The Californias

Last updated
The Californias

Las Californias
Map of the Californias (modern region).png
Country
  • Mexico
  • United States
U.S. states California
Mexican states Baja California
Baja California Sur
Principal cities
Area
  Total569,329 km2 (219,819 sq mi)
Population
  Total43,636,740
  Density77/km2 (200/sq mi)
Time zones UTC-8 (Pacific Standard Time)
  Summer (DST) UTC-7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
UTC-7 (Mountain Standard Time)
  Summer (DST) UTC-6 (Mountain Daylight Time)

The Californias (Spanish: Las Californias), occasionally known as the Three Californias [1] [2] [3] [4] or Two Californias, [5] [6] [7] are a region of North America spanning the United States and Mexico and consisting of the U.S. state of California and the Mexican states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. [8] [9] [10] [11] Historically, the term "The Californias" was used to define the vast northwestern region of Spanish America, as the Province of the Californias (Spanish : Provincia de las Californias), and later as a collective term for Alta California and the Baja California Peninsula. [12] [13]

Contents

Originally a single, vast entity within the Spanish Empire, as the Californias became defined in their geographical limits, their administration was split various times into Baja California (Lower California) and Alta California (Upper California), especially during the Mexican control of the region, following the Mexican War of Independence. As a part of the Mexican–American War (1846–48), the American Conquest of Alta California saw the vast Alta California territory ceded from Mexico to the United States. The populated coastal region of the territory was Admitted into the Union in 1850 as the State of California, while the vast, sparsely-populated interior region would only later gain statehood as Nevada, Utah, and large parts of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Today, "The Californias" is a collective term to refer to the American and Mexican states bearing the name California, which share geography, history, cultures, and strong economic ties. [14] [15]

Etymology

There has been understandable confusion about use of the plural The Californias by Spanish colonial authorities. California historian Theodore Hittell offered the following explanation:

In very early times, while the country was supposed to be an island or rather several islands, it was commonly known by the plural appellation of "Las Californias" (The Californias). Afterwards, when its peninsular character was ascertained, it was called simply California; but the territory so designated was unlimited in extent. When the expeditions for the settlement of San Diego and Monterey marched, it was understood that they were going, not out of California, but into a new part of it. The peninsula then began to be generally spoken of as Antigua or Old California and the unlimited remainder as Nueva or New California, subsequently more commonly called Alta or Upper California. At the same time the old plural name of The Californias was revived, but with a more definite signification than before. [16]

History

The Californias
Las Californias
Province of New Spain
1767–1804
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg
Flag
Coat of arms of Californias.svg
Coat of arms
Map of the Californias (historical region).png
The Californias within the Viceroyalty of New Spain
Capital Loreto
(1768–1777)
Monterey (1777–1804)
Government
  TypeColonial government
Gobernadores  
 1767–1770
Gaspar de Portolá
(first)
 1800–1804
José Joaquín de Arrillaga
(last)
History 
 Established
1767
 Divided into Alta and Baja California provinces
1804
Succeeded by
Alta California Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg
Baja California Province Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg
Today part ofFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico

The first attempted Spanish occupation of California was by the Jesuit missionary Eusebio Kino, in 1683. His Misión San Bruno failed, however, and it wasn't until 1697 that Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó was successfully established by another Jesuit, Juan María de Salvatierra. The mission became the nucleus of Loreto, first permanent settlement and first administrative center of the province. The Jesuits went on to found a total of 18 missions in the lower two-thirds of the Baja California Peninsula.

Province of New Spain

A New Map of North America, produced in London following the 1763 Treaty of Paris, five years before the establishment of the Province of the Californias. Note the name "California" placed on the Baja California Peninsula. New Map of North America (1763).JPG
A New Map of North America, produced in London following the 1763 Treaty of Paris, five years before the establishment of the Province of the Californias. Note the name "California" placed on the Baja California Peninsula.

