weather was very severe, I
determined to pass the Equinox at Monterey, and arrived there on the
19th. At this port I found the frigate Santiago. The schooner came
October 7th, and I left for San Blas on the 13th, where I am sick of my
foot, but always desirous to obey Your Excellency.

I pray the Lord to keep the life of Your Excellency many years.

San Blas, November 9, 1775.

Juan Manuel de Ayala.

To His Excellency, Bailio Frey Don Antonio Maria Bucareli.

Description of the Newly-discovered Port of San Francisco

Situated in Latitude 37° 53′ North, Longitude 17° 10′ West of San Blas

Lieutenant Don Juan Manuel Ayala

Placed about two leagues west-southwest of Point Almejas[52], latitude
37° 42′, the following is to be seen: First that it[53] is large, with
two red barrancas[54], and second, that to the north there are three
white rocks at a stone’s throw[55]. From that point the coast runs
north-northeast, forming a small harbor in which there are five
submerged rocks close to its shore; above it some white barrancas[56],
ending in a sloping bill which top, to the north, is what is called
Angel Point[57]. This has near it several rocks[58], the furtherest one
a gunshot distant. From this point there is a harbor sufficient to
accommodate any vessel[59], not only on account of its bottom, but because
it is sheltered from all winds excepting those from the west-southwest.
The middle of this harbor is to the northwest, where a copious creek
empties[60]; the point runs northeast 1/4 east. This harbor, with the one
inside of it, which I called San Jose[61], has been found very good,
with the prevailing winds from the south to the northwest.

From Pt. Almejas to the northwest 1/4 west, four Farallones are seen,
distant about four leagues. The one southernmost looks like a
sugar-loaf. To the northwest 1/4 north, at a distance of about twelve
leagues, a mountain[62] is seen which ends in a low point. According to
the records of Sebastian Vizcaino and coast pilot of Cabrera Bueno, this
is the one called Point Reyes. From this point the coast runs
east-southeast in the shape of a half-moon, open to all winds of the
third quarter and ending in two barrancas at the foot of which a low
point comes out with two submerged rocks. This point was called
Santiago[63], and, with one called Angel de la Guarda, forms the mouth
of the channel of the entrance of the port[64]. Following this shore in
a northeast direction, another harbor is to be found within three small
rocks near the shore which, in case of necessity, may shelter any
vessel. This harbor[65] ends on the north with a large, steep, and
broken point, at the foot of which there is a white farallon to which
and to the point I gave the name of San Carlos[66], and with Point San
José, which is distant about half a league, forms the entrance of this
famous port. It is to be borne in mind that any vessel that enters or
leaves this port must take the precaution not to come near San Carlos
Point, because in this place exist violent whirlpools which make useless
the rudder, but must take the middle of the channel or sail near the
shores of San José Point.

To the northeast 1/4 north of the middle of the entrance, an island[67]
is seen, distant about one and a half leagues. This island divides the
water of the flood in two channels in which a vessel may anchor,
especially in the one that runs northeast 1/4 north near the island
where water and wood are to be found in abundance. The vicinity of the
island is such good anchorage that a vessel can anchor within a
pistol-shot of the shore.

To the east-northeast of Point San José there is a sheltered harbor,
landlocked, with bottom which diminishes gradually to the shore, where
water and some wood are to be found[68]. In this harbor there is no
current, and for that reason, and because it is so near the point I
consider, it one of the best anchorages.

Once Points San José and San Carlos have been passed, and taking care to
leave at one side the principal channel, an anchorage can be made at any
place, because it is sheltered from all winds; the only thing to avoid
is the current, which in the principal channel is five miles, and in its
branches three miles.

This report was made to me by Pilot Don José Cañizares, to whom I
entrusted the examination of the port, because I was seriously sick.

[52] Pt. San Pedro.

[53] That is: Pt. Almejas or Pt. San Pedro.

[54] Barranca: The dictionary definition is a ravine or gulch, but it
also means a high bluff or cliff and in that sense is used by these

[55] i. e.: from Pt. Almejas.

[56] Cliff Rouse Rocks.

[57] Punta del Angel de la Guarda – Point Lobos.

[58] Seal Rocks.

