The Journal of San Diego History
Summer 1977, Volume 23, Number 3
James E. Moss, Editor
Thomas L. Scharf, Assistant Editor


From map of Baja California  Early writers on Baja California either praised it as a land of great promise and potential riches or condemned it for its desolation and poverty. Among the former, one finds some of the early Jesuit missionaries and subsequently promoters for land companies. Among the latter, some of the later missionaries and several early travelers. Both the early missionaries and the promoters wanted to encourage settlement in the peninsula; the Jesuits because they believed this would further their religious conquest; the promoters because this would help them in their business.

The first printed account of Baja California was Father Francisco María Picolo’s Informe1 of 1702, which was partially translated into English in 1708. Here are some excerpts from this early translation:

The Heats in summer are very great along the Sea Coasts, and it seldom rains: But the Air of the Inland Countries is more temperate, and the Heats not so excessive. It is the same in Winter proportionally. In the Rainy Season there are Floods; but when that is over, instead of Rain, the Dew falls in such plenty every Morning, that one would think it had Rained ; which renders the Earth very Fruitful.

The Climate must needs be Healthy, if we may judge of it by ourselves and those that were with us. For during the five Years we were in this Kingdom, we continued very well in Health, notwithstanding the great Fatigues we underwent.

There are in California Large Plains, Pleasant Vallies, Excellent Pastures, at all times, for great and small Cattle; fine Springs of running Water, Brooks and Rivers, with their Banks cover’d with Willows, Reeds, and Wild Vines. In their Rivers they have plenty of Fish.

As this Country abounds in Fruit, it does no less in Grain; of which there are fourteen sorts that the People feed on.

The Land is so good, that most Plants bear Fruit three times a Year: so that with some labour in cultivating it, and skill in managing the water, they render the Country extreamly fertile. Nor is there any sort of Fruit or Grain, but what they gather in great abundance; which we experienc’d our selves; For bringing with us from New Spain Corn, Indian wheat, Pease [peas], Lentils, &c. we sowed them, and had a very plentiful Increase, tho’ we had not any Cattle or proper Instruments to Till the Ground.

The Sea affords great Plenty of very good Fish.2

A later Jesuit missionary, Father J.J. Baegert, who worked in Baja California as a missionary from 1751 until 1767, was not so optimistic. He wrote:

Everything concerning California is of such little importance that it is hardly worth the trouble to take a pen and write about it. Of poor shrubs, useless thorn bushes and bare rocks, of piles of sand without water or wood, of a handful of people who, besides their physical shape and ability to think, have nothing to distinguish themselves from animals, what shall I or what can I report?3

Father Baegert softened his harsh judgement in some ways, pointing out that there were isolated small areas where water was available and where “the soil bears hundred fold and outproduces the most fertile regions of Europe.”

On account of travel difficulties, then and now, it is difficult to get to know the country intimately. This, and the fact that the native population always was little interested in the political events of the continental part of Mexico, is the reason why the history of Baja California, much more than the history of most parts of the world, is largely the history of its discovery.

When, in 1521, Hernán Cortez overthrew the kingdom of the Aztecs, many pearls were found in Montezuma’s treasure. In a description of this monarch’s garments one reads: “Both the cloak and sandals were sprinkled with pearls and precious stones, among which the emerald and the chalchivith, a green stone of higher estimation than any among the Aztecs, were conspicuous.”4 Upon inquiry it was learned that the pearls came from “an island in the West.”

In addition, there was a persistent rumor, dating from the time of Marco Polo, that an island abounding in gold and silver existed in the Pacific Ocean. As late as 1639, the Dutch East India Company sent an expedition under Mathys Quast and Abel Tasman to discover these islands, and when they returned empty handed, a second expedition was sent in 1643 under Maarten Vries. Although important discoveries were made on these voyages, no silver and gold islands were found.

Also, it was believed that in the West there was an island inhabited by Amazons.