In 1767, the Jesuits were expelled from the missions, and Franciscans were brought in to take over. Gaspar de Portolá was appointed governor to supervise the transition. At the same time, a new visitador, José de Gálvez, was dispatched from Spain with authority to organize and expand the fledgling province. [17]

The more ambitious province name, Las Californias, was established by a joint dispatch to the King from Viceroy de Croix and visitador José de Gálvez, dated January 28, 1768. Gálvez sought to make a distinction between the Antigua ('old') area of established settlement and the Nueva ('new') unexplored areas to the north. At that time, almost the only explored and settled areas of the province were around the former Jesuit missions but, once exploration and settlement of the northern frontier began in earnest, the geographical designations Alta ('upper') and Baja ('lower') gained favor.

The single province was divided in 1804, into Alta California province and Baja California province. [18] By the time of the 1804 split, the Alta province had expanded to include coastal areas as far north as what is now the San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. state of California. Expansion came through exploration and colonization expeditions led by Portolá (1769), his successor Pedro Fages (1770), Juan Bautista de Anza (1774–76), the Franciscan missionaries and others. Independent Mexico retained the division but demoted the former provinces to territories, due to populations too small for statehood.

Department of Mexico

In 1836, the designation Las Californias was revived, reuniting Alta and Baja California into a single departamento (department) as part of the conservative government reforms codified in the Siete Leyes (Seven Laws). The Seven Laws were repealed in 1847, during the Mexican–American War, and the split of the two Californias was restored.

Following Mexico's defeat in the war, most of the former Alta California territory was ceded on 2 February 1848 to the United States, under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The new Mexico–United States border was established slightly to the north of the previous Alta-Baja border, and the terms Las Californias and Alta California were no longer formally used. The areas in North America acquired by the U.S. were designated as unorganized "territory" under a military governor, pending re-establishment of civilian control and organization. California was the first section of the territory to achieve statehood, two years later.

Geography

The Baja California Peninsula is bordered on three sides by water, the Pacific Ocean (south and west) and Gulf of California (east); while Alta California had the Pacific Ocean on the west and deserts on the east. A northern boundary was established by the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819. That boundary line remains the northern boundary of the U.S. states of California, Nevada, and the western part of Utah.

Inland regions were mostly unexplored by the Spanish, leaving them generally outside the control of the colonial authorities. Mountain ranges of the Peninsular Ranges, eastern Transverse Ranges, and the Sierra Nevada, along with the arid Colorado Desert, Mojave Desert, and Great Basin Desert in their eastern rain shadows, served as natural barriers to Spanish settlement. The eastern border of upper Las Californias was never officially defined under either Spanish or subsequent Mexican rule. [19] The 1781 Instrucciones and government correspondence described Alta California ("Upper California") as the areas to the west of the Sierra Nevada and the lower part of the Colorado River in the Lower Colorado River Valley (the river forms the present day border between the states of California and Arizona). [20]

See also

Related Research Articles

Baja California Peninsula Peninsula of North America on the Pacific Coast of Mexico

The Baja California Peninsula is a peninsula in Northwestern Mexico. It separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The peninsula extends 1,247 km from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south. It ranges from 40 km at its narrowest to 320 km at its widest point and has approximately 3,000 km of coastline and approximately 65 islands. The total area of the Baja California Peninsula is 143,390 km2 (55,360 sq mi), roughly the same area as the country of Nepal.

Alta California province of New Spain

Alta California, known sometimes unofficially as Nueva California, California Septentrional, California del Norte or California Superior, began in 1804 as a province of New Spain. Along with the Baja California peninsula, it had previously comprised the province of Las Californias, but was split off into a separate province in 1804. Following the Mexican War of Independence, it became a territory of Mexico in April 1822 and was renamed "Alta California" in 1824. The claimed territory included all of the modern US states of California, Nevada and Utah, and parts of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. In the 1836 Siete Leyes government reorganization, the two Californias were once again combined into a single departamento. That change was undone in 1846, but rendered moot by U.S. military occupation of California in the Mexican-American War.

History of California before 1900

Human history in California began when indigenous Americans first arrived some 13,000–15,000 years ago. Coastal exploration by Europeans began in the 16th century, and settlement by Europeans along the coast and in the inland valleys began in the 18th century. California was ceded to the United States under the terms of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the defeat of Mexico in the Mexican–American War. American westward expansion intensified with the California Gold Rush, beginning in 1848. California joined the Union as a free state in 1850, due to the Compromise of 1850. By the end of the 19th century, California was still largely rural and agricultural, but had a population of about 1.4 million.

