Chapter Eighteen

Gobernador Juan Bautista de Anza y Bezerra Nieto

Again, my thanks to all of those sources provided by the Internet and used in this chapter.
A tome is a work of history, a volume forming part of a larger work. In this case the de Riberas.

As my progenitors were from España and thus Españoles, I’m duty bound to present them in a more truthful, honest, and thoughtful light. I will not provide as non-Spanish writers and commentators’ subtexts do, offering narratives with an underlying and often distinct theme in their writing which is decidedly anti-Spanish. For them pobladores are never just settlers, they must always be colonists. Spanish soldados are not soldiers, they’re always conquistadores. So rather than being resourceful, brave, and ingenious people Españoles are depicted as greedy, brutal, ugly, murderous caricatures. This will not be the case in this chapter.  

In this chapter, I’m attempting to expand the vision for most readers regarding how 18th-Century C.E. España and Españoles are viewed. Typically non-Spanish writers and commentators provide cardboard cut-out type characters of Spanish explorers, military men, civilians, and governmental administrators.  

The person this chapter was written about, Gobernador Juan Bautista de Anza y Bezerra Nieto (July 7, 1736 C.E.-December 19, 1788 C.E.), was a man of flesh and blood not a cardboard cut-out character. He lived, breathed, loved, felt, cared, explored, fought, built, and died. Anza y Bezerra Nieto didn’t do any of these things in a vacuum. His life and accomplishments impacted people he loved and cared for, such as those progenitors and distant relatives of mine, those de Ribera soldados, who fought with him against the Comanche and knew him personally.  Anza was not just a soldier, that life, his life, also affected his enemies.  

In the case of Juan Bautista de Anza, or Anza, his life’s work was far more than just a series of battles. There were also the journeys of exploration which took him far and wide. He was a complex human being led by strength of character. Juan was true to his calling as a soldado, but he was also a diplomat and highly capable administrator. He understood the arts of accommodation and governance when it came to the lives of his people and the Natives who shared his culture, religion, and values. Anza was first and foremost a just administrator.  

Beyond this, as a leader, Anza was part of a more complex Spanish cultural, economic, military, and religious infrastructure. España’s Corona Española had by the time of his birth and long military career expanded its Nuevo Mundo possessions world-wide. Unfortunately, España was by then, a power in decline. Yet her settlements in Nueva España continued to look for ways to expand and improve their common interests through exploration and commerce. However, their military power remained an important part of that equation for Nueva España’s success.  

Further, the anti-Spanish narratives lack the necessary historical depth and width of el Imperio Español’s cultural and religious complexity and interaction. In short, they normally give a very basic “how” and almost never provide the true “why” of España’s Nuevo Mundo actions, activities, and resulting outcomes. The anti-Spanish make little of the complexity of communication between the parties, the difficulty of travel during the period, and the obvious lack of necessary resources that negatively affected Spanish exploration, and the difficulty of effective and efficient coordination of efforts throughout the Nuevo Mundo and Nueva España. All of these negative factors were off-set by excellent planning and execution.


España’s military and religious infrastructure was well-trained, efficient, effective, communicative, and surprisingly cooperative. By this I mean to say that Anza, as this chapter will describe, had many professional and personal relationships with famous men of his times and they worked closely together to meet strategic goals and very specific objectives for Nueva España’s expansion and protection.

With reports of Russian and English advances toward Spanish settlements in California, Virrey of Nueva España António María Bucareli would order the opening of an overland trail from Sonora to California for the movement of pobladores and supplies for the purpose of regional expansion and a more robust protective capability.  

To better understand this unique personality, one must place the man in the context of his environment and his times. His world included a political gravity centered half the world away in España which dictated policy and action throughout the Nuevo Mundo. Nueva España was only an extension of that political hub at Madrid. Both distance and time played major parts in critical policy and military decision-making and the ultimate outcomes resulting from commands coming from the Corona Española.  

A third important element for decision-making and policy implementation was that of governance and those who held power in those far-away places in the Nuevo Mundo. Those who mattered in this scenario were the Peninsulares or those Españoles born on the Ibero Peninsula. The Criollos or Españoles born in América, were second tier inhabitants of the Nuevo Mundo with little social standing, power, or authority. They stood only above the Mestízos or persons of mixed racial ancestry, especially of mixed European and Native American ancestry. The last tier of the social ladder was held by the Natives.  

Therefore, men such as Anza, Criollos, were suspect and considered inferiors. Only through great feats of military courage and success, exploration and the finding of valuable resources and other assets, and highly-regarded administrative skills did a Criollo reach coveted positions of power and material success. Anza was such a man.  

The final area of competence for a Criollo who would be a leader in Nueva España was the ongoing relations with the Church and its hierarchy. In the Nuevo Mundo that was no easy task. The military and the Church had been at odds since the beginning of settlement over the treatment of Natives.  

The name Anza is Vasco. Vascos were granted nobility in the 14th-Century C.E. by the Corona Española of Castilla (España). The use of the "de" infers that his family line was of the nobility of el Imperio Español.  

Juan Bautista de Anza was the son of presidial Capitán, de Anza (Anssa), and María Rosa Bezerra Nieto of Frontéras, Sonora, Méjico. She was of Criollo birth, an Américano-born child of Spanish parents. Born at the Presidio of Janos, the date is estimated at between 1695 C.E. and 1700 C.E. The Presidio of Janos was under continuous attack and raided by marauding Apaches and other belligerent Native tribes. Her parents were António Bezerra Nieto, a presidial capitán, and Gregoria Catalina Gómez de Silva of Janos, Chihuahua, Méjico. Little is known of her childhood beyond the fact that she lived at one of the northernmost frontéra outposts of Nueva España. His grandfather was António de Anza a pharmacist and his grandmother was Lucía de Sassoeta of Hernani Guipuzcoa, España.  

For the purpose of clarification his surname was "Anza." An erroneous 20th-Century C.E. tradition applies the 14th-Century C.E. designation of nobility granted to the Anza family “de” and to refer to him as "de Anza." Never, in Anza's day did he or any of his contemporaries refer to him "de Anza" when referring to him by surname. Over one hundred and fifty of his signatures are available for study. In all, he signed only his surname, deleting Juan Bautista, each time signing only "Anza." With that said, I will use only Anza without the “de” in the remainder of this chapter.  

The archives in Old Méjico and Sevilla, España microfilm documentation and hard copy information available on Anza. There is also a great deal of information about him in secondary literature. However, it would appear that much is erroneous. In the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, California and Documentary Relations of the Southwest in Tucson, Arizona are kept other valuable sources of information regarding Anza.  

In an effort to expand its Nueva España settlements, attempts had been made by España since the 17th-Century C.E. to find a passable land route through Baja California. The region proved to be treacherous and difficult and none had been discovered. During the period, only sea routes provided a solution.  

In this chapter, the reader will notice the absence of the term “colonies” which has been used in the past by anti-Spanish, non-Spanish, Anglo-Americans, Northern European, and other writers and commentators for a subliminal negative effect upon the Spanish entrants to the Nuevo Mundo and their accomplishments. The more appropriate term “settlement” is use instead.  

Image result for Spain's Far East Galleon sea routes By the 18th-Century C.E., España's holdings in the Américas had become an important source of wealth for the Corona Española and were watched over carefully. The basis to the continued flow of España's Nuevo Mundo wealth, of resources and goods, was its safe delivery to various points of destination. España's Américas generated a number of valuable resources, many through extensive mining operations. Their locations were integral to the administration of España's Far Eastern territories. With the acquisition of the Filipinas, ports on the Pacific Coast of Spanish North América became an important stopover for ships making the journey across the ocean from Manila. Crews could find a temporary rest from the elements, scurvy, and pirates before continuing on to España.  

By the 1700s C.E., a string of presidios and misiónes stretched across the landscape of the Spanish Américas, as was the case in Nueva España. These were a connective geographic network of Spanish governmental, military defensive sites, communications capabilities, cultural, economic, and religious infrastructure.  

In time, what would eventually emerge were the concept, exploration, and settlement which were to extend España's reach from her Nueva España northern most settlements into Alta California. Juan Bautista Anza's expeditions were driven by this combination of Nueva España expansion, internal Spanish governance, and the Church’s misiónero commitment.  

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It’s believed that the great military comendador, explorer, and Gobernador Juan Bautista Anza  was born in July, 1736 C.E., most likely at Cuquiarachi, in the presidio of Frontéras, Sonora, Méjico which was at the time Nueva España. His grandfather was Comandante of Janos presidio, Chihuahua.

By 1737 C.E., Anza’s father Juan Bautista de Anza I, Comandante of the post at presidio of Frontéras since 1719 C.E., was preparing to make an attempt to locate a route to California.  

Unfortunately, Juan's father was killed in combat in 1739 C.E. by Apaches before the senior Anza could make the journey. Little is known of Juan’s childhood except that when he was about three years of age, Juan's father was killed by Apaches.  

Following family tradition at age sixteen, Juan joined Spanish miquelets in December 1, 1752 C.E., at San Ignacio, Sonora, Méjico at the Frontéras.  

Two years later, in 1754 C.E. at eighteen, Anza became a cadete in the presidial cavalry at Frontéras, Sonora, and Méjico. This he did under the supervision and training of his brother-in-law, Gabriel de Vildósola.  

At nineteen, on July 1, 1755 C.E., Anza was promoted to Teniente at Frontéras, and, after participated in campaigns against the Indians in Sonora.  

By age twenty, Anza advanced to the rank of cavalry teniente at Frontéras in 1756 C.E.  

Three years later, at age twenty-three, Juan made the rank of capitán of the Tubaca (Tubac) Sonora, Méjico (Present-day Arizona) Presidio in December 1759 C.E.

 By 1760 C.E., at age thirty, Anza was promoted to the rank of Capitán and Comandante of the presidio at Tubac. While there, he perfected his skills as a soldado and comandante en Jefe when fighting the fierce Apaches in the north, at today’s Arizona and Seris Indians in the south near present-day Hermosillo, Sonora. Anza led five expeditions against the rebellious Seris. Anza also became well known for his attention to professional and appropriate soldiering. As a result, by the age of thirty Juan's military career was advancing.  

On June 24, 1761 C.E., at almost age thirty-one, Juan married Ana María Pérez Serrano of Arizpe, Sonora. No children were born to the two.  

By the mid-1760s C.E., España faced a greater challenge to its hegemony on the Pacific Coast from rival European powers. These nations were anxious to expand their own empires at the expense of España’s. Therefore, España's rivals systematically tested the resilience and effectiveness of imperial governance and military capabilities engaging privateers for the tasks. They searched for areas of weakness which could be exploited. At various times, both Britain and France progressively antagonized Spanish commerce on the high seas attacking shipping when an opportunity presented itself. These pirates under orders from Paris and London harassed and took slow-sailing Spanish cargo ships. This systematic pirating was followed by the launching of voyages of discovery in the Pacific.  

The Russians had also become a problem. They had settled Alaska and were exploring the West Coast for trading posts within striking distance of the rich Spanish mines. The Russians had also made forays along the North American Pacific Coast extending as far south as Oregon. These were searching for Nuevo Mundo sources of otter and seal pelts. This Russian exploration into California alarmed the Spanish Virrey in Méjico City knowing that the rivalry would continue as far south as Spanish California.  

The settlement of Las Californias would begin with the el Imperio Español's discovery of Nueva España, today’s Méjico and some areas of the United States, the modern-day American states of Tejas, Arizona, Nuevo Méjico, California, and other lands which made up Nueva España. California would be one of the last of these Spanish provinces to be settled.  

When discussing the early Las Californias, the misiónes, presidios, pueblos, estancias, and ranchos are invariably remembered. Almost everyone has visited or read about the old town or pueblo of San Diego, and the pueblo of Los Ángeles, the misiónes at Santa Bárbara and Monterey, and the presidio at San Francisco,. However, one important part of the pastoral era of California history is not as easily remembered, it is the Spanish ranchos and estancias. Unfortunately, there is very little visible evidence of these large ranchos and estancias with their adobe houses. One cannot stand in many of the downtowns’ of California and physically touch or see the old ranchos or the estancias. As a result, these are almost forgotten as part of California's past. Fortunately, the misiónes, presidios, and pueblos have not been forgotten. One of these pueblos is San Francisco with its misión and presidio.  