All these stories had a basis in reality if applied to Baja California. Pearls were found abundantly on the east coast of the peninsula until the end of the nineteenth century, when the oysterbeds disappeared, probably on account of overfishing, made possible by more advanced diving methods. Silver mines have been known in Baja California for centuries and gold has been found in limited quantities. And even the Amazon story was perhaps partly true. Father Nicolas Tamaral, who founded the missions at San José del Cabo (1730) and Santa Rosa (Todos Santos, 1737) discussed the polygamy of the natives, which made his missionary work so difficult. He commented:

Among these Indians, the feminine sex is more numerous. This obstacle is the most difficult to overcome, partly because the women that are put away [discarded] by one man do not easily find another who will take them. Another reason is that the men, if reduced to one wife according to our holy law, would find themselves to go in search of food; but having been raised in absolute idleness, they will lie in the shade of a tree, while the women insist upon bringing an abundance of seeds and wild fruit, each trying to fetch more than the other wives.5

Apparently, the mortality rate of Indian men was much higher than the mortality rate of their women. The Amazon story may even account for the name of the peninsula and its extension, the North American state which borders the Pacific. In a very popular, sixteenth century novel, The Adventures of Esplandian 6 the first of the books in the library of Don Quijote to be condemned to the fire by his curate, the following passage is found:

It is known that to the right [east] of the Indies there exists an island, called California, very near the Terrestrial Paradise; peopled by black women among whom there is not a single man since they live in the way of the Amazons.7

One of the theories on the origin of the name California identifies the island (it was not yet known at the time to be a peninsula) with the island mentioned in the Esplandian.

The reports of an island abounding in gold and silver induced Hernán Cortez to send four expeditions to discover it. The first (1532) under Diego Hurtado de Mendoza discovered the Marias Islands off the coast of Nayarit and penetrated the Gulf as far as the mouth of the Yaqui River, south of Guaymas. They never sighted California. The second expedition (1533) consisted of two ships. One of these, under Hernan Grijalva went westward and returned after discovering the Revillagigedo Islands. On the second ship, commanded by Diego Bercera de Mendoza, a mutiny broke out, led by the pilot Fortún Ximenez. The commander and part of the crew were killed. The remainder of the crew discovered California and attempted to settle near present-day La Paz. Ximenez and his companions must have perished there.

The third expedition (1535) sailed under the personal command of Hernan Cortez. He managed to start a settlement near present-day La Paz, where he found remains of Ximenez’ previous presence. The venture had to be given up after Cortez lost both his supply ships. The last of Cortez’ expeditions (1539-1540) was under the command of Francisco de Ulloa. This sailor followed the west coast of the mainland as far as the mouth of the Colorado River, returned following the east coast of Baja California, rounded Cape San Lucas and continued following the west coast of Baja California. Hence he had a chance to survey the entire coast of Baja California and discovered many islands. His last report to Cortez was written on the island of Cedros, from where he sent one of his ships back. The other ship continued the voyage and was never heard of again.

Around the time of Cortez’ last expedition, the existence of another gold-rich area, the “Seven Cities of Cibola,” was rumored. To find these cities, the Viceroy de Mendoza sent an expedition (1540) under Francisco Vazquez de Coronado, supported by a fleet under Hernán de Alarcón. The latter sailed the entire length of the Gulf of California and even traveled the Colorado River for some distance. Generally speaking, the entire expedition was a failure; the only result concerning California was the confirmation that it is a peninsula. A few years later, the Viceroy of Guatemala, Pedro de Alvarado, decided to explore the northern territories. His fleet, under Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo investigated the west coast of Baja California and penetrated as far as present-day Mendocino County in Alta California.

As a result of all these explorations, the coast of Baja California became quite well known. In addition, the English captains Sir Francis Drake (1578) and Thomas Cavendish (1586-88) and the Dutch seafarers Jacob Mahu (1598), Olivier van Noord (1600) and Joris van Spilbergen (1615) visited these waters, stalking the Spanish galleons from Manila.

In 1596, another attempt to settle in Baja California near present-day La Paz was made, this time by Sebástian Vizcaíno. This settlement, as well as several others during the seventeenth century, had to be abandoned for lack of supplies.

