Pedro Fages

Pedro Fages (1734–1794; Catalan: Pere Fages i Beleta) was a Spanish soldier, explorer, first Lieutenant Governor of the Californias under Gaspar de Portolá,[1] and second (1770–74) and fifth (1782–91) Governor of Alta California.

Pedro Fages (Pere Fages i Beleta)
Royal Banner of the Crown of Castille (Habsburg Style)-Variant.svg 5th Governor of Alta California
In office
12 July 1782 – 16 April 1791
Preceded byFelipe de Neve
Succeeded byJosé Antonio Roméu
Royal Banner of the Crown of Castille (Habsburg Style)-Variant.svg 2nd Governor of Alta California
In office
9 July 1770 – 25 May 1774
Preceded byGaspar de Portolá
Succeeded byFernando Rivera y Moncada
Personal details
Guissona, Lérida/Lleida province, Catalonia, Spain
Died1794 (aged 64)
Mexico City
Spouse(s)Eulalia Callis
ProfessionSoldier, explorer, and military Governor of Las Californias
Military service
Branch/serviceEmblem of the Spanish Army.svg Army of Spain
RankOficial5.png Colonel


Fages was born in Guissona, Lérida/Lleida province, Catalonia, Spain. In 1762 he entered the light infantry in Catalonia in 1762 and joined Spain's invasion of Portugal during the Seven Years' War. In May 1767 Fages, commissioned as a lieutenant in the newly formed Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia, set sail from Cádiz along with a company of light infantry, voyaging to New Spain (Mexico). He and his men served under Domingo Elizondo in Sonora.[2][3]

Voyage from Baja California to San Diego

In 1769, Fages was selected by visitador (Inspector general) José de Gálvez to lead the ship-borne portion of the Gaspar de Portolá-led expedition to found San Diego, California. Lieutenant Fages sailed from Guaymas to the Baja California port of La Paz. Then on January 9, 1769, he boarded the galleon San Carlos, captained by Vicente Vila and bound for San Diego. Also on board were Franciscan friar Fernando Parrón, engineer and cartographer Miguel Costansó, surgeon Pedro Prat, and 25 soldiers under Fages' command along with a crew of sailors.[3] After sailing nearly 200 miles (320 kilometers) beyond San Diego due to cartography errors, the San Carlos doubled back south. It finally arrived in San Diego Bay on April 29, with scurvy-ridden troops and crewmen.

Interaction with Kumeyaay Indians

Upon recovering from the ill effects of the voyage, Fages set about carrying out the instructions of José de Gálvez: Along with Miguel Costansó, he reconnoitered the port and inland areas of San Diego, exploring especially today's Mission Valley. In his letter reporting to Gálvez, Fages observed of the local Kumeyaay Indians: "…They appear to be docile and alert. We have made very good friends with them and we are never lacking some little rabbits, hares, and fish that they bring to us. We give them some glass beads. But they value very highly any kind of cloth — no matter how poor it might be — since in exchange for some that I had, I received some furs and nets."[4] Costansó, while branding the Kumeyaay as "lazy idlers," noted that "they have bestowed great affection upon Don Pedro Fages and they also respect him very much. They have invited him at various times to be with their women, an expression of friendship that the rest have not merited. "[5]

Costansó recounts a demonstration Fages arranged to prove the superiority of Spanish firearms: Armed with bows and arrows tipped with "very sharp flints," the Kumeyaay men initially viewed the Spaniards' guns as "simple sticks." Fages ordered a leather target erected at a practical distance. The Indians fired their arrows, which had only a "mild effect" on the leather. Fages then ordered his best marksmen to shoot at the same target. "Upon hearing the noise and seeing the destruction so close at hand, the Indians changed their expressions and some of the more timid ones left, giving very clear signs of their surprise and fear."[6]

Portolá expedition up the California coast

United States Post Office, Berkeley, California - Stierch - 14
Incidents in California History mural at the United States Post Office, Berkeley (detail).
Caption reads: "Pedro Fages and Fray Juan Crespi first white men to set foot on land now Berkeley..."