The first Alta California Spanish settlement with its misión and presidio was established at San Diego. From this first settlement, the Spanish Gobierno founded 4 presidios, 4 pueblos, and 21 Catholic misiónes. In addition, the Gobierno granted vast amounts of rancho and estancia lands to pobladores and soldados.  

Throughout the Spanish Américas, including Nueva España (Today’s Méjico and the U.S.) and Latino América, a system of military outposts was created for the protection of Spanish Ciudádanos. Called presidios, they were established to maintain order and enforce Spanish governance. During the period, España had also invited various orders of the Catholic Church to establish misiónes, believing that Spanish subjects should also be Christians.

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The soldados of El Imperio Español and pobladores in Nueva España would over time become a mixture of European, Native American, and African heritage. Each brought with them their own traditions and culture, melding into one in the Spanish Américas.  

By 1767 C.E., at the age of thirty-seven, interestingly Anza was one of the Spanish officers charged with the gathering and removal of Jesuit misióneros from Sonora by José de Gálvez, the Inspector General of Méjico. España's internal situation had been experiencing complicated and difficult matters between Church and state authorities. Many believed that the Society of Jesús (Jesuits) had acquired too much influence, power, and wealth contributing to dysfunction in Spanish affairs. This was supposedly accomplished through political intrigues by the frayles. To counter this perceived overreach of power by the Jesuits, King Cárlos III issued a decree expelling the Jesuits from all Spanish-owned territories in 1767 C.E. The King then transferred Jesuit possessions to other Catholic religious orders. The religious power vacuum which was created by the exiting Jesuits in Spanish América was very quickly and efficiently back-filled by the Catholic Dominican and Franciscan orders. The expulsion of the Jesuits from areas in Baja California provided the Franciscans with increased influence which allowed them over time expand the misión Frontéra northward into Alta California.  

It would appear that Anza’s competence in these matters of Church and state was appreciated by de Gálvez, bringing him close to the famous, powerful, political, and appreciative de Gálvez family.  

One of these new Franciscans to enter the vacuum was Fray Juan Crespí. He entered the Baja California Peninsula in 1767 C.E. and was placed in charge of the Misión La Purísima Concepción de Cadegomó. Misión La Purísima was founded west of Loreto in Baja California Sur, by the Jesuit misiónero Nicolás Tamaral in 1720 C.E. By 1735 C.E., it was moved to a new location at the Cochimí ranchería known as Cadegomó, meaning "arroyo of the carrizos," about 30 kilometers south of the original site.   

By 1768 C.E., the Virrey of Nueva España, António María Bucareli y Ursúa was growing more and more concerned about the probability of Russian encroachment and eventual incursion on what was acknowledged Spanish territory. He ordered Capitán Juan Bautista Anza to recruit soldados and pobladores in Sonora, Nueva España (now Méjico), prepare an expedition, and establish a misión and presidio in the port of San Francisco.  

A story is recounted about the naming of San Francisco by California's first historian and the first Franciscan pastor of Misión Dolores, Fray Francisco Palóu. In 1768 C.E., José de Gálvez informed Junípero Serra of the names to be given to the Misiónes to be established in Alta California. Serra remonstrated saying, "Is there then to be no Misión for Our Father San Francisco?" de Gálvez jested, "If San Francisco wants a misión, let him cause his port to be discovered, and it will be placed there!" As fate would have it, San Francisco would lead España to this future port. Seven years later, Juan Bautista Anza would march north from Pueblo San Diego with a settlement party to establish a Spanish presidio and misión named San Francisco.  

From 1769 C.E. to 1772 C.E., in a separate but coordinated effort, the soldado Gaspar de Portolá i Rovira and the Franciscan frayles made their way northward up to Alta California along the Pacific Coast from Baja California. The Land Expedition would travel north to Alta California (Future state of California) through the present-day coastal counties of San Diego, Orange, Los Ángeles, Ventura, Santa Bárbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and San Francisco. They and the dedicated soldados of the Land Expedition founded a series of coastline outposts. However, these expeditions led by de Portolá in 1769 C.E. created only small settlements in Alta California and once there, the Españoles would have to fight to exist due to a lack of resources.  

This Español, de Portolá was born on January 1, 1716 C.E. in Os de Balaguer, in Cataluña, España, of Catalán nobility. Don Gaspar served as a soldado in the Spanish army in Italy and Portugal. He was commissioned alférez in 1734 C.E., and teniente in 1743 C.E.  

The Franciscan Fray, Juan Crespí joined the Land Expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá and Junípero Serra in 1769 C.E. As Crespí was the only Franciscan fray to make the entire journey by land, he became the first official diarist for the misiónes. He was one of three diarists to document the first exploration by Europeans of interior areas of Alta California. Fray Crespí traveled in the vanguard of the Expedition led by Capitán Fernando Rivera (Ribera) y Moncada up to San Diego in Alta California. There a presidio and misión were established.  

Fray Crespí would eventually continue north with de Portolá and Capitán Rivera to identify the port of Monterey. After reaching Monterey in October 1769 C.E., Fray Crespí continued with a de Portolá scouting party and explored as far north as present-day San Francisco Bay. He became one of the first Europeans to see the Bay.  

By 1769 C.E., the establishment of another presidio north of the Monterey area was not in the original plans of the Spanish Monarch, Cárlos III. Perhaps this is due to España’s having no knowledge of the large body of water to the north. However, Vizcaíno era maps did refer to a river at the location of the Golden Gate but it was not explored and the location was passed by.

This would all change on July 14, 1769 C.E., when San Francisco Bay was rediscovered by the Land Expedition from San Diego. The first westerners to see the bay of San Francisco would be members of the 1769 C.E. Gaspár de Portolá Expedition. After establishing a limited control over San Diego, de Portolá took a small party north in search of Monterey.  

An advance de Portolá Expedition party under Sargento José Francisco Ortega, a Criollo born in Guanajuato in central Méjico, reported that they had seen a "brazon del mar" - an arm of the sea and noted that sighting. They had sighted what would eventually would be known as the Golden Gate and the San Francisco Bay, on November 1, 1769 C.E. This made the Europeans aware of the existence of the immense bay and its beautiful passage through the coastal mountains. Ortega would, was to serve at the guarniciónes of San Diego, Santa Bárbara, and Monterey during his career.

By the 1770s C.E., the Españoles had been in the Nuevo Mundo Américas for over 200 years. Their Imperio Español included the present-day western United States, Florida, and the Filipinas. Yet, they had not secured the Pacific Coast from English and Russian incursion.  

In 1770 C.E., the Spanish soldado, Don Pere Fages i Beleta or Don Pedro Fages (1734 C.E.-1794 C.E.), assumed the responsibility for establishing a land route in Alta California to the north. Fages was born in Guissona, Lerida province, CataluñaEspaña. In 1762 C.E. he entered the light infantry in Catalonia and joined España’s invasion of Portugal during the Seven Years' War.  

In May of 1767 C.E., Fages was commissioned as a teniente in the newly formed Free Company of Volunteers of Cataluña. He set sail from Cádiz along with a company of light infantry, voyaging to Nueva España (Méjico). He and his men were to serve under Domíngo Elizondo in Sonora.  

Capitán Gaspar de Portolá led an expedition to establish a Presidio at Monterey. He was joined by Franciscan Fray Junípero Serra. On June 3, 1770 C.E. a mass was held under an oak tree at the same location where Vizcaíno had held mass 168 years earlier.  

Sebastián Vizcaíno (1548 C.E.-1624) was born in 1548 C.E., in Extremadura, Crown of Castilla (España). Coming to Nueva España in 1583 C.E., he sailed as a merchant on a Galeón de Manila to the Filipinas in 1586 C.E.-1589 C.E. The disputed concession for pearl fishing on the western shores of the Gulf of California was transferred to Vizcaíno in 1593 C.E. Sebastián succeeded in sailing with three ships to La Paz, Baja California Sur in 1596 C.E. He then gave this site which had been known to Hernándo Cortés as Santa Cruz, its modern name, La Paz. Soon thereafter, he and attempted to establish a settlement. Unfortunately, difficulties with declining morale of the pobladores and soldados, resupply of needed resources, and a fire soon forced the abandonment of the new settlement.  

By 1601 C.E., the Virrey, the Conde de Monterrey at Méjico City, appointed Vizcaíno general-in-charge of a second expedition. This was to locate safe harbors in Alta California for Galeónes de Manila to use on their return voyage to Acapulco from Manila. Sebastián was also given the responsibility to map the California coastline that Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo had first reconnoitered 60 years earlier in detail. He departed Acapulco on his flagship, the San Diego, on May 5, 1602 C.E. With him were two other ships the San Tomás and the Tres Reyes.  

On November 10, 1602 C.E., Vizcaíno entered and named San Diego Bay. Sailing up the Pacific Coast, Vizcaíno named many places such as the Santa Bárbara Channel Islands, Point Conception, the Santa Lucía Mountains, Point Lobos, Carmel River and Monterey Bay. In taking these actions, he changed the names given these by Cabrillo in 1542 C.E.  

As a result of Vizcaíno's voyage, there was a flurry of enthusiasm for establishing a Spanish settlement at Monterey. Unfortunately for him, this was ultimately deferred for another 168 years after the Conde de Monterrey left to become Virrey of Perú. A colonizing expedition had been authorized in 1606 C.E. It was to proceed in 1607 C.E. However, it was delayed and later cancelled in 1608 C.E.  

Finally, at the same oaks where Franciscan Fray Junípero Serra said mass, Monterey was founded. The Royal Presidio and Misión, San Cárlos de Borromeo de Monterey, were established as Monterey’s first buildings.  

Don Pere Fages i Beleta, now in Nueva España rode to the Llano de Los Robles or Plain of the Oaks (Later known as Santa Clara Valley) with a handful of Lanceros and some muleteers (mule drivers). The arrival of the Españoles to the Llano de Los Robles resulted in these Spanish explorers describing the Llano de Los Robles as a broad grassy plain. It was covered with oaks and well-watered with marshy creeks and rivers. Their courses could be traced from a distance by the trees growing along their banks. The astute explorers commented on the abundance of good agricultural land. They also took notice of the number of Indian ranchería. All agreed that Llano de Los Robles was an excellent place for a misión. There, the church of Misión Santa Clara de Asís would be founded in 1777 C.E. It was to be the first outpost of Spanish civilization in the Santa Clara Valley.  

From there they went east, encamping near the present-day city of Alameda. By November 28, 1770 C.E. the men viewed a large "bocana" or estuary mouth. Not being able to cross the Punta de los Reyes, Fages halted and then made his way back to Monterey.  

By 1771 C.E., expeditions led by Gaspar de Portolá established more small settlements in Alta California. These would create a greater need for support and protection from the Corona Española.  

In 1772 C.E., the landscape of Baja California was largely a desert. Its sand dunes eventually came to an abrupt end at steep mountains. However, España’s increasing awareness of the need to consolidate its hold on the Pacific Coast forced the issue of overcoming the desert and finding a route through it for settlement of Alta California. This situation prompted Anza, among others, to pursue opening such a land route. That same year, the ever eager Anza requested permission from the Virrey of Nueva España to discover a route to Alta California.  

March of 1772 C.E. saw Don Fages once again returning north with six soldados, a muleteer, a Native American servant and the Fray, Juan Crespí (March 1, 1721 C.E.-January 1, 1782 C.E.). He was a Franciscan misiónero and was to become an explorer of Las Californias. A native of Mallorca in Cataluña, Crespí entered the Franciscan order at the age of seventeen. He came to Nueva España in 1749 C.E., and accompanied explorers Francisco Palóu and Junípero Serra.  

Fray Juan Crespí accompanied Capitán Pedro Fages in order to gain a clearer understanding of the large body of water to the north. From the east bay they saw the Farallónes (Farallon Islands) and three islets within the bay that someday would be known as Alcatraz, Angél Island, and Yerba Buena. Armed with this added intelligence, Don Fages' party concluded its journey with a report and chart that prompted additional interest in the region. On that exploration of areas to the east of San Francisco Bay, the Fages Expedition members were the first Europeans to see the Sacramento River and the San Joaquín Valley.  

Having read these reports, Padre Junípero Serra began to lobby the Virrey of Nueva España for two more misiónes in the vicinity of what came to be called the Port of San Francisco, one in the Santa Clara Valley and one at the opening to the bay.  