The last official attempt to colonize Baja California was made by Isidoro de Altondo y Antillón (1683), in whose retinue was the famous Jesuit Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. This attempt also was made near La Paz. The country was explored in several expeditions, germination tests of several European seeds were made and a vocabulary of the Cochimí language was compiled. However, these settlers also had to retreat because of the richly deserved hostility of the Indians, a prolonged drought and the running out of supplies.

Although Altondo’s expedition had yielded more information on the interior than all the previous ones put together, the information on this subject was still meager. It was not until the Jesuit Fathers started their missionary activities that knowledge of the interior became more abundant. Among the Catholic religious orders, the Jesuits are the most scientifically oriented and the most eager to supply information. Due to their inveterate letter writing, we are quite well informed on the countries where they worked, China and Japan as well as Baja California. Since they received little government support, the Baja California missions were dependent on private gifts (the Pious Fund). In order to encourage donations, their reports were sometimes overly optimistic.

The first Jesuit mission was founded in Loreto in 1697 by Father Juan María de Salvatierra, soon joined by Father Francisco María Picolo. Until the time of their expulsion by Royal command in 1767, the Jesuits founded fourteen missions at locations where there was some fertile soil and a supply of fresh water. The converted Indians lived in the vicinity of the mission church and adjacent buildings and were employed in tilling the soil. The missionaries were accompanied by a relatively large number of Spaniards, soldiers and servants. Unfortunately, the California Indians experienced what many other Indian tribes experienced after coming in contact with the western world. Venereal and other diseases such as smallpox, soon took their toll from these people who did not have the partial resistance their mentors possessed. At the end of the eighteenth century, few of the original inhabitants were left. Thus the mission effort defeated itself. It opened the Gates of Heaven to many Indians, until eventually there were no more Indians to open them to. The fact that Baja California is now largely a Catholic country is not due to the efforts of the missionaries, it is so because most of the later immigrants were Catholics. Only a few churches, a somewhat larger number of ruins and some good history books (Venegas, Baegert, Clavijero) attest to the heroic efforts of the Padres.

After the expulsion of the Jesuits, their missions were taken over by the Franciscans who founded one additional mission in Baja California, San Fernando Velicatá (1769). The missions in the northern part of Baja California were founded by the Dominicans; the Franciscans skipped this territory when they started their string of missions in Alta California under the leadership of Father Junípero Serra, beginning with Mission San Diego de Alcalá(1769).

Until the turn of the eighteenth century, exploration and settlement of Baja California had been exclusively a Spanish venture. After 1800, some of the great powers of the world began to take an interest. The first French survey was made by Auguste Bernard du Hautcilly in the Heros (1826). This was a private venture, mainly started to explore commercial possibilities. Official French surveys were made under Abel Aubert Dupetit-Thouars in the Venus (1837) and by Eugene Duflot de Maufras (1839). Each of these three French surveys yielded some information on the interior of Baja California.

British interest in Baja California was shown by the voyages of Sir Edward Belcher on the Sulphur (1839) and Sir Henry Kellett on the Herald (1841). The British however made only coastal surveys.

There is no evidence of United States interest in Baja California during the period in which the French and the British made their surveys. However, there was a great influx of Americans in the Mexican territories of Texas, Alta California and Oregon. This influx finally led to the Mexican-American War (1846) which ended by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) by which treaty Mexico ceded these territories to the United States. At that time it was contemplated to demand surrender of Baja California also, but this was not insisted upon. During the war, American forces occupied La Paz and San José del Cabo, but no knowledge on the interior appears to have been gained thereby.

The Mexican-American War revealed Mexico’s inability to defend its territory and encouraged private enterprise to attempt to take possession of Baja California. The most well known of these efforts was the filibuster of William Walker (1853-54). It failed and did not contribute to the knowledge of Baja California.

When, in 1863, a silver bonanza occurred at the Triunfo mines, many societies were formed in the United States to prospect and settle in Baja California. Since none of these appeared to be stable, the Mexican Government decided, in 1864, to grant wide concessions for about two-thirds of the peninsula to Jacob P. Leese. This contract was taken over by the Lower California Company a year later. This company sent John Ross Browne with some scientists on a mission to survey the peninsula. The latter’s report was largely unfavorable, but added considerably to the knowledge of Baja California’s interior. In Leese’s contract there was a clause setting a deadline for a certain degree of settlement. This condition, the Lower California Company could not meet; in April 1871, the Mexican Government rescinded the contract.

