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(CALIFORNIA.) Bautista de Anza, Juan. Letter investigating an Indian attack at San Diego. Autograph Letter Signed to Viceroy Antonio María de Bucareli. 2 pages on one sheet, 11 3/4 x 8 inches; 4 small worm holes, folds, minimal dampstaining. Presidio de San Diego, CA, 31 January 1776
Juan Bautista de Anza (1736-1788) was a Mexican-born army officer involved in the earliest colonization of Alta California. As a lieutenant colonel, after exploring the route with a small scouting party, he was ordered to bring a group of colonists from Arizona westward and then up the California coast, establishing the presidio at San Francisco, a journey which took from October 1775 to March 1776 and is today commemorated by the 1210-mile Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. This letter was written in the middle of Anza's journey at the presidio at San Diego, which had been established just 7 years earlier as the first European settlement in Alta California. There he learned of a November attack by Indians on the lightly guarded mission compound at San Diego. 3 Spaniards were killed and the remainder had retreated to the presidio. In this letter, he reports on his investigation into the attack. The local Indians had placed part of the blame on the Yumas from the Colorado River area, but Anza believed that the two groups were enemies and would not have co-operated. Anza cited a conversation with Salvador Palma, leader of the Yumas, who claimed that his group had attacked the San Diego Indians to avenge the killing of a Spanish soldier and took 17 prisoners as slaves. Anza estimates a journey of only 40 or 45 leagues to the Rio Colorado, perhaps less if a shortcut was used. A full transcript and translation are available.