Don Pedro Fages felt that he did not have enough soldados to support another misiónero program. However, Virrey António Bucarelli y Ursúa championed Serra's cause, relieving Don Fages and replacing him with Capitán Fernando Xavier de Rivera y Moncada (c. 1725 C.E.-July 18, 1781 C.E.) as military comandante of Alta California. Don Fages was transferred to the Apache wars in Arizona.  

Rivera y Moncada, a Criollo, was born near Compostela, Nueva España (Mexico). His father, Don Cristóbal de Rivera, was locally prominent and a local office holder. Rivera was born of Don Cristóbal's second wife, Joséfa Ramón de Moncada. He entered military service in 1742 C.E., serving in Loreto, Baja California, at a time when that peninsula was almost totally under the control of Jesuit misióneros. In 1751 C.E., Rivera was elevated over several older and higher ranking soldados to the command of that presidio. He participated in the important reconnaissance of the northern peninsula together with the Jesuit misiónero-explorers Ferdinand Konščak and Wenceslaus Linck.  

In 1755 C.E., Rivera would marry Doña María Teresa Dávalos; a marriage probably arranged by their parents. The couple had four children; three boys and a girl. His tenure as military comandante of Baja California was generally successful. He was highly thought of by the Jesuits, though he was also embroiled in conflicts with local Ganaderos, and miners who were in conflict with the Jesuits.  

By 1773 C.E., there would be two presidios and five misiónes in Alta California. At that time, the total population of Españoles was about seventy frayles and soldados.

They had established five misiónes:

·       San Diego de Alcalá in 1769 C.E.

·       San Cárlos Borromeo del Carmelo in 1770 C.E.

·       San António de Padúa in 1771 C.E.

·       San Gabriel Arcángel in 1771 C.E.

·       San Luís Obispo de Tolosa in 1772 C.E.


Two presidios were established at San Diego and Monterey  

The viability of España's Alta California outposts immediately came into question. Problems obtaining badly needed supplies jeopardized expansion into the region and maintaining outposts in the region. The sixty-one soldados and eleven Franciscan frayles that were assigned to various settlements were almost completely dependent upon supplies from Nueva España’s capital at Méjico City for their survival. The Españoles encountered continual difficulties obtaining these supplies which led to starvation conditions. To ensure their possession and the protection of Alta California, the Españoles needed an overland route in Nueva España originating in Sonora.  

Resupplying the settlements by way of by of Méjico City via the sea had been extremely difficult. This made further settlement and supply of Alta California even more challenging. The small Spanish ships that made the arduous sea voyage were from San Blas, Nueva España (Méjico). San Blas is a port located about 99 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, and 40 miles west of the state capital Tepic. These ships were unable to carry cattle or many people. In addition, the prevailing Pacific winds and currents along the California Coast made trips hazardous. Each trip north from San Blas in Baja California to Monterey took five times as long as did the returning trip south. To make matters worse, ships were frequently lost. Some were blown out to sea or destroyed on the rocky coastline. Despite these obstacles, the sea route proved more advantageous than the treacherous and difficult land route through Baja California.  

Image result for land maps of the baja california mission of san francisco javier                                               

These matters aside, the existing Camino Real or Royal Road through Baja California would need to be extended from Baja up to San Diego and later to the north of Alta California at San Francisco, linking Las Californias. While the earlier El Camino Real in Nueva España was the main corridor of trade and supply, Baja California’s El Camino Real section was the connecting road between the Spanish misiónes and did not serve the same purpose as in other parts of Nueva España.


It was the Jesuit padres who engineered the El Camino Real portion of the road in Baja California. The Spanish soldados built the first sections on the peninsula. Later the natives did more of the work. The network of roads radiated outward from the first mission at Loreto, the Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó or Our Lady of Loreto Misión. Loreto is a coastal villa on the Sea of Cortés. There the misión was founded. It is the first and oldest misión built in either Baja or Alta California. The early misión was the center for further exploration into the deserts and mountains of Baja. It also aided in the expansion of the Catholic misión system.  

Loreto map.png                                             

The Jesuits’ California misiónes and the Camino Real were the lines of communication between the misiónes. The first sections of El Camino Real went north from Loreto to the visita, the satellite church and villa, of San Juan Bautista Londó. San Juan Bautista Londó was founded by Juan María Salvatierra and Francisco María Piccolo in 1699 C.E. It was located at the Cochimí settlement of Londó, about 30 kilometers north of Loreto and 13 kilometers west of the Gulf of California coastline. The other section went west to the second Misión San Francisco Javier de Viggé-Biaundó which was a misión on the Baja California peninsula founded by Jesuits of the Roman Catholic Church in 1699 C.E.


The Jesuits had originally established Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó in 1697 C.E in Loreto. Soon it became obvious that the Loreto site had too little water to be suitable for agriculture and, thus, could not become self-sustaining. The Jesuits were told by Cochimí visitors to Loreto of potential agricultural land across the nearby Sierra de la Giganta.  

In May 1699 C.E., Francisco María Piccolo, along with a dozen Cochimí guides and ten Spanish soldados, crossed the mountains on horseback and entered the valley the Indians called Biaundó, about 12 miles inland from the Gulf of California. The other part of the Misión's name, Viggé, was the Cochimí word for mountain. The inhabitants of a Cochimí rancheria at the site were friendly and Piccolo baptized 30 of their children.  

In October 1699 C.E., Piccolo returned with a contingent of soldados and Indian converts and began to construct the Misión. Piccolo dedicated the Misión on December 3, 1699 C.E., and San Francisco Javier (also Xavier) became the second most enduring misión established in Baja California. The Misión was abandoned in 1701 C.E. because of a threatened Indian revolt, but reestablished by Juan de Ugarte in 1702 C.E. However, efforts to grow crops proved unsuccessful due to lack of water for irrigation and in 1710 C.E. the Misión was moved a few kilometers south to its present location which had a dependable source of water from a spring. The energetic Ugarte constructed dams, aqueducts, and stone buildings. Between 1744 C.E. and 1758 C.E., Miguel del Barco took the responsibility for building what became known as "the jewel of the Baja California misión churches."                                               

Image result for photos of spain's north american camino real
It had become clear to the government of Nueva España that these Spanish settlements could not survive without an overland supply route between Nueva España’s capital, Méjico City and Alta California. That route would become an extension of the existing Camino Real. Its original land route was from Veracruz or Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz north to Santa Fé, Nuevo Méjico and then, San Juan Pueblo.

Later, El Camino or more properly El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (The Royal Road) of the Interior Land would be extended from Tucson to San Diego.


Image result for photos of spain's camino real from Tucson to San Francisco  

In 1773 C.E., at age thirty-seven, Anza received permission to lead the overland exploratory expedition to Alta California for locating and mapping an overland supply route from António María Bucareli y Ursúa, the region's virrey. This initial launch to Alta California found its feasibility in Anza's belief that such a route was possible. Anza, Comendador of the presidio at Tubac, Nueva España (Now Arizona), was friendly with the local Yuma Indians. His conversations with the Yuma convinced him that a supply route was feasible. On September 17,  

By 1773 C.E., Anza was ordered to explore for a route from Tubac, Arizona to Alta California.  

In 1774 C.E., Fray Juan Crespí was Capellán of the expedition to the North Pacific conducted by Juan José Pérez Hernández. His diaries provided valuable records of these expeditions. One chapel he built, at the Misión San Francisco del Valle de Tilaco in Landa, located in today’s Jalpan de Serra region of Méjico. It is reported to still be standing.  

Anza's Spanish military contingent set out from Tubac, Arizona on January 8, 17 74 C.E. It was bound for Misión San Gabriel with a party of twenty soldados, three Franciscan misióneros, eleven muleteers, a dozen servants, and a herd of two hundred cattle. Serving as Anza's guides were Fray Gracés, a Franciscan on friendly terms with the local Indian tribes, and Sebastián Tarabal, a Cochimí Indian, who was a last minute, but fortuitous, addition.

The Expedition headed north and reached the Yuma village at the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers without much difficulty. With the help of the Yuma Indians, the Españoles crossed the Colorado River, and proceeded southward in an attempt to circumnavigate the sea of sand dunes. During the effort, Anza's party became lost. After ten days of traveling in the desert, they found their way back to the Colorado River. The Españoles were soon reunited with the Yuma Indians. Determined to continue, Anza followed Tarabal's suggestion, which offered a more northerly route through the San Gabriel Mountains.  

By March 22, 1774 C.E., Anza crossed the Colorado River, and arrived on the Pacific Coast at San Gabriel near present-day Los Ángeles. Within days, they camped along the San Jacinto River. The party had finally reached Misión San Gabriel.  

Although the weather was relatively cool, the Anza Expedition had traversed the most arid region of North America. Men and livestock relied on the infrequent oases and natural cisterns, and after a month of trial and error they opened a trail from the Colorado River across the barren Imperial and Mexicali valleys to the San Jacinto Mountains.  

After a needed rest, Anza reached the presidio of Monterey sometime between April 18, 1774 C.E. and May 1, 1774 C.E. They had finally reached Monterey, California. This difficult three month expedition and journey was plagued with frequent bouts with starvation. Fortunately, Juan Bautista had accomplished his goal of discovering the much needed overland supply route. This effort would expand Spanish settlement in California. Anza had successfully found an overland route and traveled to the newly established Presidio of Monterey, California. His mission was successful. It would ensure Juan's advancement and appointment by the King of España to Teniente de Coronel. Juan’s expedition of discovery has also secured him a place in history. The question remained, whether it could be used for large-scale expeditions.  

After staying only three days in Monterey, the confident explorer, Anza, would retrace his route. By May 5, 1774 C.E., he was again at San Gabriel.  

By May 28, 1774 C.E., he completed the return trek to Tubac. Unbelievably, his expeditionary force had returned back in Tubac, Arizona by the end of May. Anza upon his return was then promoted to teniente de coronel.  

Later, Anza reported to Bucareli in Méjico City and delivered his diaries.

In August, 1774 C.E., Naval Officer Manuel de Ayala y Aranza arrived in Vera Cruz and proceeded to Méjico City to receive orders from the Virrey, Don António María de Bucareli y Ursúa regarding Alta California.

Also, in 1774 C.E., an exploration expedition led by Capitán Fernando Rivera y Moncada began explorations for a suitable site for the Misión of San Francisco. Charged with another survey of the "Port and River of San Francisco," Rivera commanded 16 Lanceros, a muleteer, two servants and one fray, another native of Mallorca, Fray Francisco Palóu. The 21 riders left Monterey on November 23, 1774 C.E.

By November 24, 1774 C.E., Capitán Juan Agustín Bautista Anza was ordered by Virrey Bucareli to return to California from Tubac via his earlier established overland route. Virrey Bucareli had turned to the experienced Capitán Juan Agustín Bautista Anza of the Tubac Presidio, in present-day Arizona, to found the San Francisco presidio and provide the Christianized Méjicano and Native American pobladores for the misiónes.  

The new overland Settlement Expedition was to arrive, settle, and exercise control of the region. At this point in time, the Españoles had no ships stationed in the area with which to go further north and provide any meaningful control across the Bay. Anza would eventually leave with a group of pobladores and twenty-eight soldados to found a new misión and presidio on the bay of San Francisco. Some 136 pobladores were enlisted, and, with two Franciscans, two officers, ten soldados, and thirty-one muleteers.  

By December 4, 1774 C.E. Rivera’s Exploration Expedition halted at "a long lake ending down at the shore" (now Lake Merced in the southwestern part of San Francisco). Rivera continued on with Palóu and four troopers until they reached either what now is called Land's End or perhaps present-day Point Lobos, where they set up a cross. Presents were made to Ssalson Ohlone people of beads and Spanish food, including wheat and frijoles. Palóu records in his diary that the Indians were much taken with the products of European culture and Palóu promised that he would return and help the First Peoples to plant seeds and gather them in great abundance. Palóu believed that the Ohlone were pleased, understood him and would help build houses when he returned to establish a misión.  

Rivera’s Exploration Expedition headed home making their way to Monterey by December 13, 1774 C.E.  