[59] Bakers Beach.

[60] Lobos Creek.

[61] i. e.: Inside of Point San Jose – Fort Point.

[62] Tamalpais

[63] Point Bonita. The present name was given it in 1776.

[64] Golden Gate Strait.

[65] i. e.: The outer harbor; outside of the Golden Gate.

[66] Lime Point.

[67] Angel Island.

[68] The Presidio anchorage.

Reconnaissance of the Port of San Francisco, with Map

Report of the Pilot Don José de Cañizares to Commander Don Juan de Ayala

Translation of a Certified Copy of the Original in the Archives of the
Indies at Seville.

Dear Captain: – During the four times that I made reconnaissance of
this Port, and made its map, I found at the northeast and
north-northeast what is shown on the map and I here describe. To the
north-northeast of Angel Island, distant about a mile, there is a bay
running in a direction north-northwest to south-southwest. The distance
between the points forming said bay, is about two leagues, and the shore
line is about two and a half leagues. To the northwest of the shore
there are three small islands, forming between them and the shore a
narrow passage of shallow water closed to the southwest. This bay is all
surrounded with hills with few trees, which are mostly laurel and oak,
but at a distance to the west-northwest, is visible a wood of what seems
to be pines. In the middle of this bay is standing a high farallon with
submerged rocks around it. On the northeast of it there is sufficient
water for anchorage, as is shown on the map. There is no doubt of its
being good anchorage for vessels, provided they have good cables and
anchors, for they are subject to great stress because of the current,
which at this point, cannot be less than four miles an hour[69].

North-northeast of said bay there is a mouth about two miles wide, where
there are four small white rocks, the two north ones with the two south
ones[70] form a channel of nine brazas depth. From this, one passes to
another bay[71] more spacious, the diameter of which is about eight
leagues, its shape a perfect isosceles triangle; its mouth is divided
into two channels, – one, on the side of the southwest coast, turns to
the northwest at about the distance of a mile and ends in two large
harbors which are situated in the same shore at about four league’s
distance from the mouth that communicates with the first bay; from the
northwest point of the furthest harbor to the north of it, distant about
one and a half leagues, in turning a point to the west-northwest, a
large body of water[72] is seen, which I did not examine because the
channel which leads to it is extremely limited, its depth not having
three codos[73] of water; from here to the east-northeast follows a
low-lying island, just above the water level, ending in a division made
by the hills[74]. The other channel, which is roomy and deep, runs
directly in a northeast direction till it reaches the division of the
hills through a cañon that runs in the same direction.

All the bay, which is called the round bay (Bahia Redondo), though it is
not shaped that way, is surrounded with steep hills, without trees,
excepting two spots on the slopes fronting the two harbors to the
southwest. The rest of it is arid, rugged, and of a melancholic aspect.
Outside of the channels there is in this bay about five codos of water,
and at low tide two and a half, and in some places it is dry. It is not
difficult to enter this bay, but going out will be difficult on account
of the wind from the southwest. After a careful examination of its
shore, I did not find any fresh water or any signs of it. Standing in
the cañon, which is to the northeast, there is a channel[75] a mile and
a half wide, deep and clear. East of its entrance there is a ranchería
of about four hundred souls. I had dealings with them, but did not buy
anything, though I presented them with beads, which you had given me for
that purpose, and some old clothing of mine. Their acquaintance was
useful to my men and to me, as they presented us with exquisite fishes
(amongst them salmon), seeds, and pinole. I had opportunity of visiting
them four times and found them always as friendly as the first time,
noticing in them polite manners, and what is better, modesty and
retirement in the women. They are not disposed to beg, but accept with
good will what is given them, without being impertinent, as are many
others I have seen during the conquest. This Indian village has some
scows or canoes, made of tule, so well constructed and woven that they
caused me great admiration. Four men get in them to go fishing, pushing
with two-ended oars with such speed that I found they went faster than
the launch. These were the only Indians with whom I had communication in
this northern part.

Following said channel a distance to the west from its mouth, there is a
harbor, so commodious, accessible, abundant in fresh water and wood, and
sheltered from all winds, that I considered it one of the best inland
ports that our Sovereign has for anchoring a fleet of vessels. I called
it Puerto de la Asumpta, having examined it the day of the festivity of
that saint[76].

