May 222012
 
Point Pinos Lighthouse

Point Pinos Lighthouse

As we discussed last time, in 1769 Spanish explorers were charged with establishing a mission and presidio in both San Diego and Monterey. San Diego, apparently, was easy to find. Monterey . . . not so much. The explorers missed it entirely and stumbled onto San Francisco Bay instead.… Read the rest

May 202012
 
Map of California circa 1650

Map of California circa 1650

Continuing on in the early history of Spanish exploration in California . . .

After a few excursions by sea between 1542-43 (Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo) and 1602-03 (Sebastian Vizcaino), the Spanish more or less left Alta California alone until 1769

(Historical aside: Spanish ships sailed along the California coast regularly from the 1580s on.… Read the rest

May 132012
 
1533 edition of Amadis of Gaul

1533 edition of Amadis of Gaul

Kevin Starr agrees with HH Bancroft that the name “California” comes from a 16th century Spanish novel. Indeed, after explaining how in 1862 Edward H. Hale (author of “The Man Without a Country”) discovered the novel, translated it, and demonstrated how it must be the source of the name California, Bancroft states flatly, “No intelligent man will ever question the accuracy of Hale’s theory.” (page 66).… Read the rest