Later, between 1880 and 1888, a large number of similar concessions were granted. The largest of these was to Louis Hüller, granted in 1884, and comprised 5.5 million hectares. This venture lasted until 1917. Another concession, of 700,000 hectares, granted to Adolf Bülle in 1884, was rescinded in the same year. A third, comprising 1.4 million hectares, was granted to Flores, Hale & Co. This grant, rescinded in 1917, was revalidated in 1921, but the company went bankrupt in 1926. Still another concession, of 500,000 hectares, was granted in 1885 to Pablo Macedo who started mining operations with French capital. This operation lasted until 1954.

These, and other land companies, are responsible for a vast amount of promotional literature, obviously highly optimistic and sometimes plainly fraudulent. This literature has little value for our knowledge of Baja California.

Joseph W. Krutch, a professor of English literature and drama, but also a very competent amateur naturalist, wrote in 1961:

Because most of the 53,000 square miles of Baja California is so difficult of access, the flora and fauna are only now beginning to be thoroughly investigated and large areas are still virgin territory for the biologist. There are some striking and unique forms of both animal and plant life, but the majority of forms are at least closely related to those of other desert regions in the United States or in the adjoining continental Mexico.8

This is probably more true for the northern part of Baja California than for the southern part which is more tropical and bisected by the tropic of Cancer.

The Jesuit historians were the first to write about Baja’s natural history. However these narratives were written before the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus started to insist on scientific exactness and therefore are not “scientific.” The first scientific biological observations were made by Hugh Cumming (1826-39), and pertained to marine life and plants. Later, the Hungarian János Xántus was stationed in Cabo San Lucas (1859-61) by the U.S. Coast Survey to observe the tides. He went to his station in a rather unusual way, by ship to Bahia Tortugas, from there overland to La Paz and subsequently by ship to Cabo San Lucas. On his overland trip and later in the vicinity of Cabo San Lucas, he had a good opportunity to observe animal and plant life, and to make rich collections which were presented to the Smithsonian Institution. The expedition of Ross Browne also yielded information of natural history interest, in addition to geographical and geological data. Finally, George Dewey’s expedition (1874) was accompanied by Dr. T.H. Streets, who made observations in the field of biology.

None of these naturalists made a study of the original population of Baja California. No one since the Jesuit Padres had written about the early inhabitants. Hence, when the Dutch anthropologist H.F.C. ten Kate decided to make a study of the North American Indians and included a trip to Baja California in his itinerary, the field was wide open.

Herman Frederik Carel ten Kate was born in The Hague July 21, 1858.9 His father was a portrait painter and watercolorist. After completion of his secondary studies, ten Kate was sent to the Art Academy in the Hague. In 1876 he traveled with the watercolorist van de Velde to Corsica. The description of this trip was the subject of his first paper. Ten Kate however was not born to be an artist. On the advice of the professor of physical geography and ethnology, P.J. Veth, he started studies of natural history and medicine at the University of Leiden in 1877, and later in Paris, Berlin, Göttingen and Heidelberg.

After receiving his Ph.D. degree at Heidelberg in 1882, he made a trip through North America to study the anthropology and ethnology of the Indians of the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico10 The description of his trip through Baja California, which was part of this journey, is presented here.

In 1884, he traveled to Lapland as companion of Prince Roland Bonaparte, a famous naturalist; in 1885 and 1886 he journeyed to the West Indies, Venezuela, the United States and Canada, in order to study the Negroes. During the winter of 1886-87 he stayed in Algeria, and thereafter returned to the United States where he participated in the Hemenway Expedition, with his friend Frank Hamilton Cushing studying archeology and anthropology in Arizona and adjacent territories.11

