They have always come

Social scientists tell us we are in the midst of the second Hispanicization of California.
Whatever happened to the first?
The second is a dramatic increase in the number of Latinos brought on by immigration and a healthy birthrate.
The first dates back to 1769 and the arrival of Spanish and Mexican explorers, soldiers and missionaries.
Just what happened after that has been the subject of debate and controversy for years.
Now the University of California-Berkeley and its Bancroft Library, one of the principal stewards of California history, hope to help set the record straight with a tape they have dispatched to California’s nearly 1,100 public libraries.
The 90-minute tape, ”The Hispanicization of California, 1769-1846,” attempts to clarify the muddied history of that period of pueblos, presidios and padres.
Also going to the libraries are two other tapes made by the Bancroft Library, ”The California Gold Rush: Its Impact and Influences,” and ”Mark Twain in the West.”
The $100,000 project was paid for by the Wells Fargo Foundation.
The Hispanicization tape, a lecture by noted historian James J. Rawls, tells us how the Spanish changed California forever. Before the arrival of the Spanish, California was home to about 300,000 people, the largest concentration of Native Americans in North America.
Rawls said that these early Californians spoke 100 different languages and about 70 percent of those languages were as different as English andCantonese.
”Nowhere else in the world was there such diversity, and this continues today,” he said.
California, isolated by the sea, mountains and desert, was at peace when the Spanish arrived, historians say.
”The typical California Indian lived in a hamlet community of about 500 people and had little contact with the crowd living 50 miles down the road,” wrote historian Jerry Stanley. ”There was no need for a larger view of the world, no need for a written language, no need for a new god, no need for plunder, no need for change — it is not inaccurate to say that before the Spanish arrived the California Indians mostly ate, slept and made love.”
But that was to change.
By the end of the Spanish and Mexican periods in 1846, two-thirds of the California Indians were dead, killed mostly by disease, but also by war, starvation, murder and execution.
Spain’s basic purpose was the radical transformation of the natives into useful workers for the Spanish empire, Rawls said.
The Spanish settlers used religion, friendly persuasion and force to accomplish their goals.
While Spain eventually lost California to the rebellious Mexicans and then the Mexicans, in turn, lost it to the Americans, the Spanish people did transform California into a new culture, one that lives on today.
But Indian California was dead.
It was not until well after the coming of the Yankees, the American war with Mexico and U.S. statehood in 1850 that the ”Mission Myth” of fatherly friars and childlike, grateful Indians was born.
In the tape, Rawls tries to separate the facts from the myths, telling a fascinating, generally unknown story of the real California, one in which there were saints and there were sinners.


About drockstroh

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