On July 14, 1769, Fages set out from San Diego with a party of 74 men on the Portolá expedition to locate Monterey Bay. The party included Catalan volunteers, leather-jacketed soldiers, Christian Indians from Baja California, and friars Juan Crespí and Francisco Gómez along with other military officers. During this time he was promoted to captain. Although the party failed to recognize Monterey Bay as they passed it, they explored all the way up the coast to San Francisco. The 74 men returned exhausted to San Diego on January 24, 1770, having had to slaughter and eat their mules on the return trek south.[7]

Second Portolá expedition to Monterey

In the spring of 1770, Fages joined the second overland Portolá expedition from San Diego to Monterey, along with friar Juan Crespí, twelve Catalan volunteers, seven leather-jacketed soldiers, two muleteers, and five Baja Christian Indians — aiming to establish a Catholic mission in Monterey.[8]

After Portolá left California in 1770, captain Pedro Fages was left in charge of the Presidio of Monterey, as the somewhat independent lieutenant-governor of California Nueva (New California) — which, in 1770, became part of Las Californias, and was later split from Baja California to become Alta California. In March 1770 Felipe de Barri, in Baja California, was made governor of both Baja and Alta California (1770–75). But, since Monterey was far away, Fages had free rein to run Alta as acting governor.

Strict discipline to build Monterey presidio

Taking charge of constructing the Spanish presidio (fort) in Monterey, Fages imposed strict discipline on his soldier laborers. He decided the amount of work they had to do in a certain time, harshly punishing soldiers caught resting or rolling a cigarette. Heavy rains punctuated the spring and winter of 1770-1, but Fages permitted no let-up in the work. His soldiers had to trudge through mud to the forest to chop wood, then drag their mules out of the mud and head home. They had no chance to wash or mend their clothes during the six-day work week; Fages told them to do that on Sundays.

On Sundays, they had to carry a week's supply of wood for Fages' kitchen and fetch their own water from the Carmel River some six miles away; clean their weapons; and pass inspection. This work regime lasted a year and a half. Fages' soldiers viewed him as a tyrant, until complaints by the soldiers persuaded padre president Junípero Serra to intervene.[9] Serra told Fages that, as a Christian, he had to observe the sabbath and let his men rest on Sundays.[10] The soldiers raped the Indian women and took them as concubines. At Serra's urging, Fages punished some of the more excessive incidents of sexual abuse, but it did not stop.[9] The two men did not get along and Serra soon made plans to move the mission across the peninsula to Carmel.[11]

Weekly rations for the soldiers consisted of two gallons of corn, a pound of beans, a pound of pinole, half a pound of panocha, and four pounds of meat. The meat, delivered in barrels from the galleon San Antonio, often proved too putrid to eat. Weevils infested some of the corn and meal. The soldiers supplemented their diet by gathering wild herbs and hunting geese on Sundays.[10] They also traded what goods they had like ponchos, knives, daggers and handkerchiefs for food from the Indians. News of the soldiers' harsh treatment and poor conditions gradually reached Mexico, and Alta California became an undesirable assignment.[9]

In late June 1771, Fages wrote to viceroy Carlos de Croix in Mexico to inform him that the Monterey presidio had been built, sending along a simplified map. Fages had also started a large vegetable garden with an irrigation supply, and three plots dedicated to growing wheat, barley, rice and beans. He described the Indians of the Monterey/Carmel area as having well-proportioned bodies but feeble spirits.[12] He also described their dress:

Nearly all of them go naked, except a few who cover themselves with a small cloak of rabbit or hare skin, which does not fall below the waist. The women wear a short apron of red and white cords twisted and worked as closely as possible, which extends to the knee. Others use the green and dry tule interwoven, and complete their outfit with a deerskin half tanned or entirely untanned, to make wretched underskirts which scarcely serve to indicate the distinction of sex, or to cover their nakedness with sufficient modesty.[13]

Expeditions to San Francisco Bay

In November 1770, Fages led an expedition from Monterey by land to San Francisco Bay. Rather than follow Portolá's difficult trail around Monterey Bay to Santa Cruz and along the coast, Fages found an easier route through present-day Salinas and the Santa Clara Valley (today's U.S. Route 101).[14] Fages' new trail became the preferred route, and missions were later established along that road at Mission San Juan Bautista, Mission Santa Clara and Mission San Jose.

From the southern end of the bay, Fages pushed on another day to the farthest camp used by Portolá's scouts of the previous year, at San Lorenzo Creek in modern Hayward, on the eastern shore of the bay. From there, scouts ranged a few miles farther north, to a point where the view opened up, and they became the first Europeans to see the entrance to the great bay (although from the opposite side of the bay), a vantage on the slopes above the bay in modern Oakland[15].

