History of Riverside County, California


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HISTORY OF RIVERSIDE COUNTY 9 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 Digitized by ^.ooQle

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