Baja California Federal entity in Mexico

Baja California, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Baja California, is a state in Mexico. It is the northernmost and westernmost of the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1952, the area was known as the North Territory of Baja California. It has an area of 70,113 km2 (27,071 sq mi), or 3.57% of the land mass of Mexico and comprises the northern half of the Baja California Peninsula, north of the 28th parallel, plus oceanic Guadalupe Island. The mainland portion of the state is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by Sonora, the U.S. state of Arizona, and the Gulf of California, and on the south by Baja California Sur. Its northern limit is the U.S. state of California.

Francisco Hermenegildo Tomás Garcés, O.F.M., was a Spanish Franciscan friar who served as a missionary and explorer in the colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain. He explored much of the southwestern region of North America, including present day Sonora and Baja California in Mexico, and the U.S. states of Arizona and California. He was killed along with his companion friars during an uprising by the Native American population, and they have been declared martyrs for the faith by the Catholic Church. The cause for his canonization was opened by the Church.

Eusebio Kino Italian Jesuit missionary

Eusebio Francisco Kino was a Jesuit, missionary, geographer, explorer, cartographer and astronomer born in the Territory of the Bishopric of Trent, then part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. For the last 24 years of his life he worked in the region then known as the Pimería Alta, modern-day Sonora in Mexico and southern Arizona in the United States. He explored the region and worked with the indigenous Native American population, including primarily the Tohono O'Odham, Sobaipuri and other Upper Piman groups. He proved that the Baja California Peninsula is not an island by leading an overland expedition there. By the time of his death he had established 24 missions and visitas.

Tecate Place in Baja California, Mexico

Tecate is a city in Baja California, Mexico, and the municipal seat of Tecate Municipality. It is on the border with Tecate, California, United States and is part of the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. There is a small port of entry between the sister cities that serves as an alternative to the bustling ports of entry in Tijuana. As of 2015, the city of Tecate had a population of 72,860 inhabitants, while the metropolitan area has a population of 102,406 inhabitants. The city sits at an elevation of 540 metres (1,770 ft) above sea level.

José María de Echeandía (?–1871) was twice Mexican governor of Alta California from 1825 to 1831 and again from 1832 to 1833. He was the only governor of California that lived in San Diego.

José Castro Governor of Alta California

José Antonio Castro was a Californio politician, statesman, and military leader who served as acting governor of Alta California in 1835, and military commander under governor Juan Bautista Alvarado after November, 1836. He was also Commandante General in northern California during the Bear Flag Revolt.

José de Gálvez, 1st Marquess of Sonora Spanish lawyer

José de Gálvez y Gallardo, 1st Marquess of Sonora was a Spanish lawyer and Visitador generál in New Spain (1764–1772); later appointed to the Council of the Indies (1775–1787). He was one of the prime figures behind the Bourbon Reforms. He belonged to an important political family that included his brother Matías de Gálvez and nephew Bernardo de Gálvez.

José Joaquín de Arrillaga was an officer of Basque origin born in Aia, Spain, who went on to become seventh (1792-1794) and tenth (1800–1814) governor of Alta California.

<i>Pious Fund of the Californias</i>

The Pious Fund of the Californias is a fund, originating in 1697, to sponsor the Roman Catholic Jesuit Spanish missions in Baja California, and Franciscan Spanish missions in Alta California in the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1769 to 1823, and originally administered by the Jesuits. It became the object of litigation between the US and Mexican governments in the 19th century, with the resolution making legal history in The Hague in 1902.

Eugène Duflot de Mofras was a 19th-century French naturalist, botanist, diplomat, and explorer.

Baja California Territory

Baja California Territory was a Mexican territory from 1824 to 1931, that encompassed the Baja California Peninsula of present-day northwestern Mexico. It replaced the Baja California Province (1773–1824) of the Spanish colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain, after Mexican independence. Along with Alta California, the two territories were split from the Spanish The Californias region.

