Colonizing Expedition, 1775-1776

Diary of Juan Bautista de Anza

October 23, 1775 - June 1, 1776

This is the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza of his colonizing expedition (October 23, 1775 to June 1, 1776), beginning at the Royal Presidio of San Ignacio de Tubac in what is today southern Arizona, and ending at the Royal Presidio of San Carlos de Monterey in Alta California. The diary also chronicles the exploratory expedition made by Anza, Padre Font, and twelve soldiers from Monterey to the opening of the San Francisco Bay, around the East Bay to the Sacramento River Delta, and back to Monterey, and gives full details of the return trip to San Miguel de Horcasitas in northern Sonora. Lieutenant Colonel Anza was the expedition leader and signed the diary as such. The purpose of the diary, which his scribe compiled from notes at Horcasitas upon their return from California, was to make an official report to the Viceroy of New Spain, Antonio María Bucareli y Ursua, and ultimately the King of Spain, Charles III. This edition is based upon Herbert E. Bolton's English translation of the diary in Anza's California Expeditions, Volume III, 1931.

 Portrait of Juan Bautista de Anza Photograph of painting from Herbert Bolton's 1921 book, The Spanish Borderlands.

Portrait of Juan Bautista de Anza
Photograph of painting from Herbert Bolton's 1921 book, The Spanish Borderlands.

Story Highlights:

Preliminaries: Account of the people, supplies, and livestock
Manuela Piñuelas dies in childbirth at La Canoa the first evening
To conserve water in the desert, the tardeada is introduced
Ana María de Osuna gives birth to a healthy son in a camp on the Gila River
The Yuma Indians help the Expedition to cross the frigid waters of the Colorado River
Lieutenant Moraga temporarily loses his hearing form the snow and severe cold and the Expedition members suffer extremely
Gertrudis Rivas gives birth to a healthy son at a camp in Coyote Canyon
Nearing San Gabriel the Expedition learns of the uprising at San Diego
After much delay, a desertion, and a side trip to San Diego to help quell the uprising, Anza decides to continue north from San Gabriel
With great satisfaction the colonizers arrive at Monterey, the earliest recruits having been traveling for just fifteen days short of a year
Anza, Font, Moraga, and eleven soldiers stand at the mouth of San Francisco Bay, the first people of European heritage to have seen it
Anza, Font, and twenty-seven others returning to Sonora bid a tearful farewell at Monterey to the California colonists