Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The First Europeans In Orange County

Caption contest winner, Jim Washburn: "We'll put the Hooters over there." (Image courtesy Irvine Co.)
The story of the 1769 Portolà Expedition, "The First Europeans In Orange County," is the latest in my regular series of "O.C. History 101" articles for the County Connection (the County of Orange employee newsletter). It's now available online in two parts. It begins...

"Imagine landing on an unknown earth-like planet with no prior information about the kinds of terrain, animals, people, plants, or water sources you’d encounter. That’s the kind of challenge Spain’s appointed governor of California,Gaspar de Portolà, faced in 1769, when he traveled from Loreto, Mexico to San Francisco."

The article deals mainly with the experiences of Portolà's party in Orange County. The expeditionary force consisted of 63 men, including soldiers, mule skinners, Indians from Baja California, servants, Fransican friars, a mapmaker, and a scout. Their impact on Orange County can still be plainly seen today.

The article begins in the Jan. 2015 County Connection, on page 7, and the second half appears in the Feb. 2015 County Connection, on page 5.

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