In1888, after a visit to Central Mexico, he studied medicine in Montpellier and Halle for two years. From 1890 until 1893 he made a trip around the world, visiting the Dutch East Indies, Australia, and Polynesia, finally arriving in Argentina in 1893, where he accepted the post of curator of the Museo de la Plata. In this capacity he made a trip to the northeastern part of Argentina. After his return to Europe, he took up his studies of medicine again, in Heidelberg and in Freiburg. After receiving his M.D. in Heidelberg (1895) he returned to his job in Argentina. In 1896, his main work Anthropologie des anciens habitants de la région calchaquie was published.12 He resigned as curator in 1897 and traveled to Japan via the Dutch East Indies where he explored the island of Java extensively. Here he settled as a physician in Nagasaki, Yokohama and finally, Kobe. He married a Japanese lady in 1908 and made, accompanied by her, a second trip around the world. In 1911 he declined a call to the chair of political ethnology at the University of Utrecht. From 1913 until 1919, the year his wife died, he practised as a physician in Ashiva near Kobe. After his wife’s death, he returned to Holland where he remained for three years, distributing his books and collections over several scientific institutes. After some traveling in Africa, he settled in Tunis where he lived until 1929, and thereafter in Carthage, where he died on February 4, 1934.

Ten Kate lived a truly remarkable life. He spoke nine languages fluently and thus felt at home and made friends everywhere. But, on account of his cosmopolitanism, no country claims him as its own. He is now almost forgotten, in spite of all his studies and his many publications.

Ten Kate was twenty-five years old and had recently received his Ph.D. when he decided on his North American trip to study the Indians. The idea for this trip came up during discussions with professor Bastian from Berlin and Dr. Hamy from Paris. He proposed an itinerary to professor C.M. Kan, secretary to the Netherlands Geographical Society, which was approved and the Society appointed him a representative.13 In addition, he succeeded in interesting the director of the Government Ethnographical Museum in Leiden, L. Serrurier and the Dutch Society of Sciences in Haarlem.14 He was also appointed délégué temporaire of the Society of Anthropology in Paris.

One of the mysteries in ten Kate’s life is how he managed to finance all his travels. There probably was no family fortune; his father was an artist, and artists are seldom rich. For this trip, he obtained a grant of 500 guilders from the Netherlands Geographical Society, 1000 guilders from the Dutch Government and 500 guilders from the Haarlem Society, the latter to be used for the purchase of ethnological objects. This however was not very much; in the preface of the book in which he reported on his journey, he complained: “My work would have been more complete and valuable if I had not been always alone and if it had not been necessary to meet the expenses for the largest part from my own means.”

Although the object of the trip was the study of the Indian tribes, ten Kate made many observations in the field of natural history, both botanical and zoological. One has the impression that zoology was his stronger field. The main goal of the journey however was the study of the ancient Indians of Baja California. Ten Kate was probably the first to study these tribes. He found their skulls and other bones and was the first to describe some of their petroglyphs. He was aware of the latter by reading F.J. Clavijero, who stated in his account of Baja California:

The Jesuits, in the last years they were there, discovered in the mountains situated between Iatitude27° and 28°, various large caves, made in enduring rock and figures of decently dressed men and women and different kinds of animals painted on the walls, These pictures, although crude, represent the objects distinctly. The colors which they used for them, as is plainly evident, were taken from the mineral earth that exists in the vicinity of the volcano of Virgenes. What surprised the missionaries most was that these colors had remained on the rock for so many centuries without receiving any damage from either air or water.15

These cave paintings were probably made by predecessors of the Indians known to the missionaries. The paintings were seen and described again in 1893 by Garrick Mallery (1831-1894), and were discussed in contemporary literature several times. The location of the paintings was quite far removed from the route taken by ten Kate; he did not search for them although he was aware of their existence.

The Baja California part of the trip started on January 16, 1883 when ten Kate left Guaymas for La Paz by ship. While in La Paz, he explored the island Espíritu Santo for about four days and explored the vicinity of the city for a week. On February 6 he started on horseback for San José del Cabo, accompanied by a native guide and the latter’s servant, where he arrived on February 12. From San José he traveled through the mountains and along the coast to Los Frailes. He left San José on March 6, traveled through the mountains to the west coast, which he followed until he reached Todos Santos on March 12. On March 15, he started back to La Paz, arriving on March 18. In La Paz he studied the Yaqui Indians for four days. On March 22 he was on board ship again to return to Guaymas.