To the southeast of this port[77] the cañon continues, until it joins
the channel of the Indian village. Following a distance of three leagues
in an east-northeast direction, it enters another bay[78] with a depth
of thirteen brazas, diminishing to four where some rivers[79] empty and
take the saltiness of the water which there becomes sweet, the same as
in a lake. The rivers come, one from the east-northeast (this is the
largest, about two hundred and fifty yards wide), the other, which has
many branches, comes from the northeast through tulares and swamps in
very low land, the channels not over two brazas with sandy bars at their
mouths, where I found in sounding the water not more than a half braza.
This made me think they were not navigable, especially as on the second
occasion I entered them, I touched bottom both in the channels and on
the bars. The bay where these rivers empty, is another port larger than
the Asumpta, where any vessel may enter, but it would be difficult to
obtain wood, which is far from the shore. All the eastern coast is
covered with trees; that to the west is arid, dry, full of grasshoppers,
and impossible of settlement. This is all I have reconnoitered to the
north of Angel Island. To the southeast of said island following the
estero is as follows:

To the east of this island, at a distance of about two leagues, there is
another, steep and barren, without any shelter, which divides the mouth
of the channel in two[80], through which the sea enters to a distance of
about twelve leagues. The width of this channel is in some parts, one,
two, and three leagues; its depth is not over four brazas, its width
ample, but a pistol shot outside of the channel; its depth is not over
two brazas. The extreme end of this sound, eastward, forms with a point,
a pocket, which, at low tide is nearly dry[81]. In every part there are
seen poles driven in (the mud), with black feathers, bunches of tule,
and little shells, which I believe are buoys for fishing, since they are
in the water. I think it will be impossible to anchor for three leagues
inside of this slough, because it is so exposed to the weather that
strong cables and good anchorage are needed to hold against the strong
current from the north.

The northeast part of this slough is surrounded by high hills, and has
in its mouth a thick wood of oaks, and at the other end groves of thick
redwood trees. At the southwest of the coast is a small slough,
navigable only by launches[82], and on the coast two harbors[83] where
vessels can anchor. On the more eastern one there is an Indian village,
rough, like the ones in Monterey. This part seems to have better places
for missions, though I did not examine it except from a distance.

All the above stated in this report is what I observed, saw, surveyed,
and sounded, during the days, in which by your orders, I went to the
reconnoitering of this Port of San Francisco in its interior; and as
proof of it, I sign it in this new Port of San Francisco, at the shelter
of Angel Island, on September 7th, 1775.

José de Cañizares.

[69] This is the body of water between Pt. San Pedro, Pt. San Pablo, Pt.
Richmond and Tiburon Peninsula. The high farallon is Red Rock.

[70] The rocks are The Sisters and The Brothers.

[71] San Pablo Bay.

[72] Napa Slough. The marsh was evidently under water, and island number
one, with Mare Island, made one long island.

[73] Codo – 1 1/2 feet.

[74] Mare Island. The division of the hills or cañon is Carquines

[75] Carquines Straits.

[76] The Assumption of the Virgin – August 15th. It is Southampton bay.

[77] That is, from Puerto de la Asumpta.

[78] Suisun Bay.

[79] The Sacramento and San Joaquin. Suisun Bay was long known as Puerto
Dulce – Freshwater Port.

[80] Yerba Buena or Goat Island. Cañizaries marked it on the map (c) for
isla do Alcatraces, but that evidently was a mistake, as a comparison of
the entry in the Log under date of August 12, with the map will show.

[81] Oakland and Berkeley tide flats.

[82] Islais creek.

[83] Yerba Buena cove and Mission bay.