Santiago Argüello (1791–1862) was a Californio, a soldier in the Spanish army of the Viceroyalty of New Spain in Las Californias, a major Mexican land grant ranchos owner, and part of an influential family in Mexican Alta California and post-statehood California.

Rancho Tecate, or Rancho Cañada de Tecate was a land grant made to Juan Bandini in 1829, by the Mexican governor of Alta California, José María de Echeandía. He granted 4,439 acres of land in the valley of Tecate. A grant to Juan Bandini is recorded as being completed for Rancho Cañada de Tecate on July 12, 1834 under governor José Figueroa.

Felipe de Barri (?-1784) was Comandante of Alta California. He moved there from Loreto, Baja California Sur Pedro Fages served as the Military Governor from July 9, 1770 to March 23, 1774 at Presidio of Monterey, California. Barri has some friction with the President of the Catholic priests of the Franciscan order, Father President Fray Vicente Mora, but for the most part it was time of peace. But, Barri was quick to judge and was suspicious, fearing the return of troubles that the Jesuits were accused of. He and Francisco Palóu, administrator and historian on the Baja and Alta California has some troubles. There was a small revolt at Todos Santos.

Matías de Armona

Matías de Armona also Don Matías de Armona was a governor of Las Californias, serving from June 12, 1769 to November 9, 1770, during Spanish Empire colonial rule of New Spain

Miguel Costansó (1741–1814), original name Miquel Constançó, was a Catalan engineer, cartographer and cosmographer. He joined the expedition of exploration of Alta California led by Gaspar de Portolá and Junípero Serra, serving aboard ship as cartographer and on land as engineer.

References

  1. Wilson Center - Institute of the Three Californias
  2. Freemasons of California: Conference of the Three Californias
  3. The Magic Curtain: the Mexican-American Border in Fiction, Film, and Song
  4. Journal of the Legislative Assembly of California - March 2 2006
  5. JStor The Two Californias During World War II
  6. Two California, Three Religious Orders, and Fifty Missions
  7. Two Californias Meet at the Border to Demand Justice for Farm Workres
  8. the Californias... what we now refer to the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur and the State of California. in California Parks Department: Missions of the Californias
  9. Lieutenant-Governor of California: Commission of the Californias
  10. Cambridge Journal of the Americas - The Arrival of the Franciscans in the Californias
  11. LA Times - Is This the Last Beach in the Californias?
  12. Travels in the Californias, and Scenes in the Pacific Ocean
  13. Stanford Law - The Case of the Pious Fund of the Californias: United States of America Vs. Republic of Mexico
  14. MexicoMatters - Economy of the Three Californias
  15. LA Times - What the Baja Boom Means for Our State
  16. Hittell, Theodore Henry. (2013). pp. 510–511. History of California. London: Forgotten Books. (Original work published 1885)
  17. Richman, I. B. (1965). California under Spain and Mexico, 1535–1847: A contribution toward the history of the Pacific coast of the United States, based on original sources, chiefly manuscript, in the Spanish and Mexican Archives and other repositories, pp.64–66. New York: Cooper Square Publishers.
  18. Bancroft, H. H. (1970). History of California: Vol. II, 1801–1824, pp.20–21. Santa Barbara Calif.: Wallace Hebberd. (Note: Bancroft translated the names of the two new provinces as "Antigua" and "Nueva", but Richman uses Baja and Alta - as on the 1847 map of Mexico.)
  19. José Bandini, in a note to Governor Echeandía or to his son Juan Bandini, a member of the Territorial Deputation (legislature), noted that Alta California was bounded "on the east, where the Government has not yet established the [exact] borderline, by either the Colorado River or the great Sierra (Sierra Nevada Range)". A Description of California in 1828 by José Bandini (Berkeley, Friends of the Bancroft Library, 1951), 3. Reprinted in Mexican California (New York, Arno Press, 1976). ISBN   0-405-09538-4
  20. Chapman, Charles Edward (1973) [1916]. The Founding of Spanish California: The Northwestward Expansion of New Spain, 1687–1783. New York: Octagon Books. pp. xiii.

Further reading