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The March of Portola and the Discovery of the Bay of San Francisco   By: (1846-1915)

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By Zoeth S. Eldredge

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


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

Introduction 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... Continue reading book >>

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