California Through Russian Eyes, 1806–1848
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: The Arthur H. Clark Company
Well educated and curious, the visiting Russians were acute observers, generous in their appreciation of Hispanic hospitality but outspoken in their criticisms of all they found backward or abhorrent. In the various reports and reminiscences contained within this volume, they make astute observations of both Hispanic and Native inhabitants, describing the Catholic missions with their devout friars and neophyte workers; the corruptible Franciscan missionaries; the sorry plight of mission Indians; the Californios themselves, whose religion, language, dwellings, cuisine, dress, and pastimes were novel to the Russians; the economic and social changes in Alta California following Mexican independence; and the schemes of American traders and settlers to draw the province into the United States.
Amplified by James R. Gibson’s informative annotations, and featuring a gallery of elegant color illustrations, this unique volume casts new light on the history of Spanish and Mexican California.