The result of the Rivera Expedition was a plan with a program for second Anza Expedition to settle the area south of the Golden Gate with a presidio and a misión. Here, at the northernmost area of the Spanish possessions in California, Anza’s second expedition, an overland Settlement Expedition, was to facilitate the second phase of these plans.  

The second Anza Settlement Expedition was to be launched immediately, reflecting a settlement mandate. In this mission he was joined again by Gracés and Tarabal. His second-in-command was to be José Joaquín Moraga, an eighteen-year military veteran.  

The strength and number of Anza's Settlement Expedition has been subject of debate. Anza's diary indicates 240. However, recent analysis of his letters suggests it might have been closer to three hundred.  

Recruits were also gathered at the Presidio of San Miguel de Horcasitas, Sonora's provincial capital. There, Anza had chosen as his Teniente, José Joaquín Moraga. Fray Pedro Font, a Franciscan misiónero, was picked as expedition Capellán for his ability to read latitudes.



By January of 1775 C.E., Anza was now thirty-nine years old when would begin organizing his second expedition to Alta California in Méjico City. His goal was to settle the San Francisco Bay.

Bucareli sent de Ayala y Aranza to San Blas where he took command of the schooner Sonora, part of a squadron under the general command of Don Bruno de Heceta, in the frigate Santiago. The squadron sailed from San Blas early in 1775 C.E. However, when they were lying outside San Blas about to set out, the commander of the packet-boat San Cárlos, Don Miguel Manrique, was taken ill. Ayala y Aranza was ordered to take command of this larger vessel, sailed back to San Blas to return the unfortunate Manrique. He and rejoined the squadron after a few days' sailing. Ayala y Aranza was designated to pass through the strait and explore what lay within, while the Santiago and Sonora continued northwards.

The Anza second expedition to Alta California’s main force would include Padre Pedro Font, three officers, eighteen veteran soldados from the presidios of Sonora and Tubac, and twenty recruits. Anza would recruit pobladores in the large city of Culiacán, Province of Sinaloa Méjico in March of 1775 C.E. He enlisted volunteers there who were poorer people which were more likely to accept the rigors of an arduous trek to start a new life.  

As Juan prepared for his next accomplishment, he continued recruiting through April and May. His efforts also took him to find recruits in the villa of El Fuerte in the Province of Sinaloa and Alamos in Sonora.  

Eventually accompanying the main force would be twenty-nine women (wives of the soldados), four volunteer families, 128 children, twenty muleteers, three vaqueros, three servants, and three Indian interpreters. The expedition would also bring 695 horses and mules, and 355 cattle for the purpose of food and future livestock expansion in the northern Nueva España region. Additionally, Anza would recruit some 170 pobladores, most of whom had been living on the edge of poverty.  

Anza remained the summer in Horcasitas, the capital of Sonora. There he spent time training his new recruits for the difficulty that lay ahead. The crossing of Apache country would be no easy matter.

In the early 1770s C.E., the Spanish royal authorities had also ordered a naval exploration of the north coast of California, "to ascertain if there were any Russian settlements on the Coast of California, and to examine the Port of San Francisco." By this time, Don Fernando Rivera y Moncada had already marked the point for a misión in what is now San Francisco. Also, a Land Expedition to establish Spanish rule over the area, under Juan Bautista Anza would be sent northwards.

Juan Manuel de Ayala y Aranza, then a teniente was one of those assigned to the naval expedition. In 1775 C.E., 30-year-old de Ayala y Aranza (December 28, 1745 C.E.-December 30, 1797 C.E.) was one of those preparing the way for Spanish settlement in northern California. De Ayala y Aranza was a Spanish naval officer, born in Osuna, Andalucía. He entered the Spanish navy on the September 19, 1760 C.E., and rose to achieve the rank of Capitán by 1782 C.E. He would retire on full pay due to his achievements in California on March 14, 1785 C.E.

As the skipper of the packet-boat San Cárlos, de Ayala y Aranza sailed from San Blas with supplies for the proposed settlement. His other duties included the charting of the bay and its shoreline, and ascertaining whether a navigable passage existed to the inland waterway from the sea. Finally, Ayala sought to learn whether a port could be established there.

The packet-boat San Cárlos took on supplies at Monterey, leaving there on July 26, 1775 C.E. and then proceeding northwards.

On August 4, 1775 C.E. the San Cárlos arrived just outside present-day Golden Gate. Ayala y Aranza passed through the Golden Gate on August 5, 1775 C.E., with some difficulty and great caution because of the tides. He tried a number of anchorages, finding that off Ángel Island most satisfactory, but failed to make contact, as he had hoped, with Anza's party. That morning, Ayala sent his First Piloto, José de Cañizares, into the harbor with a longboat. That evening he followed, anchoring somewhere near what became North Beach. Ayala y Aranza then placed a wooden cross where he landed the first night. This was the first European ship to enter this great bay.

On August 12, 1775 C.E., de Ayala y Aranza gave the name Isla de Alcatraces (Alcatraz), "island of the pelicans," and what is now Yerba Buena Island, "on account of the abundance of those birds that were on it."

For some next 44 days, de Ayala y Aranza and Cañizares completed a thorough reconnaissance before the San Cárlos headed back to Monterey on September 18, 1775 C.E. Returning to San Blas Shortly thereafter, de Ayala y Aranza enthusiastically reported to the Virrey giving a full account of the geography of the bay. He reported the fine harbor presented "a beautiful fitness, and it has no lack of good drinking water and plenty of firewood and ballast." He also concluded that it possessed a healthful climate and "docile natives lived there." A chart of the Bay of San Francisco was prepared by José de Cañizares.

In short, he stressed its advantages as a harbor. This was that chiefly the absence of "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."

Recognizing the perils that lay before him, Anza later relocated his military operations from Horcasitas to Tubac in mid-October of 1775 C.E. It is situated on the Santa Cruz River. This was the original Spanish Settlement Period guarnición in Arizona. There he continued preparations.  

His stay at Tubac lasted only until October 23, 1775 C.E. Juan Bautista Anza’s Settlement Expedition departed from the Northern Nueva España town of Tubac, Arizona on the route established the preceding year. The Expedition resembling a traveling village, left with 240 pobladores, heading to the San Francisco Bay in Alta California. In the journal he kept of the journey, Anza recorded the following number of travelers: Comandante Juan Bautista Anza; Three frayles; 40 Spanish soldados; 29 women who were the wives of the soldados; one hundred thirty-six other family members, including children of the soldados as well as four other volunteer families that did not include soldados; fifteen Muleteers; seven servants of the frayles and of Capitán Anza; five Indian interpreters; three others; and a commissary. Animals in the expedition included 165 pack mules carrying supplies, 320 Horses, and 302 cattle. Their 500-mile journey would lead them on horseback across rivers, deserts, and snowy mountains, through territory that had been traveled by only a few Spanish explorers before them.


Anza Expedition Roll Call

Some of those who left Tubac on Monday October 23, 1775 C.E.


Sargento Juan Pablo Grijajva
and his wife, María Dolores València
María Joséfa
María del Carmen

Cabo Domíngo Alviso
and his wife, María Angela Trejo
Francisco Javier
María Loreto

Cabo José Valerio Mesa
and his wife, María Leonor Barboa
José Joaquín
José Ignacio

Ignacia Dolores
María Manuela
Joséf António

Cabo Gabriel Peralta
and his wife, Francisca Javier Valenzuela
Juan José
Luis María
Pedro Reglado
María Gertrudis

Juan António Amezquita
and his wife, Juana María de Guana
Manuel Domíngo
and his wife Rosalia Zamora
María Joséfa
María Dolores
María Getrudis
María de los Reyes

Justo Roberto Altamirano
with his wife, María Loreta Delfina
José António
José Matiás

José Ramón Bojorques
and his wife, Francisca Romero
María Antónia (married Tiburcio Vásquez)
María Gertrudis
María Michaela
(married Ignacio Anastacio Higuera)

Ignacio Linares
and his wife, María Gertrudis Rivas
María Gertrudis
Juan José Ramón
María Juliana

Cárlos Gallegos
and his wife, María Joséfa Espinosa 


Juan Salvio Pachéco
and his wife, María del Carmen del Valle
Igrnacio Gertrudis
Bartoloméo Ignacio
María Bárbara

José António Garcia
and his wife, María Joséfa de Acuna
María Graciana
María Joséfa
José Vicente
José Francisco
Juan Guillermo

Pablo Pinto
and his wife, Francisca Javier Ruelas
Juan María
Juana Santos & husband Casimiro Varela
Juana Francisca
José Marcelos 

António Quitero Aceves
and his wife, María Feliciana Cortes
María Petra
José Cipriano
María Gertrudis
Juan Gregorio
José António

Ignacio María Gutiérrez
and his wife, Ana María de Osuna
María Petronia
María de los Santos

Diego Pascual (baby)
who was born on the Gila, en route 

Ignacio de Soto
and his wife, María Bárbara Espinosa
María Antónia
José António

José Manuel València
and his wife, María de la Luz Munos
María Gertrudis
Francisco María
Ignacio María

Luis Joaquín Alvarez
and his wife, María Nicolása Ortiz
Juan Francisco
María Francisca 

José António Sánchez
and his wife, María de los Dolores Morales
María Joséfa
José António
Ignacio Cardenas (

Joaquín Isidro de Castro
and his wife, María Martina Botiller
Ignacio Clemente
María Joséfa
María Encarnacion
María Martina
José Maríano
José Joaquín
Francisco María
Francisco António
Cárlos António

Manuel Ramirez Arellano
and his wife, María Agueda de Haro
José Maríano

Felipe Santiago Tapia
and his wife, Juana María Cardenas
José Bartoloméo
Juan José
José Cristóval
José Francisco
José Victor
María Rosa
María Antónia
María Manuela
María Ysidora

Juan Francisco Bernal
and his wife, María Joséfa de Soto,
sister of Ignacio
José Joaquín
Juan Francisco
José Dionisio
José Apolonario
Ana María
María Teresa de Jesús
Tomás Januario 

Juan Atansio Vásquez
and his wife, María Gertrudis Castelo
José Tiburcio (married Antónia Bojorques)
José António
Pedro José 

Juan Agustín Valenzuela
and his wife, Petra Ignacia de Ochoa
María Zepherin 

Santiago de la Cruz Pico
and his wife, María Jacinta Vastida
José Dolores
José María
José Miguel
Francisco Javier
María Antónia Tomása
María Joséfa 

José Vicente Felix
and his wife,
Manuela Piñuelas, who died in childbirth, the only person to die on the expedition.
José Francisco
José Doroteo
José de Jesús
José António Capistrano
María Loreta
María Antónia
María Manuela 

Sebastián António López
and his wife, Felipa Neri (or Felipa Zermana)
Sebastián António
María Tomása
María Justa 

José António Sotelo
and his wife,  Gertrudis Peralta (or Manuela Gertrudis Buelna)
Juan António

Pedro António Bojorques
and his wife, María Francisca de Lara
María Agustína


José Manuel Gonsáles
and his wife, María Michaela Ruíz
Juan José
María Gregoria
María Anna  

Nicolás Galindo
and his wife, María Teresa Pinto
Juan Venancio

Cristóbal (Gregorio António) Sandoval
(married María Dolores Ontiveros)

Nicolás António Berreyesa
accompanied by his sister, Isabel (unmarried)

María Feliciana Arballo
widow of José Gutiérrez
María Tomása Gutiérrez
María Estaquia Gutiérrez

Señora Duarte (wife of Soldado Duarte already in California) and their three children


Don Francisco Munos
Pedro Pérez de la Funte
Marcos Villela

At least three,
including Sebastián Tarabal 

Don Juan Bautista de Anza
Fray Pedro Font  
Fray Francisco Garcés
Teniente Don José Joaquín Moraga
Sargento Juan Pablo Grijalva
Don Maríano Vidal
, Commissary

Padre Font wrote in his diary that when the vaqueros, muleteers, servants, and Indian interpreters were counted and added to the above list, a total of 240 people were counted. He later states in his diary that about 193 people remained in California. In a similar list that Anza put together, he estimated that over 191 people left Tubac. Both Font and Anza were unsure as to the exact number, and so we may never know all the people who were on the 1775 C.E.-1776 C.E. expedition.


