Golden Gate Country

Golden Gate Country

Golden Gate Country

Golden Gate Country

Excerpt

In 1775, Rivera y Moncada, Commandante Militar of Monterey and San Diego, galloped across a great valley, floundered through sand dunes, and, drawing rein on the edge of a cliff, cast a scornful glance over a large expanse of inland water that had been recorded on the maps as San Francisco Bay. He decided that this was no site for Presidio or Mission and might as well be left to the Indians paddling their canoes or sweating in their temascals, like the infernally lazy and stupid brutes they were. He whirled about and, leaving his retinue to follow at a more leisurely pace, galloped back to Monterey. His report to the City of Mexico, capital of New Spain, was to the effect that the bay was of no strategic importance, the region unfit for civilized Spaniards to dwell in, and, unlike the beautiful and fertile south, entirely without a future.

But Father Junipera Serra, president of the California Missions, was obdurate and undismayed. It was his fervent wish to establish a Mission near that bay hallowed by the name of the patron saint of California. Bucareli, Viceroy of New Spain, who loved and revered Serra above all men, sent Lieutenant Ayala of the Royal Navy to navigate the Bay of San Francisco. Ayala, although but moderately impressed, did his duty thoroughly and even named two of the islands: Alcatraz and Nuestra Señora de los Angeles.

So it came about that the city of San Francisco, as yet undreamed of, underwent its birth pangs in 1776, that date revered throughout the United States of America.

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