Outpost of Empire: The Story of the Founding of San Francisco

Outpost of Empire: The Story of the Founding of San Francisco

Outpost of Empire: The Story of the Founding of San Francisco

Outpost of Empire: The Story of the Founding of San Francisco

Excerpt

THE SEVEN YEARS' WAR GAVE NORTH AMERICA A NEW MAP. FRENCH rule there was ended. England advanced to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River, and the Canadian prairies. Spain found herself in possession of Louisiana, and frowning at England across the Mississippi. Carlos III, Spain's able sovereign, faced grave problems. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of California, clear across the continent, stretched a hostile Indian frontier, as long and as difficult as the Rhine- Danube line which Rome defended against the Germanic peoples in the early Christian era. English frontiersmen pressed against the Louisiana border. Russians threatened Spanish domination on the Pacific Coast.

Here was work enough for any monarch. With characteristic energy, Carlos III adopted vigorous measures. To meet the Indian problem he sent Rubí and O'Conor to arrange a line of presidios extending from Gulf to Gulf. To hold back the English he occupied Louisiana and fortified the line of the Mississippi. To ward off the Russian danger he sent Portolá and Serra to occupy the harbors of San Diego and Monterey.

It was the needs of this Pacific Coast frontier that called forth from comparative obscurity Juan Bautista de Anza. The posts established in New California were symbols of possession, but they were little more. Isolated, and ill supported from a distant sea base, the new province needed overland communication with the settled mainland of Mexico, and a stronger colony to hold the threatened land. Anza responded to the call. The genius and devotion with which he served his country in this time of need made him a distinguished figure. His performance of the strenuous tasks to which he was assigned revealed . . .

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