With planning and preparation having been completed, he left with approximately three hundred volunteers and one thousand head of livestock. Whatever the number, it was a sizable group. They would finally leave from the final staging area Tubac, having been delayed by Apache raids. The Apaches had driven off the entire herd of 500 horses three weeks prior to the expedition's arrival, forcing it to continue with no fresh mounts. The contingent had no wagons or carts. All supplies were loaded on pack mules. This meant that his troops had to load the mules each morning and unload them when they reached their destination. Food supplies included six tons of flour, frijoles, cornmeal, sugar, and chocolate, loaded on and off of pack mules every day. Materials from cooking kettles to iron for making horseshoes added more tonnage. The Comendador and his servants had a tent, as did Fray Font and his assistants. The families, vaqueros, muleteers, and soldados shared ten tents among them.  

The goal of the Expedition was to establish a Catholic misión and military presidio near the mouth of the bay, and to secure the area for the Corona Española. The Expedition was expected to be so difficult that the Spanish virrey had to promise to pay for the pobladores’ clothing, food, and supplies for years to come, and still only the poorest families volunteered, in the hopes of a better life in Alta California. Most of the people in the group knew they would never again return to their homes in the settled regions of Méjico. They had to bring things with them what they would need to survive in the new land they were going to, a land they had never seen, where no Españoles had settled before them.  

The first night out, the group suffered its only death en route when María Manuela Piñuelas died from complications after childbirth. Her son lived. Two other babies born on the trip brought the total number of pobladores to 198. Of these, over half were children 12 years old and under. At San Xavier del Bac (located about 10 miles south of today’s downtown Tucson, Arizona), Fray Font presided over the woman's burial and the marriage of four couples. Departing from San Xavier del Bac, the expedition left behind the last Spanish settlement until Misión San Gabriel.  

Guiding them across Baja California's formidable landscape was no easy task. Anza's Settlement Expedition slowly made its way northward, up the Santa Cruz river valley, past what is now present-day Tucson. It then followed the Gila River west until it intersected with the Colorado River. While they camped, Anza, Font, and a few soldados visited Casa Grande, which was already known as an ancient Indian site. There were frequent bouts of sickness affecting the party and its animals. These delayed progress, as did the birth of a second baby.  

The Settlement Expedition finally reached the Colorado River on November 28, 1775 C.E. They were assisted in crossing the Colorado by Olleyquotequiebe (Salvadór Palma), chief of the Yumas (Quechan), whose tribe had befriended Anza on his 1774 C.E. trek. With assistance from the Yumas it was crossed without incident.  

On December 4, 1775 C.E., the Anza Expedition parted company with the Yumas and Padre Gracés. These stayed behind to begin their misiónero work.  

As the party followed the Colorado River west, Anza divided the Expedition into four separate groups. He did this in hopes that by staggering the groups, in this way they would each make better use of available water supply. Anza also thought that separate groups made for better foraging. The Expedition now constituted three groups of pobladores and one of livestock, each traveling one day apart.  

Mid-December’s weather was unseasonably cold. Temperatures and weather conditions alternated daily between wet and dry. Life on the trail was miserable due to these conditions. Clothing became wet and damp from the rain and snow, increasing the chance of illness. The dry weather caused thirst for the Expedition. Later, the cattle stampeded resulting in the loss of fifty cows. This limited the food supply for the pobladores in California. Just before Christmas, Anza's party had made their way into Coyote Cañon what is now Anza Borrego Desert State Park. There they regrouped. On Christmas Eve a third baby was born.  

On December 26, 1775 C.E., the Settlement Expedition finally reached a pass, the gateway to Alta California.  

They reached San Gabriel on January 4, 1776 C.E. Upon the Expedition’s arrival at Misión San Gabriel Arcángel (In San Gabriel, California), the European population of Alta California was doubled. However, Misión San Gabriel was only to be a stopover.  

There the Expedition regrouped and later forged ahead. They finally continued up the Pacific Coast in mid-February, 1776 C.E. From there they followed known trails through Indian villas along the coast of California, visiting Misión San Luís Obispo de Toloso and Misión San António de Padúa. Misión San António de Padúa is a Spanish misión was established by the Franciscan order in present-day Monterey County, California, near the present-day town of Jolon. Founded on July 14, 1771 C.E., it was the third misión founded in Alta California. The Expedition remained there longer than anticipated. Due to hostilities between Spanish pobladores and the Kumeyaay Indians around San Diego, Anza was recruited by the Comandante of California, Capitán Fernando Xavier de Rivera y Moncada, to suppress the rebellion.  

To their credit, the Capitán Juan Bautista Anza Settlement Expedition arrived in Monterey, California area from Sonora on March 10, 1776 C.E. with 240 pobladores and 1,000 head of domestic stock. It was also in that year that España named Monterey the official capital of Baja and Alta California. Anza had arrived with some of the first pobladores for Spanish California with most of them bound for San Francisco. Monterey’s soldados and their wives lived at the Royal Presidio (located where the San Cárlos Cathedral now stands) struggled to create a pueblo and raise families.  

The Expedition finally reached the Monterey Presidio and Misión San Cárlos del Carmelo on March 11, 17 76 C.E., after 130 days and nearly two thousand miles. Unfortunately, after surviving the long and treacherous journey, the pobladores would be forced to wait several months before being allowed to settle San Francisco. Citing his own 1774 C.E. exploration of the bay, Capitán de Rivera y Moncada declared San Francisco unsuitable for settlement. He ignored Anza's report and refused to grant permission for the establishment of a settlement.  

While the larger group waited, Anza took a small group to explore San Francisco Bay. Although several earlier expeditions had explored the region, no appropriate site for settlement had yet been determined. By March 23, 1776 C.E., Anza had left his weary fellow sojourners at this location and took an advanced party from Monterey to select the new outpost of el Imperio Español. From there Anza led a party of twenty men including Fray Pedro Font onward to the San Francisco Bay to investigate possible sites for the new presidio.  

Fray Font was another of the gifted Franciscans to chronicle early California history, but only for a short period because he was there in connection with the second Anza expedition. Born in Geróna, Cataluña, he came to Méjico in 1763 C.E. Within a decade, he moved to Sonora as a misiónero among the Pimas. Upon his return with Anza in 1776 C.E., he would go to San Miguel de Ures. There, the Fray completed the short version of the diary that gained him fame, the longer edition being completed in 1777 C.E. Three years later, Fray Font would die at Caborca. Font included a map of the Port of San Francisco in his diary.  

According to an account kept by Fray Font, on March 27, 1776 C.E., "the weather was fair and clear, a favor which God granted us during all these days, and especially today, in order that we might see the harbor which we were going to explore." After a march of four hours, they "halted on the banks of a lake or spring of very fine water near the mouth of the port of San Francisco," today's Mountain Lake. This spot afforded a resting place for the tired riders. Then, Anza took Fray Pedro Font and four soldados to scout further.  

Anza reconnoitered the northern end of the San Francisco peninsula. Going to the northernmost tip of San Francisco Bay's peninsula and looking down from Cantil Blanco or White Cliffs, Anza had seen enough. He ordered the party back to camp. There, Fray Font set down his somewhat over-optimistic impressions: "This place and its vicinity has abundant pasturage, plenty of firewood, and fine water, all good advantage for establishing here the presidio or fort which is planned. It lacks only timber, for there is not a tree on all those hills, though the oaks and other trees along the road are not very far away. Here and near the lake there are "yerba buena" and so many lilies that I almost had them inside my tent." Font continued and, for one of the first times, clearly used the term San Francisco as the name of the great bay: "The port of San Francisco is a marvel of nature, and might well be called a harbor of harbors, because of its great capacity, and of several small bays which it unfolds in its margins or beach and in its islands."  

Followed the Pacific Coast northward, the Expedition sighted the bay of San Francisco on March 28, 1776 C.E. He recommended a mesa overlooking the entrance to the bay as the location of the projected presidio and the area of Arroyo de los Dolores on the interior of the bay for the misión. There he chose sites for the presidio and the misión. Anza returned to the Cantil Blanco of the previous day to erect a wooden cross. This was at or near the present-day toll plaza on the south side of the Golden Gate Bridge. This action marked the formal act of possession for España. Anza also selected the ground where the cross stood as the spot for a presidio to protect the region. Then the party further surveyed the immediate area.  

Anza was to follow orders and next explore the "River of Saint Francis." He would travel the east side of San Francisco Bay before turning south to return to Monterey.  

Fray Font recorded: "On leaving we ascended a small hill and then entered upon a mesa that was very green and flower-covered, and an abundance of wild violets. The mesa is very open, of considerable extent, and level, sloping a little toward the harbor. It must be about half a league wide and somewhat longer, getting narrower until it ends right at the white cliff. This mesa affords a most delightful view, for from it one sees a large part of the port and its islands, as far as the other side, the mouth of the harbor, and of the sea all that the sight can take in as far as beyond the farallónes. Indeed, although in my travels I saw very good sites and beautiful in all the world, for it has the best advantages for founding in it a most beautiful city, with all the conveniences desired, by land as well as sea, with that harbor so remarkable and so spacious, in which may be established shipyards, docks, and anything that might be wished. This mesa the Comandante selected as the site of the new settlement and fort which were to be established on this harbor: for, being on a height, it is so commanding that with muskets it can defend the entrance to the mouth of the harbor, while a gunshot away it has water to supply the people, namely, the spring or lake where we halted. The only lack is timber for large buildings, although for huts and cuarteles and for the stockade of the presidio there are plenty of trees in the groves."  

A story is recounted about the naming of San Francisco by California's first historian and the first Franciscan pastor of misión Dolores, Fray Francisco Palóu. In 1768 C.E., José de Gálvez, the Inspector General of Méjico, informed Junípero Serra of the names to be given to the misiónes to be established in Alta California. Serra remonstrated, saying, "Is there then to be no misión for Our Father San Francisco?" De Gálvez jested, "If San Francisco wants a misión, let him cause his port to be discovered, and it will be placed there!" As fate would have it, San Francisco would lead España to this future port. Seven years after that, Juan Bautista Anza had marched north from Pueblo San Diego with a Settlement Expedition to establish a Spanish presidio and misión named San Francisco.  

Fray Pedro Font had accompanied that San Francisco Settlement Expedition, and kept copious notes about the journey in his journal. The following excerpts by Fray Font recount the group’s experiences while traveling from the South Bay Peninsula through an area which today is the Santa Clara Valley. They provide some striking images of the world that the Españoles encountered: “Friday, March 29, 1776 C.E. We traveled through the valley some four leagues to the southeast and southeast by south, and crossed the arroyo of San Mateo where it enters the pass through the hills. About a league before this there came out on our road a very large bear, which the men succeeded in killing. There are many of these beasts in that country, and they often attack and do damage to the Indians when they go to hunt, of which I saw many horrible examples. When he saw us so near, the bear was going along very carelessly on the slope of a hill, where flight was not very easy. When I saw him so close, looking at us in suspense, I feared some disaster. But Cabo Robles fired a shot at him with aim so true that he hit him in the neck.  

On Saturday, March 30, 1776 C.E, Fray Pedro Font offered, “On beginning to go around the head of the estuary we found another villa, Indians from there showed great fear as soon as they saw us, but it was greatly lessened by giving them glass beads. One of the women, from the time when she first saw us until we departed, stood at the door of her hut making gestures like crosses and drawing lines on the ground, at the same time talking to herself as though praying, and during her prayer she was immobile, paying no attention to the glass beads which the Comandante offered her.”  

His task accomplished, Anza decided to return to Monterey on April 4, 1776 C.E. After this survey of the bay, Anza returned from Monterey to Méjico, and his second in command, Teniente José Joaquín Moraga, took command of the Settlement Expedition to lead it to its final destination.   

On April 5, 1776 C.E., the Friday before Palm Sunday, Señor Comandante Coronel Juan Bautista Anza explored a creek and lake. This day was traditionally called the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (Nuestra Señora de los Dolores). He gave them both the name "Dolores." The Misión San Francisco de Asís has as its common name "Misión Dolores," taken from the name of the now vanished Lake Dolores and Dolores Creek. However, neither Font nor Anza would have to deal with the actual establishment of a settlement since both men left the bay area for Monterey on April 5th, arriving there some three days later, on April 8th.  