Fages set out again in 1772, following his own newly established inland trail north to San Francisco Bay, and accompanied again by friar Juan Crespí, who kept a daily journal,[16]. Continuing along the eastern shore and pushing on past his previous stopping point, Fages saw for himself the entrance to San Francisco Bay, now known as the Golden Gate. The party continued north along San Pablo Bay but was prevented from going farther north by the Carquinez Strait. Following the bay around to the east, Fages' group climbed the slopes of Mount Diablo and became the first Europeans to see the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the Central Valley of California and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Seeing that it was impossible to cross the wide river without boats, the party looped around to return to San Jose through today's Contra Costa County (roughly following today's I-680 highway).[17]

Messengers from Monterey met the party during its return, informing Fages and Crespí of an emergency. The other Spanish colony, at San Diego, was suffering from severe food shortages. Crespí immediately set out with a pack train to deliver food, but this left Monterey also suffering. The Spaniards had not so far had much luck as hunters in California but, in desperation, Fages ordered that the soldiers set out in small parties to hunt the huge and fearsome California grizzly bear.[18] Fages himself joined the hunt, and earned his nickname l'ós while hunting bears near San Luis Obispo.

Fages' first tenure as commander in Monterey ended in 1774, after he quarreled with Father Junípero Serra, president of the Alta California missions. He was replaced as lieutenant-governor by another veteran of the Portolá expedition, Fernando Rivera y Moncada.

In 1777, Fages was posted to Sonora to fight the Apaches, where he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In 1781 he successfully quelled the Quechan (Yuma) Indian revolt and temporarily reopened the Colorado River crossing of the Anza trail at Yuma, Arizona. The Quechan successfully re-closed the trail for the next 50+ years after Fages and his troops departed, ensuring that the two journeys led by Juan Bautista de Anza were the first, last, and only Spanish expeditions ever to use the trail.

Pedro Fages returned to Monterey in 1777, appointed Governor of the Californias, replacing Felipe de Neve. Monterey replaced Loreto as the capital of the Californias in that year, the Loreto military governorship being replaced by a presidio commander and a civil administrator. In 1804, Las Californias was officially split into Alta California and Baja California.

During Fages' second tenure as governor, two missions were founded: Mission Santa Barbara (December 4, 1786) and La Purisima Mission (December 8, 1787). Reporting on the Carmel mission in 1787, Fages described the area's Indians as the laziest, most brutish and least rational of all the natives discovered between San Diego and San Francisco. He reckoned those qualities — along with the foggy and windy climate, shortage of potable water, high death rate, and language barriers — accounted for the painfully slow progress of mission Carmel.[19]

Concerned over the shortage of skilled artisans in his domain, governor Fages proposed in 1787 that artisans imprisoned in Mexico City and Guadalajara have their sentences commuted to exile in California — provided they serve out their terms at presidios or missions and then stay on as settlers. New Spain's rulers did not act on Fages' proposal.[20] Fages was promoted to colonel in 1789, and resigned his governorship in 1791, at the request of Father Serra. Pedro Fages moved back to Mexico City, where he died in 1794.

Tumultuous marriage

Fages married Eulalia Francesca Josepha Callis on June 3, 1780 in Mexico City. Born October 4, 1758 in Barcelona, Spain, Eulalia was a full generation younger than Pedro Fages. She journeyed to Mexico City with her mother and brother to join her father Agustín Callis, captain of the Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia formed to suppress rebellions by Pima and Seri Indians of Sonora. In 1781, Eulalia and Pedro traveled to Arizpe, Sonora, where Eulalia gave birth to her first child, Pedrito.[21]

When Fages got reassigned to Alta California as governor in 1782, Eulalia and Pedrito remained in Sonora. Then they traveled to Baja California under military escort. Fages journeyed south to Loreto to pick them up. Departing Loreto in July, they arrived in Monterey in January 1783. In the spring of 1784 Pedro and Eulalia, now pregnant, traveled north — Eulalia being carried in a litter — to San Francisco. There they met up with padre president Junípero Serra.[22]

Eulalia found the weather in San Francisco unpleasant and wanted to move to Santa Clara. Fages repeatedly asked the friars running mission Santa Clara to grant Eulalia hospitality there. The friars, feeling it improper for them to host the pregnant señora gobernadora, feigned ignorance of governor Fages' insistent requests. They referred the matter to padre Serra, who seconded their circumspect posture. So Eulalia's second child, María del Carmen, was born in San Francisco in August 1783.[23]

