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Spanish in the Americas

Descubrimiento, Conquista y Exploacion e Nicaragua.Spanish in San Francisco.

Descubrimiento, Conquista y Exploracion de NicaraguaShips, Nicaragua.

Jaime Incer Barquero
The book is in Spanish, which can make it hard to access for the English readers. .
A collection of 43 chronicles selected from original sources that relate the discovery, conquest and exploration of Nicaragua. They were written by explorers, conquerors, governors, historians and monks who explored or lived in Nicaragua, who traveled throughout the country, or who simply referred to the country’s interesting and novel features that they observed.

Days of the Dons: On the Spanish and Mexican Ranchos of the San Francisco Peninsula and in the Santa Clara Valley
Roscoe D. Wyatt
The years from 1833 to 1850 were golden for families of Mexican descent, many of whom were of Spanish bloodline. The missions were breaking up, the presidios were deserted, the population dispersed, and land could be had for the asking. The country was lovely, the climate delightful, the valleys filled with horses and cattle. Wants were few by these familes; however, farming and grazing caused an even great reduction in the Indians' natural food supply. The Indian population was already in a weakened condition, suffering from disease and lack of food, and from violent confrontations with the new landowners.

The three population centers of California in 1835 were Los Angeles with 1,500 people, San Jose with 600, and Villa de Branciforte with 150.

Once the Americans arrived, California Indians were at an even greater disadvantage. With the lure of instant wealth in front of them, the new settlers wanted little to do with those who were here before.

Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra's Dream and the Founding of (Spanish) CaliforniaThe Founding of Spanish California.
In the year 1749, at the age of thirty-six, Junípero Serra left his position as a highly regarded priest in Spain for the turbulent and dangerous New World, knowing he would never return.

The Spanish Crown and the Catholic Church both sought expansion in Mexico—the former in search of gold, the latter seeking souls—as well as entry into the mysterious land to the north called “California.” Serra’s mission: to spread Christianity in this unknown world by building churches wherever possible and by converting the native peoples to the Word of God. It was an undertaking that seemed impossible, given the vast distances, the challenges of the unforgiving landscape, and the danger posed by resistant native tribes. Such a journey would require bottomless physical stamina, indomitable psychic strength, and, above all, the deepest faith.

The Children of Coyote. Missionaries of Saint Francis.

Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis: Indian-Spanish Relations in Colonial California, 1769-1850 Children of Coyote. Missionaries of Saint Francis.
(Published for the Omohundro Institute. History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
Recovering lost voices and exploring issues intimate and institutional, this sweeping examination of Spanish California illuminates Indian struggles against a confining colonial order and amidst harrowing depopulation.

Missions proved disastrously unhealthful and coercive, as Franciscans sought control over Indians' beliefs and instituted unfamiliar systems of labor and punishment. Even so, remnants of Indian groups still survived when Mexican officials ended Franciscan rule in the 1830s. Many regained land and found strength in ancestral cultures that predated the Spaniards' arrival.

Piratas y Aventureros en las Costas de NicaraguaPiratas y Aventureros en las Costas de Nicaragua.

Jaime Incer Barquero

Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past

William Deverell
Deverell portrays Los Angeles during the 1850s as a city seething with racial enmity due to the recent war with Mexico. He explains how, within a generation, the city's business interests, looking for a commercially viable way to establish urban identity, borrowed Mexican cultural traditions and put on a carnival called La Fiesta de Los Angeles. He analyzes the subtle ways in which ethnicity came to bear on efforts to corral the unpredictable Los Angeles River and shows how the resident Mexican population was put to work fashioning the modern metropolis.

California, its Past History, its Present Position, its Future Prospects; Containing a History of the Country from its Colonization by the Spaniards.

G. A. Fleming

The Project

Maritime Nations, Sea Captains, Ships, Merchants, Merchandise, Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California.

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