By April 14, 1776 C.E., at age forty, Anza and Fray Font left Monterey for Méjico City. Upon his arrival there, Anza would receive another promotion and a new assignment destined to take him away forever from California. Upon his triumphant return to Méjico City, Anza was made Comendador of all the troops in Sonora to be effective in the fall of 1776 C.E.  

Anza arrived at the Presidio of Horcasitas in Sonora on June 1, 1776 C.E.  

The year-long journey proved difficult. Four volunteers died that year. One would die from complications associated with childbirth. The other three died from the plague which struck the town of Horcasitas while they were there preparing for the journey that summer. In total, there were nine live births and five miscarriages suffered by volunteers of the expedition between Culiacán, Sonora, and San Gabriel, Alta California.  

The presidio at San Francisco would be established in June 1776 C.E., by an expedition which set out in two parts. One, the original Anza Settlement Expedition would leave from Monterey and go by land, the other by sea. The objective of both was the bay named in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, hence, San Francisco.  

With Anza having left for Méjico, it fell to José Joaquín Moraga to lead the final leg of the Settlement Expedition northward. Moraga would serve as both as comandante and habilitado or authorized person/deputy of the Presidio of San Francisco from its founding until his death on July 13, 1785 C.E. The son of José Moraga and María Gaona, he hailed from Misión Los Santos Ángeles de Guevavi, in today's Arizona, where he was born on August 22, 1745 C.E.  

On June 17, 1776 C.E., Capitán Fernando Xavier de Rivera y Moncada later relented allowing Teniente Moraga to finally move the pobladores from Monterey to San Francisco Bay to build the presidio and found the misión. Ten days later, they achieved their goal. They set about building Misión San Francisco de Aísi.  

Moraga had departed Monterey on June 17, 1776 C.E., with some 193 weary pobladores (both soldados and Ciudádanos, some with families and other single adventurers) made ready for a new life at San Francisco Bay. Here is an excerpt from Moraga’s correspondence in which he describes that final leg of the journey: “In the valley of the latter there appeared before us a herd of elk to the number of eleven, of which we got three without leaving our road. This merciful act of the infinite providence of the Most High is noteworthy, for the soldados were by now tired out by the difficulties of the road and weak on account of the customary fare, consisting only of maíz and frijoles, on which they were being fed, a reason why the women with continuous sighs were now making known their great dissatisfaction. But this refreshment of meat appearing before us, and we being able with such ease to take advantage of it, the soldados not only were revived with such a plenty of food, but they were also delighted with the prospect of the abundance of these animals which the country promised. And it is certain, most Excellent Sir, that these elk are of such size and have such savory flesh that neither in quantity nor in quality need they envy the best beef.”  

On June 27, 1776 C.E., the land Settlement Expedition contingent under the command of the Comandante of the new post, Don José Moraga, arrived in the neighborhood of the Golden Gate arriving along the shore of Laguna Dolores, near what is now Albion and Camp Streets in the Mission District. Two Franciscan padres, Fray Francisco Palóu and Fray Benito Cambón, accompanied them. The Expedition had reached the northernmost tip of the San Francisco peninsula, which Anza had previously selected as the site for the military presidio.  

They halted at the site of what became the Misión Dolores. It included Frayles Palóu and Cambón, a few married pobladores with large families, and seventeen dragoons. Moraga's main force had arrived at a Bay Area clearing overlooking the bay and immediately began work on a chapel and a few crude shelters for the guarnición. The expedition had carried with them garden seed, agricultural implements, mules, horses, and sheep. The group would rest there and wait for supplies which the ship, the San Cárlos.  

Part of the Land Expedition contingent, Frayles Palóu and Cambón, five servants, six soldados and families, and one poblador with family would remain to manage the Misión site. Each of the California misiónes had a group of soldados assigned to it by the gobernador. Soldados were sent with the padres each time permission was granted by the government to establish a new misión. The job of the soldados was to protect the misión and the padres.  

The group of four to six soldados assigned to a misión under the command of a Cabo was known as an escolta. The soldados’ were housed in the cuarteles or headquarters barracks. These buildings were usually separate from the misión compound. Each soldado was provided a small bed or cot. It was made of a wooden frame with rawhide tightly stretched over it for a mattress. Cots were arranged in one room, leaving the soldados little privacy. The soldado’s uniform and military equipment were hung on pegs on the wall adjacent to each bed.  

The misión soldados were called soldados de cuera or leather-jackets. This was because of their leather jackets which were sleeveless vest-type jackets made of six or eight layers of tanned deerskin or sheepskin. The jacket acted as protection against arrows, which could not penetrate the thick layers of leather.  

The soldados were also equipped with thick leather chaps or leggings to keep their legs from being cut and scratched when riding through brush. Additional protection was provided by an adarga or shield which the soldado carried it on his left arm. The adarga was composed of two protective layers of raw oxhide.  

Most of the misión soldados were supplied with several horses and a mule. Horses had not been known in the Nuevo Mundo before the Españoles arrived. When riding a horse soldados wore a leather apron. It was fastened to the saddle and hung down on both sides, covering his legs.  

The soldados wore a belt that held bullets and gunpowder across his shoulders. His weapon was a lanza with a long wooden shaft and a sharp metal tip, an espada ancha or short sword with a wide blade, and a short escopeta, a smoothbore .69 caliber flintlock musket. The flintlock musket was a gun with a smooth bore inside the barrel. The spark used to set-off the charge was activated by a flint striking a piece of steel. It wasn’t very accurate when fired, but easy to load.  

Under an enramada or arbor built by Moraga's soldados, Fray Francisco Palóu celebrated the first Mass on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29, 1776 C.E. It is considered the "official birthday" of Misión San Francisco de Asís and of the city of San Francisco. The Misión is named after the founder of the Franciscan Order, Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone and informally named Francesco, is formally known as Saint Francis of Assisi (1182 C.E.-1226 C.E.). Founded under the direction of Fray Junípero Serra, it is the sixth Franciscan misión to be established in Alta California.  

The remainder of the Españoles moved about three miles northwest to establish the Presidio of San Francisco close to the south shore of what is now the Golden Gate channel. Padre Palóu would dedicate the site five days before the American Declaration of Independence was signed.

Although they had arrived at their destination, the pobladores could not begin construction of the Presidio until the arrival of the supply ship San Cárlos, which was delayed in its arrival, taking 42 days to make the voyage from Monterey due to poor sailing conditions.   

This delay caused further hardship for the soldados and their families, as recounted here by Teniente Moraga: “The boat was now tardy and provisions were getting low, so I ordered the sargento to prepare four soldados, two servants, and fifteen mules equipped with pack saddles, so that on the June 30, 1776 C.E., they might go to Monterrey to request some provisions of Don Fernando Ribera and at the same time ask him to supply me with some goods, for the soldados are naked and the cold in these days is severe, and it is a pity to see all the people shivering, especially since they were raised in hot climates and this being the first year in which they have experienced the change of temperature. For this reason I am living in fear that such nakedness may bring upon us some disastrous sickness. It was now necessary to reduce the ration for the soldados until the boat should arrive or the pack train return, and, in order that hunger might not make the people disconsolate, on the same day I detached my sargento with three soldados and six servants with the order that, not sparing any effort whatever, he should see if he could capture some elk, but although he tried hard he was unable to aid us with this succor.”  

Moraga would pass the next several weeks actively exploring the region. On these forays, he concluded that a plain to the southeast of the Cantil Blanco seemed better suited for a military outpost. Don Moraga realized cold fogs often shrouded the windy spot which had been selected by Anza. He may have desired a slightly milder climate than the exposed cliffs selected by Anza. He also sought convenient sources of water, which he found on a good plain in sight of the harbor and entrance, and also of its interior. As soon as he found the location the Teniente decided that it was suitable for settlement. With this in mind, Moraga relocated the main force to the spot he selected. Without waiting for the detachment which was coming by sea, the contingent chose a site for the presidio and began work upon the modest buildings of that station. Seed was planted, the cattle and sheep were put out to graze, and the horses and mules began their work.  

On August 12, 1776 C.E., an Indian attack on people in the area was carried out by the rival Ssalson tribe. From Padre Palóu: “The heathens of the villas of San Mateo, who are their enemies, fell upon them at a large town about a league from this lagoon, in which there were many wounded and dead on both sides. Apparently the Indians of this vicinity were defeated, and so fearful were they of the others that they made tule rafts and all moved to the shore opposite the Presidio, or to the mountains on the east side of the bay. We were unable to restrain them, even though we let them know by signs that they should have no fear, for the soldados would defend them.”  

By mid-August 1776 C.E., work at the misión was on a church and living quarters along with corrales for herds of cattle and horses. Wheat and vegetable crop areas were also laid out and turned for planting.  

In the early stages the main priority was to survive while awaiting sea borne supplies. During this time Moraga's force remained in its rudimentary encampment without any special military preparations.  

That situation changed when the San Cárlos, the Spanish packet-boat under the command of Capitán Juan Manuel de Ayala y Aranza (December 28, 1745 C.E.-December 30, 1797 C.E.) finally arrived on August 17, 1776 C.E. After the ship's Capitán, its Piloto and the ship's Capellán came ashore, they concurred with Moraga's selection for the fort and presidio. With this, the Piloto, Cañizares, laid out: "A square measuring ninety-two varas (ninety yards square each way) with divisions for church, royal offices, warehouses, guardhouses, and houses for soldado pobladores, a map of the plan being formed and drawn by the first Piloto." To expedite construction a squad of Marineros and two carpenters was left to join in to complete a warehouse, the Comandancia and a chapel while the soldados worked on their own dwellings.  

The Royal Regulations of 1772 C.E. required that the presidios be constructed of adobe brick. This was a suitable material and design for presidios on the Southern Spanish Provincias Internas but it was never suitable for the northern climate of Monterey or San Francisco with their high winds and heavy rains. The Moroccan design was meant for the arid climate but the Spanish bureaucracy could not adjust to geography. Wooden or stone buildings were more appropriate for those climates. However the Spanish soldados followed orders and planned a design with an adobe wall and bastions that followed the 1772 C.E. regulations. Consequently, from the beginning the San Francisco Presidio was subject to continual rebuilding. In future, the Presidio would be dependent on the supply ships from San Blas for basic food needs and there were often food shortages.  

The first part of September saw the buildings of the presidio post substantially complete.  

On September 17, 1776 C.E., Teniente José Joaquín Moraga founded the Presidio of San Francisco. With sufficient progress being made, the San Cárlos crew joined the soldados and Ciudádanos and four misiónero priests at a solemn high mass. It was the feast of the Stigmata of Saint Francis. A solemn possession of the Presidio in the name of the King of España was led by the grizzled soldado Moraga, while a mass was celebrated by Palóu. The ceremony of formal dedication was followed by the singing of the Te Deum Laudamus accompanied by the peal of bells and salutes were fired by repeated salvos of Cañónes, muskets, and guns over land and water. A cross was then planted. The roar and sound of the bells doubtless terrified the Natives, who did not allow themselves to be seen for many days. Thus, the presidio of San Francisco was founded.  

October 9, 1776 C.E. is supposedly the ecclesial dedication of the misión church. Moraga's soldados remained about a month and withdrew to found the Royal Presidio near the Golden Gate.  

The ship San Cárlos remained until October 21, 1776 C.E., to provide help in the building of the Presidio and Misión sites.  

On October 10, 1776 C.E., Fray Junípero Serra was taken to the presidio at San Francisco and for the first time looked upon the blue waters of the Golden Gate. Standing upon the summit of the Cantil Blanco he exclaimed: "Thanks be to God, now has Saint Francis, with the holy cross of the procession of the misiónes, arrived at the end of the continent of California; for," he added with pious pleasantry, "to get any further it will be necessary to take to the water.”  

The first marriage was that of Maríano António Cordero, a soldado of the Monterey Company, with Juana Francisca Pinto, daughter of the soldado Pablo Pinto, married, November 28, 1776 C.E.  

By December 1776 C.E., that month saw the first violent encounter with the Españoles and local Indians who had started to return to their villas. According to Spanish reports the Indians were harassing soldados and women. One Indian was caught and flogged while others escaped. Soldados went after the others who denied guilt. As the soldados started toward the Indians they started firing arrows, wounding a horse and soldado. The soldados fired back, killing one Indian and wounding others. Seeing death at a distance, the Indians gave up and the two men accused of abetting the original crime were whipped and told they would be shot if they tried to attack a Spanish soldado again. These events were documented in Padre Palóu’s log.  

