Historical and Personal Remembrances Relating to Alta California, 1769–1849 (2 Volume Set)
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
1488 Pages | 6 x 9 | 145 B&W Illus.
Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo (1807–90) grew up in Spanish California, became a leading military and political figure in Mexican California, and participated in some of the founding events of U.S. California, such as the Monterey Constitutional Convention and the first legislature. With his project, undertaken for historian and publisher Hubert Howe Bancroft, Vallejo sought to correct misrepresentations of California’s past, which dismissed as insignificant the pre–gold rush Spanish and Mexican periods—conflated into one “Mission era.”
Instead, Vallejo’s history emphasized the role of the military in the Spanish colonization of California and argued that the missionaries after Junípero Serra, with their medieval ideas, had actually retarded the development of California until secularization in the early 1830s. Culture, he contended, was of intense interest to the Californio people, as was the education of children. His accounts of Indigenous peoples, while often sympathetic, were also characteristic of his time: he and other California military leaders, Vallejo maintained, had successfully subdued “hostile” Indians and established mutually beneficial relationships with others.
Out of keeping with Bancroft’s American triumphalism, Vallejo’s monumental project was consigned to the archives. With their deft translation and commentary, Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz—authors of a companion volume on Vallejo’s work—have brought to light a remarkable perspective, often firsthand, on important events in early California history. Their efforts restore a critical chapter to the story of California and the American West.
“These volumes should be widely read by all those interested in the history of California and the American West under Spanish, Mexican, and American rule. Its triumph lies in bringing forth a formerly hidden history that raises important insights for today’s discussions about colonialism and race.”—James Sandos, author of Converting California: Indians and Franciscans in the Missions
“A significant addition to the rich documentary heritage of California history. Beebe and Senkewicz provide the definitive translation, one that enriches our understanding of Vallejo and his times.”—Albert L. Hurtado, author of John Sutter: A Life on the North American Frontier