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History of Riverside County, California


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ating influence of the vast wealth so wrongfully acquired in their
conquests, upon the character of the Spanish people. Corruption
among the rulers demoralized her armies and prostrated her indus-
tries. Religious bigotry had driven into exile the most intelligent
and enterprising of her people, and palsied the bravery and spirit
of adventure which had formerly characterized them. Other nations
showed a desire to take advantage of the situation, and the only
way in which to retain the grand territory of Alta California seemed
to be by colonization; but her illiberal treatment of foreign emi-
grants shut the door of progress. Her sparse settlements in Mexico
could spare few colonists. The only way left was to convert the
California Indians and make them citizens.
The Jesuits had long held absolute control of affairs in Lower
California—much more populous then than in recent years—but
when, in 1767, the Spanish king ordered their expulsion from Spain
and all her colonies, the decree of perpetual banishment compelled
their immediate removal. Governor Portola, to whom was intrusted
the enforcement of the decree, turned over all the missions in that
colony to the Franciscans. At the head of the Franciscan contingent
given charge of these missions was Father Junipero Serra, a man
of indomitable will and great missionary zeal. He had had much
successful experience in Mexico in teaching agriculture to the In-
dians. Following his assumption of the care of the missions in a
territory seven hundred miles in extent in Lower California, he
undertook the occupation and colonization of Alta California, this
work to be done by the joint effort of the church and state. It was
decided to proceed to San Diego by land and sea. The vessels were
to carry the heavier articles and the land party to take along the
horses and stock required. The journey by land proved one of great
hardship, and when Portola arrived at San Diego in July, 1769, only
one hundred and twenty-six remained of the party of two hundred
and nineteen who started.
It is a matter of some interest to know that the first expedition
sent overland from San Diego shortly after, under Portola, to estab-
lish the northern missions, took a course very nearly that upon which
the Santa Fe railroad is now located, and that it camped upon the
banks of the Santa Ana river, which stream the commander named
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