Although ten Kate complained of lack of company on his journey, he was accompanied on part of his Baja California journey by the ornithologist Lyman Belding.16

Lyman Belding was born on June 12, 1829 in West Farms, about 18 miles northeast of Springfield, Massachusetts. Here, he roamed the forests as a child. Around 1836, the family moved to Kingston, Pennsylvania where Lyman developed into the outdoors man he was to remain for his entire life, hunting and fishing with his friends. In 1846, there was a typhoid epidemic in Kingston. Lyman was severely ill and, when he finally recovered, the doctor recommended a sea voyage. He went to Baltimore, where he stayed for nine months and finally made his way to New Bedford where he mustered on a whaler in July 1851. This whaler Uncas he deserted later, became a stowaway on the whaler Julian and mustered finally on the whaler Philadelphia. On these ships, Belding roamed to Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans; he returned to New York on January 14, 1854 and soon he was back in Kingston.

In the spring of 1856, Belding went to California and settled in Stockton where he went into business. In about ten years he accumulated enough capital to live on. He spent most of his time hunting and fishing in the Mother Lode country.

In the spring of 1876, he acquired a “volume of California Ornithology.” This probably was the fourth volume of the Geological Survey of California, Ornithology, vol. I, by Spencer F. Baird. This book and a volume on birds from the Pacific Railroad Reports aroused his interest in the scientific side of bird lore. He studied the art of collecting and mounting birds which he sent, together with other specimens of natural history interest, to the Smithsonian Institution. He soon became recognized as an expert and in 1881 he was asked by Baird to study the avifauna of Guadeloupe Island. The target area was later changed to Cedros Island, off the coast of Baja California (1882). The next year, Belding made a trip to the southern part of Baja California; on part of this trip, ten Kate was his companion.

After some years, Belding lost his interest in scientific ornithology. He wrote: “I discovered that I could not get satisfactory results because there was not a good collection of bird skins on this coast that would enable me to know the value of sub-species I might get. I had not been able to describe and name several sub-species which I thought were entitled to naming and which were later named by others.” In addition, he found writing difficult: “several days of that sort of thing made an invalid of me.” And finally, he resented the editing his papers had to be subjected to and, judging from his remarks he might have been right. He complained that descriptions of unknown sub-species were omitted from his papers, while later “one of the birds of my collection was named for a paid collector who had never been in Baja California.” He however continued to enjoy the outdoors; we may safely assume that he roamed the countryside until his death on September23,1918.

In his autobiographical sketch, Belding says the following about his trip to Baja California:

I made the journey alone and began work at La Paz on the Gulf of California, visited Espíritu Santo Island. I was satisfied with my results in the vicinity of La Paz, where Xantus also spent much of his time in collecting. A canteen of water was a necessary part of my equipment on all walks in the surrounding country. Several times I suffered for want of water.

Ten Kate arrived in La Paz at about the time Belding was ready to continue his trip to San José del Cabo by ship. Ten Kate traveled to San José on horseback and found Belding there again. Together they made extensive trips in the vicinity. All this, Belding omits in his narrative which he continues:

On the journey from San José to La Paz by the west coast, night overtook us before we reached the spring which our guide Don Juan Angoula17 had counted on reaching before nightfall. We, the guide and his servant, Dr. ten Kate and myself made camp, too thirsty to eat and we did not get water until near noon the following day, our animals having wandered off in search of water.

Before we reached La Paz, Dr. ten Kate left me alone to continue my journey of forty miles. He and the others wanted to go to a mining camp near Triunfo to examine some aboriginal rock inscriptions. I had no difficulty in following the trail. At that time, there was only one wagon road in southern Baja California, namely from La Paz to Triunfo. This road had been built by American owners of the mine.