'But let a woman in your life…'

After Eulalia returned to Monterey from San Francisco, she kept pressing her husband to give up his career in California and return to Mexico. Fages wanted to stay on as governor. After a series of quarrels, Eulalia broke off relations with Pedro. When Pedro seemed unfazed by the separation, Eulalia accused him of consorting with an Indian maidservant of their household. Threatening divorce, Eulalia left the house. In February 1785, Fages sought the advice of the friars at Mission Carmel. Friar Matías de Santa Catalina Noriega concluded that Eulalia still had the obligation to live with her husband and tried to persuade her to reunite with Pedro. Eulalia refused, and appealed her case to the bishop. When Fages returned from a trip to Baja California — during which time Eulalia lived at mission Carmel — she finally agreed to move back into her husband's house.

In August 1785, aging friar Francisco Palóu arrived at Monterey from mission Santa Clara, planning to return to Mexico and retire. Fages confided to Palóu that Eulalia still felt unhappy in his house and still wanted to return to Mexico. He asked Palóu to escort Eulalia as far as Guadalajara. Palóu objected that it would be improper for him, a missionary, to escort any woman, even the governor's wife. Instead, Palóu spent a whole day trying to dissuade Eulalia from going to Mexico, pointing out all the hardships the trip would entail. Eulalia finally relented and agreed to stay in Monterey. Apparently dissatisfied with that resolution, Fages threw bureaucratic obstacles in the way of Palóu boarding the ship that would carry him to Mexico — delaying Palóu's departure until November.[24]


In January 1787, Fages wrote a letter to padre Palóu, in which he reported: "[About] six months ago Eulalia suddenly called me one morning with a thousand protests, tears, and humility and asked my pardon for all the past. She voluntarily confessed that everything had been a pretense and falsehood and that she herself had bribed the Indian girl to take part in the plot… Thank God we are now living in union and harmony."[25]

Fictional portrayals

The novel Mistress of Monterey: A Story of Lost Romance in Eighteenth Century California by Virginia Stivers Bartlett (1933, reprinted by Event Horizon Press) draws a psychological portrait of Eulalia Callis in her mercurial relationship with her husband Pedro Fages. Bartlett also sets the tensions between Eulalia and Pedro within the complex interplay between Spanish military officers and Franciscan missionaries in Alta California.

Pedro Fages appears as a minor character in the 1955 film Seven Cities of Gold, which presents a fanciful and historically inaccurate account of the founding of Spanish California. Lieutenant Fages is played by Mexican actor Victor Junco. In the credits, Fages' name is misspelled as "Faces."[26]

Governor Fages and his wife make a brief appearance in the Isabel Allende novel Zorro. Pere Fages is the protagonist of the historical novel La última conquista (2005) by Ramón Vilaró and is a secondary character in Los acasos (2010) by Javier Pascual.