Index of Places

Alcatraz Island
Almejas, El Rincon de las
Almejas, Punta del
Angel Island
Angel Point
Año Nuevo, Punta de
Arroyo de San Francisco
Arroyo Seco
Baker’s Beach
Ballenas Bay
Bonita, Point
California, Baja
California, Gulf of
Cañada do los Osos
Cañada do San Andres
Cármelo, Pt
Cármelo, bay
Cármelo, Rio del
Carquines, strait
Cerralbo, Bay of
Columbia river
Concepcion, Laguna de la
Concepcion, Point
Drake’s Bay
El Buchon
El Oso Flaco
Farallones de San Francisco
Farallones, Gulf of
Fort Point
Golden Gate
Golden Gate, strait
Guadalupe, lake
Islais creek
Jesus de los Temblores, Rio de
La Paz, Bay of
La Paz, port of
Lime Point
Lobos creek
Loreto, presidio of
Los Angeles, City of
Los Angeles, river
Napa slough
Mare Island
Mendocino, Cape
Mission bay
Montara mountains
Monterey, Bay of
Monterey, Port of
Monterey, presidio and mission of
Muertos, Punta de los
Navidad, Puerto de
Oakland Flats
Pájaro, Rio del
Pedernales, Point
Philippine Islands
Pilar Point
Pinos, Punta de
Porciúncula, Indulgence
Puerto Dulce
Punta del Angel de la Guarda
Presidio anchorage
Reyes, Punta de los
Reyes, Rio de los
Richardson’s bay
Red Rock
Ross, Fort
San Blas
San Buenaventura, mission of
San Carlos, Point
San Clemente, island
San Corpóforo, cañon
San Diego
San Diego, bay
San Diego, Founding of mission
San Diego, presidio of
San EIizario, Rio de
San Fernando, valley
San Francisco, Bahia ó Puerto de
San Francisco, Bay of
San Francisco, Port of
San Francisco, creek
San Gabriel, valley
San Joaquin river
San Jose, Point
San Juan Capistrano, mission of
San Lorenzo, Rio de
San Luis Obispo
San Luis Rey, mission of
San Miguel (island)
San Nicolas, Isla de
San Pablo bay
San Pedro bay
San Pedro Point
San Pedro valley
Santa Ana, Rio de
Santa Barbara Channel
Santa Barbara Isla de
Santa Barbara presidio of
Santa Catalina, island
Santa Clara, river
Santa Inez, river
Santa Lucia, Sierra de
Santa Maria, mission of
Santa Rosa, river
Santa Susana, Sierra de
Sacramento, river
Sal, Point
Salines, river
Santiago, Point
Seal Rocks
Suisun bay
Tamalpais, mountain
The Brothers (rocks)
The Sisters (rocks)
Tomales bay
Yerba Buena cove

Index of Persons

Aguilar, Martin
Aguirre, Juan B.
Alvarado, Juan Bautista
Amador, Pedro
Anza, Juan Bautista de
Arriaga, Julian de
Ayala, Juan Manuel
Bancroft, H. H.
Bodega y Quadra, Juan de la
Bolaños, Francisco
Bucareli, Antonio Maria
Bueno, Cabrera
Cabrillo, Juan Rodrigues
Cañizares, José
Carrillo, José Raimundo
Cermeñon, Sebastian
Coronado, Francisco Vasquez
Cortes, Hernando
Corvan, Toribio Gomez de
Costansó, Miguel
Cota, Pablo de
Crespi, Juan
Davidson, George
De Gali, Francisco
De Soto, Hernando
Drake, Francis
Estorace, Jorge
Fages, Pedro
Ferrelo, Bartolomé
Figueroa, Rodriga de
Fletcher, Francis
Galvez, José de
Gomez, Fray Francisco
Griffin, George Butler
Heceta, Bruno de
Jiminez (Fortun)
Laut, Agnes C.
Legaspi, Miguel Lopez de
Lummis, Chas. F.
Maldonado, Gabriel
Manrique, Miguel
Mendoza, Antonio de
Monterey, Conde de
Morgana, Juan de
Oliveros, José Ignacio
Ortega, José Francisco
Palou, Fray Francisco
Perez, Juan
Parron, Fray Fernando
Pino, Miguel del
Portolá, Gaspar de
Prat, Pedro
Rivera y Moncada, Fernando de
Salcedo, Felipe
Serra, Fray Junípero
Soberanes, José Maria
Vancouver, Captain George
Velasco, Luis de
Vila, Vicente
Vizcaino, Fray Juan
Vizcaino, Sebastian
Yorba, José Antonio
Zúñiga y Asevedo, Gaspar de