Diaries & Accounts of the Romero Expeditions in Arizona and California, 1823-1826

Diaries & Accounts of the Romero Expeditions in Arizona and California, 1823-1826

Diaries & Accounts of the Romero Expeditions in Arizona and California, 1823-1826

Diaries & Accounts of the Romero Expeditions in Arizona and California, 1823-1826

Excerpt

The story of the Romero expeditions actually began long before Romero himself entered the scene. Events within Sonora Baja and Alta California had already set in action processes which led to his task. Jose Romero, the individual, remains an enigma in California and Arizona history. We have been unable even to locate his place of birth and death. Neither he nor his expeditions have been extensively referred to, although in his time, his exploits earned for him the military rank of Lieutenant Colonel and his personal fame was lauded in the press of Mexico City.

However, the acquisition of the diaries and accounts which form the basis for this work, some of which are presented here for the first time, provide us with considerable information concerning his activities in the southwest from 1822 until 1826, when Romero apparently vanishes once more from the spotlight of southwestern history.

Geographically the activities of these journeys cover a wide circular area beginning in Arizpe, Sonora, encompassing the Gila River region and northwesterly to the Mojave Indian area north of Parker, southwest to San Gabriel; then south to San Diego and Santa Catalina in Baja California and east from there to the Colorado River and the Yuma Road again to Arizpe. Certain areas were surveyed for the first time by nonindigenous peoples.

The first accounts of these journeys begin in a fragment of a diary written by Father Felix Caballero, in 1823. Caballero, along with an Indian vaquero and a gentile Indian, explored the area between Santa Catalina and the Colorado River, up into Tucson, where he met Romero, who was ordered to accompany the Father back to Santa Catalina with a detachment of soldiers. Unfortunately we have only located a fragment of the Caballero journey, but the return journey with Romero was well documented. We present a translation of the diary in full.

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