  1. ^ While Portolá was founding Alta California at San Diego and Monterey, he was known as "Governor of the Californias." This ended when Fages succeeded him as Governor of the new Spanish colony of Alta California.
  2. ^ "Pedro Fages and Miguel Costansó: Two Early Letters From San Diego in 1769". Journal of San Diego History, vol. 21, no. 2, spring 1975. Translated and edited by Iris Wilson Engstrand, footnote #10.
  3. ^ a b Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 207.
  4. ^ "Pedro Fages and Miguel Costansó: Two Early Letters From San Diego in 1769". Journal of San Diego History, vol. 21, no. 2, spring 1975. Translated and edited by Iris Wilson Engstrand.
  5. ^ "Pedro Fages and Miguel Costansó: Two Early Letters From San Diego in 1769". Journal of San Diego History, vol. 21, no. 2, spring 1975.
  6. ^ Letter from Miguel Costansó to José de Gálvez, San Diego, June 28, 1769. Journal of San Diego History, vol. 21, no. 2, spring 1975.
  7. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 232, 237.
  8. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 246.
  9. ^ a b c Walton, John (2003). Storied Land: Community and Memory in Monterey. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p. 15ff. ISBN 9780520935679. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  10. ^ a b Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 253.
  11. ^ Paddison, p. 23: Fages regarded the Spanish installations in California as military institutions first, and religious outposts second.
  12. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 253-4, 259.
  13. ^ Priestly, H. I. (1937). A Historical, Political and Natural Description of California by Pedro Fages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  14. ^ Fages, Pedro. Expedition to San Francisco Bay in 1770 (translated and annotated by Herbert Eugene Bolton for publication in 1911). Berkeley: University of California University Press. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  15. ^ Merriman, Frank; Brown, Alan K. (1969). Who discovered the Golden Gate? The explorers' own accounts, how they discovered a hidden harbor and at last found its entrance. San Mateo, Calif.: San Mateo County Historical Association. p. 19. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  16. ^ Bolton, Herbert E. (1927). Fray Juan Crespi, missionary explorer on the Pacific coast, 1769–1774. HathiTrust Digital Library. pp. 275–303. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  17. ^ Merriman-Brown, p.20-21
  18. ^ Merriman-Brown,p.21-23
  19. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, p. 259.
  20. ^ Hubert Howe Bancroft (1884). History of California: 1542-1800. Vol. 1. History Company. pp. 605, 615.(reprinted 2015)
  21. ^ "Eulalia Francesca Josepha Callis Fages..."
  22. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 2, p. 332.
  23. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 2, pp. 332-3.
  24. ^ Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 2, pp. 394-6.
  25. ^ Francisco Palóu, Historical Memoirs of New California, edited by Herbert E. Bolton. Literary Licensing, 2011, vol. 4, p. 379.
  26. ^ "Seven Cities of Gold". 24 February 1956 – via


  • Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1884). The History of California (vol. 1, 1542-1800). San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft & Company.
  • Beebe, Rose Marie; Senkewicz, Robert M. (2015). Junípero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary. University of Oklahoma Press.
  • Fages, Pedro; Priestley, Herbert Ingram (1937). A historical, political, and natural description of California. University of California Press.
  • Geiger, Maynard J. (1959). The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra, O.F.M. (2 vol.). Washington D.C.: Academy of American Franciscan History.
  • Ives, Ronald L. (1968). "From Pitic to San Gabriel in 1782: The Journey of Don Pedro Fages". The Journal of Arizona History. 9 (4): 222–244.
  • Nuttall, Donald (1964). Pedro Fages and the Advance of the Northern Frontier of New Spain, 1767-1782 (PhD). USC.
  • Nuttall, Donald (1977). "Light Cast upon Shadows: The Non-California Years of Don Pedro Fages". California Historical Quarterly. 56 (3): 250–269.
  • Nuttall, Donald A. (1998). The Señoras Gobernadoras of Spanish Alta California A Comparative Study.
  • "Pedro Fages." (1936). Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • Sánchez, Joseph P. (2008). "Fages, Pedro (1734–1794)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, Charles Scribner's Sons.

External links

Media related to Pedro Fages at Wikimedia Commons

  • Michael R. Hardwick, "Pedro Fages: Military Governor of Alta California, 1770–1774 and 1782–1791" [1]
  • "Pedro Fages and Miguel Costansó: Two Early Letters From San Diego in 1769"[2] Journal of San Diego History, vol. 21, no. 2, spring 1975. Translated and edited by Iris Wilson Engstrand.
  • Expedition to San Francisco Bay in 1770, Diary of Pedro Fages.[3] Herbert Eugene Bolton, translator and annotator. University of California at Berkeley, 1911. Presents Fages' original diary in Spanish alongside the English translation.
  • "Eulalia Francesca Josepha Callis Fages" [4]


was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1734th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 734th year of the 2nd millennium, the 34th year of the 18th century, and the 5th year of the 1730s decade. As of the start of 1734, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

Blanco, Monterey County, California

Blanco (formerly, Blanco Crossing) is an unincorporated community in Monterey County, California. It is located on the Salinas River, around the Blanco Road crossing, 4.5 miles (7.2 km) west of Salinas, at an elevation of 23 feet (7 m).


Fages may refer to:

Pedro Fages (1734–1794), Spanish soldier and explorer

Pascal Fages, French rugby player

Carles Fages de Climent (1902–1968) Spanish writer, poet and journalist

Felipe de Barri

Felipe de Barri (?-1784) was Comandante of Alta California. He moved there from Loreto, Baja California Sur Pedro Fages served as the Military Governor from July 9, 1770 to March 23, 1774 at Presidio of Monterey, California. Barri has some friction with the President of the Catholic priests of the Franciscan order, Father President Fray Vicente Mora, but for the most part it was time of peace. But, Barri was quick to judge and was suspicious, fearing the return of troubles that the Jesuits were accused of. He and Francisco Palóu, administrator and historian on the Baja and Alta California has some troubles. There was a small revolt at Todos Santos.While Felipe de Barri was the Civil Governor three new Spanish missions in California were established: Mission San Gabriel founded in 1771, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa founded in 1772 and Mission San Francisco de Asís (also called Mission Dolores) founded in 1776.