The first burial was on December 21, 1776 C.E., being that of María de la Luz Muñoz, wife of the soldado José Manuel València.

The first child born in the new establishment was to the wife of the soldado, Ignacio Soto. The babe was hastily baptised, ab instantem mortem, and named Francisco José de los Dolores Soto.  

The December 31, 1776 C.E., report of the guarda almazen or store-keeper shows a force of thirty-eight men, including officers, eight pobladores, thirteen marineros and servants, two padres (Palóu and Cambón), and one guarda almazen, Hermenegildo Sal: total sixty-two men at the Presidio and Misión. The servants included mechanics, vaqueros, etc., and four marineros landed from the San Cárlos to assist on the buildings and in digging ditches to bring water from the stream. During the winter the adobe walls of the Presidio were begun.  

The walls of the presidio, begun by Moraga in the winter of 1776 C.E.-1777 C.E., were, at the time of Vancouver's visit, 1792 C.E., completed on three sides, but on the fourth, or easterly side, a compromise was introduced by a palisade supplemented by bushes planted to cover its appearance. The adobe walls were fourteen feet high and five feet thick.  

In February 1777 C.E., Anza delivered his reports and diaries to Virrey Bucareli  

In April 1777 C.E., the Presidio of San Francisco was honored by a visit from the Gobernador, Felipe de Neve.  

For Anza’s accomplishments, at age 41, he received appointment as gobernador of Nuevo Méjico on August 24, 1777 C.E. For a time, Anza was forced to delay moving to Nuevo Méjico due to the need to study the potential problems and develop appropriate strategies. He remained just a short while planning for his Nuevo Méjico mission.  

By age 43, Anza led an expedition against Comanches near Pike's Peak in 1779 C.E.  

By 1779 C.E., in an effort to reorganize Nuevo Méjico’s defenses, Anza had imposed self-protected villas and fortified towns consolidating these separate operations into cohesive groups. The loss of previously enjoyed liberties irritated the powerful landowners causing them to complain to higher authorities. Though the litigation continued, Anza went about building the fortified towns, villas, and organized miquelets for self-defense. Satisfied that his fortifications were complete, he quickly turned to security matters. The Comanche Nation was his chief concern and irritant. Largely untouched by smallpox, they remained strong and aggressive. Resistant to Spanish rule and hungry for profit the raiding by the Comanche continued.  

The Gobernador also prepared his soldados and the Ciudádano miquelets for the fight. Several of the soldados listed with Anza are linked directly too many Hispanos who have a history in northern Nuevo Méjico and southern Colorado, including my progenitors the de Riberas. In a recently published book, "Anza and Cuerno Verde-Decisive Battle" the Ribera's: Alfonso, Balthasár, José, and Matiás are shown as having been soldados with Juan Bautista Anza, who went to Colorado to battle Cuerno Verde, the great Comanche chief in 1779 C.E. The oldest brother, Alfonso de Ribera, was born about 1749 C.E. at Santa Fé. Balthasár António de Ribera was baptized on January 12, 17 55 C.E. at Santa Fé. José António, Balthasár’s younger brother, was baptized on June 5, 17 57 C.E. at Santa Fé. Both were soldado sons of my Great (G) G, G, G, G, Grandfather, Salvadór de Ribera, Alférez (Sub-Teniente) of Light Troop, still active in 1781 C.E. Matiás de Ribera baptized on March 7, 1750 C.E., at Santa Fé, was the nephew of Salvadór and the son of António.  

Juan Bautista the founder of San Francisco, California, now faced one of his biggest challenges. After becoming Gobernador of Nuevo Méjico, which included present-day southern Colorado, the relentless Comanche raids were taking a heavy toll on the settlements of the northern Spanish Frontéra. It was his mission to end the bloody attacks, and subdue once and for all, the Comanche. Anza’s purpose for his campaign against the Comanche was to stop their raids and to form an alliance with them. The experienced Indian fighter knew these goals could only be achieved in battle.  

From their position of power and strength, the Comanches conducted frequent raids against the Spanish pobladores and Indian Pueblos in Nuevo Méjico. Unless this was stopped the region’s stability and existence were in question. Its inhabitants were spread out operating estancias and ranchos in isolated areas. The original Spanish pobladores and subsequent waves of settlement had adapted to the land, following isolated water sources and the best grazing areas. This left a large portion of the pobladores open to attack and vulnerable. The aforementioned difficulties would also delay Anza’s efforts to reorganize Nuevo Méjico’s defenses and implement José de Gálvez’s spearhead strategy of moving the Frontéra northward and outward to ensure Spanish domination of their North American continental holdings.  

Anza had a strong military background and was a veteran of many campaigns against the Indians. His primary strategy would rely heavily on the element of surprise by attacking the Comanches from the north instead of coming at them from the south, as others had done. The Gobernador had studied Chief Cuerno Verde and the Comanches carefully. He and his officers understood the geography of the plains that extended from Colorado to eastern Nuevo Méjico. Juan learned from earlier armies sent against the Comanche. They had all taken the mountain pass east of Taos into the Comanche’s territory. The Comanche carefully patrolled the pass and had early warning whenever Spanish troops approached them. Anza concluded the only way to successfully move his troops without notice was to travel up the west slope of the Rockies. His plan was to arrive at a place near the enemy's camp, then have his soldados leave the mountains and outflank the Comanche.  

Both the great Indian Chief and Anza were proven leaders. They had similar reasons for hating each other’s people. Both had lost a father in battle, one to the Españoles and one to the Indians. Anza's father had been killed by the Apaches when he was four years old. Understanding what the Comanche had done, he vowed to lead an expedition to destroy Cuerno Verde. The Españoles had given the chief of the Comanches the name, Cuerno Verde (Greenhorn), because of his penchant for wearing a headdress with a green-tinted buffalo horn. In addition, they both shouldered the responsibility of saving their people from what each perceived as a threat to their very existence. The stage was set for two great leaders to find their place in history.  

By 1779 C.E., Anza was ready to act. He equipped his miquelets with horses and issued military supplies. He then divided the six hundred man miquelets into three divisions to better coordinate the complex actions ahead. Juan next sent out scouts to collect intelligence and report on the enemy.  

Mobilizing his troops, Anza next prepared to move against the Comanches in their own backyard, the never entered homeland of the frontal Rockies. In present-day Colorado, Anza would attack the Comanche in full force, surprising them and defeating them in two running battles. By killing leading war chiefs and successfully defeating the Comanche, he would embolden the Utes to join the Españoles against their traditional enemies, the Comanches. The Utes would kill many Comanches. The combined assaults would lead to the eventual surrender and cooperation from the once powerful Comanche.  

Anza moved forward with five hundred and sixty-three men and fifteen hundred horses. Marching north to Colorado, he was to find Cuerno Verde, engage him, and defeat his forces.  Leading an expedition across Nuevo Méjico and Colorado to conquer the rebellious Comanches was no easy matter. Recognized as the "Kings of the Plains" in the 18th-Century C.E., the Comanches lived up to their reputation. Anza knew victory could only be achieved by invading the Comanche’s homeland and capturing or killing Chief Cuerno Verde who was responsible for destroying many towns and killing hundreds. Cuerno Verde, whose father was killed on one of these raids, had vowed to expel the Españoles by any means possible.  

The plan was successful. Anza’s troops crossed over the ridges of the Front Range just below Pike's Peak and attacked the Indians from behind. He learned that Cuerno Verde had gone to pillage Nuevo Méjico and was returning to his camp along the Arkansas River. By 1779 C.E., Anza’s scouts had located the Comanches’ position. The stance taken by both men, as the sun set behind the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains on September 2, 17 79 C.E., is as dramatic as any movie plot. Two warriors bent on winning.  

Darkness, however, offered them a reprieve from next day’s inevitable showdown. Anza and his soldados crossed the Arkansas River and engaged the Comanches under the command of the much-feared Chief Cuerno Verde. Cornering him near today’s Rye, Colorado, the Españoles killed Cuerno Verde and several of the other headmen. Anza, in his finest military campaign had surprised the Comanches and killed their chief.  

For some years, the exact location of the Anza and Cuerno Verde battle site has been as difficult to find. The decisive battle between the Comanche Chief, Cuerno Verde, and Juan Bautista Anza, Gobernador of Nuevo Méjico, occurred near the Greenhorn Mountains. At a place approximately eighteen miles southwest of present-day Pueblo, Colorado the two met and did battle. On this ground the Españoles finally defeated the feared Comanche.  

Los Comanches-The Play  

Done in the early 1930s C.E, there exists a rare cast portrait of the folk play Los Comanches, in Ensenada, Nuevo Méjico. It is an equestrian auto de entrada which was probably written between 1774 C.E.-1780 C.E. The folk play was most probably written Don Pedro Bautista Pino of Galisteo. He had participated in the Comanche campaigns of the 1770s C.E. and wrote admiringly of his former foes in his 1810 C.E. report on Nuevo Méjico. It is reported that he wrote for the Cortés de Cádiz.

There is a photograph of a rare cast portrait of the folk play Los Comanches taken in the early 1930s C.E. The pobladores of the Ensenada, Tierra Amarilla, and Chama areas most certainly had memories handed down of the Comanche wars. These came mostly from areas further down the Chama Valley which had been abandoned due to intense fighting in the 1770s C.E. A Dr. Roberto Vialpando stated that in the 1980s C.E., he had seen Los Comanches performed in the upper Chama Valley when he was growing up.   

He remembered that the fanciful military uniforms of the “Spanish” soldados were based on 19th-Century C.E. reproductions. The actual 18th-Century C.E. miquelets were soldados de cuera, soldados who used leather armor and broad hats. The “Comanche” warriors were dressed in buckskin or rough cloth with stereotypical plains headdresses characteristic in Nueva Méjico is not present in this picture. The Comanche war chief, Cuerno Verde, has the most distinctive, with its presumably green horn. He along with 40 of his most able warriors and shamans were killed in an ambush by Gobernador Juan Bautista Anza and a combined force of 600 presidial soldados, miquelets, Pueblo auxiliaries, and Utes near present-day Colorado City (between Colorado Springs and Trinidad) in late August, 1779 C.E. Green Horn Mountain, which towers west of the site is named for the chief. The victory play “Los Comanches” conflates episodes from this final campaign and other previous campaigns.  

Identification of the play’s characters is based on the manuscript of Los Comanches published by Aurelio Espinosa in 1910 C.E. The 1930s C.E. era El Rancho production described by Lorin Brown in the WPA files uses a script very similar to Espinosa’s. Names of secondary characters can vary.

Here are the cast members that can be identify, beginning with the two protagonists:

Don Cárlos Fernández - uniformed, 4th from right, holding his sword in front of Cuerno Verde, 5th from right, who does indeed seem to have the horn on his headdress, hanging down and to the right.

Las Pecas - the children captives from Pecos Pueblo from the name, 3rd from right possibly male, 5th from left possibly female, whose costumes and age are consistent with other performances. They are often two females.  The battle is fought over them.

Barriga Duce - the clown figure with gray beard in the front is a greedy camp follower who pillages battlefields and makes fun of other characters. His hilarious tone, his comments, and his behavior contrast with the heroics of the other characters in the play. His wife lies next to him.

In existing scripts, the other 4 Comanche warriors are most often referred to by these names.  Aspects of dress or physical appearance were used for naming Indians:

·       Cabeza Negra - Black Head

·       Oso Pardo - Grey Bear

·       Tabaco - Tobacco

·       Zapato Cuenta - Beaded Shoe


The other 4 Spanish soldados are based on actual historical figures with the following names.  Some productions refer to them with terms of rank like Teniente or Capitán:

·       Don José de la Peña

·       Don Tomás Madril

·       Don Toribio Ortíz

·       Don Salvadór de Ribera (My Progenitor)


The character wearing a cape 7th from right may be an ambassador or officer character.

The 2 figures on far right are “arrimados” or hangers on or helpers perhaps characters in training or new members of the cast who do not have uniforms yet.  

The musicians with guitar and accordion provide music for the entradas, and when Cuerno Verde calls for music in the play. They are comparable to the musicians which play guitar and violin in Alcalde. In Ranchos de Taos, the Comanches music is played with the single headed tombé drum accompanied with Native American style syllable singing.