Felipe de Barri was asked to step down as Governor coming down too hard and too often the missionaries. He joined with Captain Fernando Rivera y Moncada often in judging and being too suspicious of the missionaries. After serving in Baja California he departed on March 26, 1775 for San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico. Later Barri became the Civil Governor of Durango, Mexico. He died in office in Durango in 1784.

Fernando Rivera y Moncada

Fernando Javier Rivera y Moncada (c. 1725 – July 18, 1781), born in Mexico, was a soldier of the Spanish Empire in New Spain. He served in the far north-western frontier of New Spain, in The Californias (Las Californias), participating in several early overland explorations. Fernando Rivera y Moncada served as third Governor of The Californias, from 1774–1777.

Gaspar de Portolá

Gaspar de Portolá y Rovira (1723–1786) was a Spanish soldier and administrator in New Spain. As commander of the Spanish colonizing expedition on land and sea that established San Diego and Monterey, Portolá expanded New Spain's Las Californias province far to the north from its beginnings on the Baja California peninsula. Portolá's expedition also was the first European to see San Francisco Bay. The expedition gave names to geographic features along the way, many of which are still in use.

Grapevine, California

Grapevine is an unincorporated community in Kern County, California, at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. The small village is directly adjacent to Interstate 5 and consists mainly of travelers and roadside services.

At an elevation of 1,499 feet (457 m), the community is located at the foot of a grade known as The Grapevine that starts at the mouth of Grapevine Canyon, immediately south of the community, and ascends the canyon to the Tejon Pass in the Tehachapi Mountains via Interstate 5 (formerly U.S. Route 99). The village and grade are named, not for the once-winding road known as the Grapevine that used to climb the steep mountain canyon, but for the canyon it passed through with its wild grapes that still grow along the original road. Its Spanish name was La Cañada de las Uvas, i.e. Grapevine ravine.

Before the road was straightened and widened during 1933–34 by the three-lane Ridge Route Alternate (US 99), the Grapevine was infamous for its high accident rate. There are escape ramps branching off both sides of the downward part of the road for heavy trucks whose brakes fail on this five mile long, 6% grade, 1600 foot ascent - and now straight - grade.The road is subject to severe weather and closure to traffic in winter. The stretch of I-5 through the Grapevine and the Tejon Pass is sometimes closed by the California Highway Patrol, generally because of the icy conditions combined with the steep grade of the pass, and the high traffic during the winter holidays. Occasionally, heavy rains will cause mud and rockslides, closing the freeway. The Highway Patrol is also concerned, especially with the large number of big-rigs that pass through, that just one accident in the icy or snowy conditions might force traffic to slow down or come to a complete stop, leaving hundreds of vehicles stalled at once. Whenever there is such a closure, traffic must either wait for it to reopen, or endure a slow multi-hour detour running between Bakersfield and Los Angeles via CA 58.The top of the Grapevine is registered as California Historical Landmark #283, where Don Pedro Fages passed through in 1772 during his explorations through California.In 1955, Charlie Ryan wrote and performed a popular song known as "Hot Rod Lincoln", about a teenager who races his souped-up Lincoln against a Cadillac up the Grapevine hill. While Ryan never drove up the Grapevine, this song was inspired by his own experience racing a friend between Coeur d'Alene and Lewiston, Idaho. The song was an answer to the 1951 song "Hot Rod Race" by Arkie Shibley, referring to the same stretch of road in central California.Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen recorded another version of "Hot Rod Lincoln" which was a hit in 1972.

The ZIP Code is 93243, and the community is inside area code 661. A post office operated at Grapevine from 1923 to 1960. The community of Wheeler Ridge lies three miles north of Grapevine on Interstate 5, with Lebec nine miles south.

José Antonio Roméu

José Antonio Roméu (1742? – 1792) was sixth Spanish governor of Alta California, from 1791 to 1792.While serving as a captain in the Spanish army in 1782, José Antonio Roméu led a retaliatory action after the Quechan Yuma Massacre of 1781. In 1781, the Yuma tribe attacked and damaged the Spanish Arizona mission settlements of San Pedro y San Pablo de Bicuñer and Puerto de Purísima Concepción, killing Lieutenant Governor Fernando Rivera, the mission Father of the Arizona mission, and others. Roméu was the military leader on this action against the tribe. The Spanish were unable to defeat the Yuma, and the tribe remained in control of the land for the following seventy years. The event closed the Anza Trail, crippling the overland population growth of the Yum colony.

Pedro Fages stepped down as governor, at the request of Father Junipero Serra, and departed Monterey, California in April 1791. The capital of Monterey also served as the main port of entry into California.In 1791 Lieutenant Colonel José Antonio Roméu was asked to replace Fages. Roméu, his wife Doña Josefa, and daughter first travelled to Loreto, Baja California Sur arriving on March 17, 1791. In Baja his health turned poor. He had chest pains that caused difficulty sleeping and indigestion. Roméu arrived at Monterey in 1791, he was very ill and barely able to do his job. He led in a time of peace and worked well with the Spanish missions in California and Franciscan padres. During Roméu's tenure as governor, two missions were founded: Mission Santa Cruz (August 28, 1791) and Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (October 9, 1791). By March 1792 he was bed ridden. He served just one year before passing away on April 9, 1792. His funeral and burial interment were at Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. In October 1792 his wife and daughter returned to Mexico.

Manuel Nieto

Jose Manuel Nieto (1734–1804) was a soldier from the Presidio of San Diego who was assigned to the Mission San Gabriel at the time his land was granted by the Spanish Empire in 1784.

Mariano Verdugo

Mariano de la Luz Verdugo (1746 – 1822) was a Spanish soldier and later Mayor of the Pueblo of Los Angeles.

Mariano de la Luz Verdugo was born at San Javier, Baja California, to Juan Diego Verdugo and María Ignacia de la Concepción Carrillo. Mariano Verdugo came to California with his brother, José María Verdugo, in the 1769 Rivera expedition and, for the next two decades, served at various presidios in California. Mariano Verdugo was promoted to the rank of corporal and placed in command of the guard at Mission San Luis Obispo in 1773. In 1781, he was elevated to sergeant and put in charge of the Monterey Presidio. In 1782, when Governor Felipe de Neve's expedition headed back to Mexico via the Colorado River, Verdugo led the military escort of the return trip.

In 1784, Spanish governor Pedro Fages granted grazing rights to Rancho Portezuela, near present day Universal City, to Mariano de la Luz Verdugo. Rancho Portezuela was reclaimed by the Mission San Fernando in 1810. Verdugo retired to Los Angeles around 1787, and served as alcalde of the Pueblo in 1790 - 1791 and 1802 - 1808. Mariano married Maria Guadalupe Lugo (–1780) at Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in 1775. After Guadalupe Lugo died in San Diego in 1780, Verdugo married Maria Gertrudis Gregoria Espinosa (1760–1830) in 1778. Their daughter, Maria del Rosaria Verdugo (1793-), married Francisco Avila in 1810.

Matías de Armona

Matías de Armona also Don Matías de Armona was a governor of Las Californias, serving from June 12, 1769 to November 9, 1770, during Spanish Empire colonial rule of New Spain

In order to obtain an improvement in tax collection without waiting for royal approval, Jose de Galvez, visitor-general to New Spain, appointed Matias de Armona governor of the settled areas of Las Californias, which at that time included only the lower two-thirds of the Baja California peninsula. The appointment also freed up the current governor Gaspar de Portolá to travel north as leader of the Portolá expedition, whose aim was to establish presidios (forts) at San Diego and Monterey. At the same time, Franciscan missionaries led by Junípero Serra established missions in those two places.

Matías de Armona arrived in Loreto in June 1769, from Spain, along with his brother Francisco de Armona. Armona's offices remained in the capital of Loreto, and he did not have much power in the new "Alta" (upper) California areas, even though he was technically the civil governor of all of Las Californias. There was as yet no "civil" to govern in the new settlements, just military and missionary - each of which governed their own affairs. When Portolá left Monterey in 1770, he appointed his 3rd-in-command Pedro Fages to be military governor of the new settlements. The military governor ruled from the Monterey Presidio, and Monterey became the new capital of Las Californias.