In the play, Comanche and Spanish characters pair off to deliver boasts and threats face to face. You can tell that Cuerno Verde is with Don Cárlos FernándezDon José de la Peña squares off with Zapato Cuenta. The raised swords are a sign of victory. It’s suggested that the photo was taken after the performance. It would be great to learn more about the identity of the players.  

That same year, 1779 C.E., Anza was proven correct. The Comanche tested his strategy for home defenses while he was fighting in the Rockies. A band of eastern plains Comanche had raided Taos in his absence. Warned about their approach, the Españoles quickly withdrew to their fortified settlement and held the Comanches off. The miquelets had won the day and Anza’s defense policy was proven right.  

Later that same fall, Anza led an expedition to the Hopi country to try to help save that people, who were dying from a long-lasting drought.  

Anza’s successful battle effectively stopped the Indians raids that had plagued Nuevo Méjico. This victory eventually led to a permanent truce with the Comanche. It marked the longest lasting peace treaty ever signed by the Comanches and the governments of España, Méjico or the United States.  

Unification of the Borderlands  

Having secured Nuevo Méjico, Anza was to turn his attention to unifying the Borderlands by establishing a trade route between them. The cornerstone of the strategy was the belief that a trade route from Sonora to Las Californias could be established and proved viable if protected. This would mean that the Provincias Internas would be able to benefit from the commerce that would result from trade with each other and Las Californias. It was hoped that Nuevo Méjico goods would be exchanged for goods coming into Las Californias. In short, Nuevo Méjico needed to eliminate the traditional annual trade trips to Chihuahua, which were long and dangerous. Also, the establishment of routes to Sonora, Tejas, and Luisiana were the answer.


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It was Teodoro de Croix, Comandante-General of the Provincias Internas who planned the venture. The three-part expedition was headed by Coronel Anza and was to proceed from Santa Fé to Tucson. He was to be supported by the Sonora force under Capitán Joséph António Vildósola. A second force under Capitán Francisco Martínez from Nueva Vizcaya was to join them.


The Arizpe, Sonora Route  

The Arizpe, Sonora route was to be the first to be established. Arizpe was the capital of the Provincias Internas. Arizpe was founded in 1646 C.E. by the Jesuit misiónero Jerónimo de la Canal, with one of the Spanish misiónes in the Sonoran Desert. The region of Arizpe was occupied by the Opata Native people. The name Arizpe is a Vasco word "Aritzpe." The word Aritz meaning Oak and Pe means under, thus "Under the Oaks."  

As discussed earlier, in 1775 C.E., an overland Exploratory Expedition approved by the King of España was successfully led by Capitán Juan Bautista Anza with soldados, misióneros, and pobladores. It had located and mapped a more direct land route to, and had established further settlement of Spanish Alta California. The Anza Exploratory Expedition had reached San Francisco Bay in 1776 C.E. There Anza located sites for the Presidio of San Francisco and Misión San Francisco de Asis (In present-day San Francisco, California).  

By 1776 C.E., Arizpe was made the capital of the Spanish Comandancia y Capitanía General de las Provincias Internas. As the capital, Arizpe became a city by the end of the 18th-Century C.E., the first in the Sonora region.  

The Provincias Internas had jurisdiction over several provinces: Sonora and Sinaloa (present-day Somora and Sinaloa, Nueva Vizcaya (present-day Durángo and Chihuahua), Las Californias (present-day Baja California Peninsula and California) Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico (present-day Nueva Méjico), Los Tejas (present-day Texas), New Kingdom of León (present-day Nuevo León), Nuevo Santander (present-day Tamaulipas and southern Tejas), and Coahuila in Nueva Extremadura  (present-day Coahuila and Tejas south of Nueces River).  

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A second disaster occurred in Nuevo Méjico during Anza’s administration. It was the smallpox epidemic of 1780 C.E. through 1781 C.E. By the time it had run its course ten percent of Nuevo Méjico’s population died. The close quarters of the Pueblo Indian settlements proved to be lethal with the vast majority of the deaths occurring in the pueblos.  

At age 44, Anza explored the Hopi pueblos in 1780 C.E. to understand their condition.  

On November 9, 17 80 C.E., Anza left Santa Fé to establish the Sonora trade route with sixty regular army, fifty-five miquelets, and more than thirty Indians.  

His task was done by December 31, 17 80 C.E. Anza opened the trail from Santa Fé to Sonora. Vildósola troops left Sonora to meet Anza, but never made it due to numerous hostile encounters with Indians. Martínez’s troop moved northward from El Paso to support Anza. While he made it to southern Nuevo Méjico, Martínez found neither troop. Unfortunately, Anza’s efforts to establish the Sonora trade route would be abandoned when he fell out of favor with the Provincias Internas, a direct result of the 1781 C.E. Yuma Massacre. The fact of the matter was that Anza's original recommendations had not been followed. Yet, the massacre of soldados, pobladores, and priests at two fortified misión settlements was blamed on him.   

As a result, his dream of a unified frontier ended. Over the five years, 1777 C.E.-1781 C.E., enough pobladores, soldados, and cattle followed Anza's trail to establish two Nueva España pueblos, San José and Los Ángeles. However, after a Yuma uprising in 1781 C.E., Anza's route was abandoned by the Españoles. For at time, Nuevo Méjico would remain isolated and California would be left to fend for itself. The trade routes would finally be established over the years by the Indian tribes and later used by the Españoles and Américanos.  

In the 19th-Century C.E., the Gila River section became part of the Butterfield Overland Mail Route. It was also the last leg of the "southern route" many Americans followed to strike their fortunes in the California Gold Rush.  

What we know of Anza's expeditions we owe to the diaries kept by Anza and those who traveled with him, particularly Padres Font and Gracés.  

My Progenitor, Salvadór de Ribera (Rivera) was one of Anza’s officers during that period. The Muster Roll of March 1, 1781 C.E. — Nuevo Méjico State Records Center and Archives Roll 11, Frame 217-220 (SANMII) (Frame 217) Presidio of the Province of Nuevo Méjico, Royal Presidio of the Villa of Santa Fé follows:  

Cavalleria - Horsemen  

Muster roll executed by the Teniente, with the rank of Capitán, Don Manuel de la Azuela of the Internal Province of the Royal Presidio of Santa Fé, of this company that is guarding, and is responsible this day 1st of March 1781 C.E.




Located at:

Gobernador & Capitán

Don Juan Baptista de Anza


Teniente in charge as Capitán

Don Manuel de la Azuela


“ “

Don Joséph María Cordero

El Paso


Don Joséph Maldonado


Sub-Teniente of Light Troop

Don Salvadór Rivera (de Ribera)


Capellán or Chaplin

Don Juan Bermejo


Armero or Armorer

Roque Lovato


Baterista or Drummer

Joséph Manuel Fragoso

Sonora - Died 20 March 1781 C.E.

That same year, King Cárlos’ request and collection instructions came from the Virrey of Nueva España. The Borderlands including Nuevo Méjico received word in August of 1781 C.E., of the need for contributions for the war effort against England from España. Anza appointed a commission to oversee the collection at each pueblo and villa. The historical record suggests that most males over eighteen years of age contributed. Those contributing would have included the de Riberas, Quintanas, Ceballos, and Lucero de Godoy’s, all of my family lines.  

America is indebted to these Borderland Provinces of Northern Nueva España where my progenitors had lived for generations. The provinces included Nuevo Méjico, Tejas, and California. Each contributed funds to defray expenses of the American Revolutionary War. These Spanish Ciudádanos provided money, arms, food, and men to the cause. They did so while under extraordinary burdens of ongoing Indian wars and regional disasters. It should be noted that the Spanish Nueva España had more than assisting the Revolutionary War to deal with.  

This assumption that all males over eighteen years of age contributed is based upon the total amount collected for each province. Scholars have concluded that the aggregate donation amount closely approximates an amount that the total number of un-exempted males of that age who would have contributed.  

While the Nuevo Méjicanos were fighting Indians and giving money to the cause, Bernardo de Gálvez’s army destroyed the British forces at Mobile. De Gálvez then planned his action against the crown jewel of the Southeast, the British stronghold at Pensacola, Florida. The victories in the West had made it possible for de Gálvez to turn his undivided attention towards the Gulf Coast.   

It was after the Indian battles in which my progenitors, the de Ribera's participated, they would find their way to Pecos, Nuevo Méjico. The family followed the Spanish soldado who had fought with Anza and was later assigned to the Pecos Presidio, Alfonso de Ribera. Both Alfonso and his brother, Miguel Gerónimo, had served the Spanish Corona Española during the American Revolution.  Born about 1749 C.E., Alfonso enlisted in the Spanish Army on March 29, 17 77 C.E., serving at the Presidio de Pecos. His brother, Miguel Gerónimo my direct progenitor, enlisted two years later, on January 11, 17 79 C.E., at the age of twenty-five. Miguel was a small man, only five feet tall. An able soldado, he had a fair complexion, brown eyes, and light brown hair. He was very much a de Ribera.  

Born in 1790 C.E., Juan Rivera (de Ribera), Matiás' great, great, great-grandson was the last to serve as a Spanish soldado. He supposedly reported to the Pueblo at Pecos. It is thought that he fought in the 1805 C.E. battle at the settlement of Cebolleta (Sevietta) at current day Mount Taylor. Juan de Ribera, Alfonso’s Nephew, and niece arrived at Pecos and were adopted by him. Why Alfonso adopted his brother, Miguel Geronimo's (Baptized September 1761 C.E. in Santa Fé), son and daughter is unknown. However, it is known that Juan’s mother, María de la Luz Gurulé, died during childbirth. Miguel then married María Francisca Ortíz at the Military Chapel and La Castrense Church in Santa Fé, Nuevo Méjico on May 6, 1790 C.E.  

In 1782 C.E., Anza at 46 years of age, was promoted to coronel

From the moment Anza was appointed Gobernador, fate conspired against him. A drought began that year and lasted through 1782 C.E. The damage to crops and livestock was disastrous. The local tribes were on the brink of starvation causing more Indian raiding and stealing from the Spanish population. Unfortunately for the Españoles, the Apaches, Utes, Comanches, Navajos and other isolated warlike tribes remained largely untouched by ongoing plagues. These would continue to be a constant threat to the Spanish pobladores and friendly Indians of the region.  

In 1784 C.E., because of political conflicts with Felipe de Neve, Comandante of the Provincias Internas, Anza was suspended from government, charged with misinformation and incompetent judgment in the massacre by Yuma Indians on the Colorado River of Fernando de Rivera y Moncada, four Franciscan misióneros, and over thirty pobladores in July of 1781 C.E.  

The restless Anza asked to be released from his governorship in 1786 C.E., at age 50 his request was granted the following year. He was then made Comandante of the Buenaventura Presidio, previously the Frontéras Presidio. He was made Comandante of all the troops in Sonora shortly thereafter.  

Anza remained gobernador of Nuevo Méjico until November 10, 1787 C.E., as his successor to that post did not arrive until the end of 1787 C.E.  

It is also important to note that during his term, he oversaw the preparation of a map of the province by Bernardo de Miera.  

Anza’s next appointment was as Comandante of the Tucson (now Arizona) Presidio in the fall of 1788 C.E.  

Anza returned to Tubac where, on October 1, 1788 C.E., he was reappointed Comandante, a post he held until his sudden death after a brief illness at the town of Arizpe, where he was interred in the church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción.  

After conducting a review of the troops at Tucson, Anza returned to his home in Arizpe, dying there suddenly on December 19, 17 88 C.E. at the age of 52. The great soldado was buried in the side chapel of Nuestra Señora, de Loreto in the cathedral at Arizpe.  

Anza’s remains would be identified and ceremonially reinterred in 1963 C.E.  

What can be said about Gobernador Juan Bautista de Anza y Bezerra Nieto? He was a soldado of supreme skill and an officer that led men firmly and fairly. Anza was also the consummate explorer. In government he was considered an able administrator. For his time, he succeeded at almost everything he undertook.  

I’m sure that if I asked my progenitor, Don Salvadór de Ribera, Sub-Teniente of Light Troop who served with Anza in 1779 C.E. through 1781 C.E., what kind of man was he?  Salvadór would say that Anza a man of honor and a fine Spaniard.


07/10/2017 01:34 PM