Armona did not have his heart in the new appointment as governor, a job he did not want. Shortly after arriving in Baja, he set out for Sonora to see visitor-general José de Gálvez, and remained absent from Loreto for a year. In that year, there were many troubles. There was small native revolt at Todos Santos.; also fever and measles outbreaks. José de Gálvez, on tour of the missions, had ordered such harsh punishment to the native neophytes that Armona had Loreto locked down at the news.After his replacement as civil governor of the southern areas by Felipe de Barri, Armona departed Loreto on April 19, 1771. Upon his return in Mexico, he made some recommendations that were put into place later: Missions were funded as promised; single male natives that traveled to learn a trade could return home after the training.

Miguel Costansó

Miguel Costansó (1741–1814), original name Miquel Constançó, was a Catalan engineer, cartographer and cosmographer. He joined the expedition of exploration of Alta California led by Gaspar de Portolá and Junípero Serra, serving aboard ship as cartographer and on land as engineer.


Pinole, also called pinol or pinolillo, is roasted ground maize, which is then mixed with a combination of cocoa, agave, cinnamon, chia seeds, vanilla, or other spices. The resulting powder is then used as a nutrient-dense ingredient to make different foods, such as cereals, baked goods, tortillas, and beverages. The name comes from the Nahuatl word pinolli, meaning cornmeal. Today, pinole is generally made by hand using wood-burning adobe ovens and a stone and pestle, and is still consumed in certain, often rural, parts of Latin America. In fact, pinole is considered the national beverage of Nicaragua and Honduras.

Portolà expedition

The Portolà expedition (Spanish: expedición de Portolà) was a Spanish voyage of exploration in 1769–1770 that was the first recorded European land entry and exploration of the interior of the present-day U.S. state of California. It was led by Gaspar de Portolà, governor of Las Californias, the Spanish colonial province that included California, Baja California, and other parts of present-day Mexico and the United States. The expedition led to the founding of Alta California and contributed to the solidification of Spanish territorial claims in the disputed and unexplored regions along the Pacific coast of North America.

Presidio of Monterey, California

The Presidio of Monterey, located in Monterey, California, is an active US Army installation with historic ties to the Spanish colonial era. Currently it is the home of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLI-FLC). It is the last Presidio in California to have an active military installation.

Rancho Los Feliz

Rancho Los Feliz was a 6,647-acre (26.90 km2) Spanish land concession in present-day Los Angeles County, California given in 1795 by Spanish Governor Pedro Fages to José Vicente Feliz. The land of the grant includes Los Feliz and Griffith Park, and was bounded on the east by the Los Angeles River.

San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley ( SAN whah-KEEN) is the area of the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California that lies south of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and is drained by the San Joaquin River. It comprises seven counties of Northern and one of Southern California, including, in the north, all of San Joaquin and Kings counties, most of Stanislaus, Merced, and Fresno counties, and parts of Madera and Tulare counties, along with a majority of Kern County, in Southern California. Although a majority of the valley is rural, it does contain cities such as Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton, Modesto, Turlock, Tulare, Porterville, Visalia, Merced, and Hanford.

San Joaquin Valley was originally inhabited by the Yokuts and Miwok peoples. The first European to enter the valley was Pedro Fages in 1772.

Tejon Pass

The Tejon Pass (pronounced "tay-HONE, tuh-HONE, or TAY-hone), previously known as Portezuelo de Cortes, Portezuela de Castac, and Fort Tejon Pass, is a mountain pass between the southwest end of the Tehachapi Mountains and northeastern San Emigdio Mountains, linking Southern California north to the Central Valley. It has been traversed by major roads such as the El Camino Viejo, the Stockton – Los Angeles Road, the Ridge Route, U.S. Route 99, and now Interstate 5.

Zorro (novel)

Zorro is a 2005 novel by Chilean author Isabel Allende. Its subject is the pulp hero Diego de la Vega, better known as El Zorro (The Fox), who was featured in an early 20th-century novel.

The novel takes the form of a biography and was the first origin story for this legendary character. In terms of material, it is a prequel to Johnston McCulley's 1919 novella The Curse of Capistrano, which first featured the character of Zorro. The story incorporates details from a variety of works that have featured the pulp hero, including the 1998 film The Mask of Zorro.

Under Spain
Under Mexico
Under U.S. military
U.S. state
(since 1850)

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