When I had been on my way to La Paz for an hour or more, a Mexican rode up to me in a way that made me think he intended to attack me. He kept within reach of me with a machete in his hand and, although I made room for him, he did not pass me. He said, I was very brave to be traveling alone and he called my attention to the tracks of Indians, going ahead of us and also to a little monument which covered the remains of a Gringo who had been murdered while traveling alone. I told him, I had a good gun and was not afraid. After traveling together for some time, I decided he meant no harm ; perhaps he thought he could frighten me as a joke. He used his machete to clear his trail. He stated that he was going to his cattle ranch. He refused to ride ahead of me, but that was probably not for fear but an act of courtesy. Two Mexicans seldom enter a room without an argument on the subject of precedence.18

Ten Kate recorded his journey in a book entitled Travels and Researches in North America,19 of which the account of his journey in Baja California forms the second chapter. He described the petroglyphs he had copied20 and the bones he had recovered21 in two French journals.

Belding recorded his observations of Baja California in two papers,22 published by the Smithsonian Institution.

Ten Kate donated the ethnographical objects he had collected to the Government Ethnographical Museum of Leiden and his zoological objects to the Government Museum for Natural History, also at Leiden. His anthropological finds, he felt obliged to donate to the Musée Broca in Paris, because he had been made délégué temporaire of the Anthropological Society of Paris.


The subheadings in the translation of ten Kate’s travelog which follows, were supplied by the translator. The first three paragraphs of the section, headed “La Paz” have been inserted; they actually are the last three paragraphs of the preceding chapter.

Nothing has been added to the translation. Where ten Kate gives explanations of Spanish words, explanations were given in the translation; where ten Kate gave common names for biological objects, common names were given in the translation.

All footnotes of the author are retained; they are signed with the author’s initials: (tK). In addition to these, some footnotes were added by the translator; they are signed with his initials: (vdP).

The figures which were taken from writings of ten Kate are numbered 1 to 7 and referenced in the footnotes; further illustrative material has merely a caption.

A glossary of Spanish words has been added. Although some of the words in this glossary will be familiar to most readers, all Spanish words have been included for sake of completeness.

In addition, an index of the Latin names of biological objects has been supplied. Since a common name is often more meaningful to many readers than Latin ones, common names, which were found in a number of publications were added. In cases where no common name could be found, such a name has been supplied where possible by translating the adjective of the Latin name. Such “uncommon common names” have been placed in quotation marks. The index is hence also a glossary to some extent.


1. G.P. Hammond (ed.), Informe on the new province of California. Los Angeles: Dawson’s Book Shop. 1967. This volume, number 10 in the Baja California Travels series, contains a facsimile of the Spanish text, printed in 1702, and a modern translation by G.P. Hammond.

2. F.M. Picolo, An extract of a memoir, concerning the discovery of a passage by land to California. with a map and a description of that country. . . . Philosophical Transactions, 26, 232-240, 1710. This translation is found in number 318, dated November and December 1708. At variance with the title, this article says nothing about the “discovery of a passage to California by land;” it has however all the essential information on the condition of the country as presented in the Informe.

3. Quoted from J.W. Krutch, The Forgotten Peninsula. New York: William Sloane Associates, 1961. p. 102.

4. W.H. Prescott, History of the Conquest of Mexico. New York: The Modern Library, (no year). p. 298.

5. Quoted from J.W. Krutch, l.c. p. 110.

6. Garcia Ordóñez de Montalvo, Las Sergas del muy virtuoso cavallero Esplandian, hijo de Amadis de Gaula, llamades Ramo de los quatro libros de Amadis. Sevilla, 1510. De Montalva was not the first to mention Amazons. Herodotus, in his book The Persian Wars, IV, 110-116, mentions them as living near the river Thermodon in the land of the Scythians, Asia Minor.

7. Quoted from P.L. Martinez, A History of Lower California (The only complete and reliable one). Mexico City: Editorial Baja California, 1960. p. 90.

8. J.W. Krutch, l.c. p. 50.

9. P. Rivet, “(Commemoration de) Herman Frederik Carel ten Kate,” Journal de la Societé des A méricanistes. (ns), 23,236-237,1931.

10. The subject of his Doctoral dissertation for his Ph.D. degree was the craniology of the Mongoloid races, observations and measurements.

11. The following brief obituary on Cushing is found in the National Geographic Magazine, 11, 206, 1900.
Frank Hamilton Cushing died at his residence in Washington D.C., on April 10, 1900. From his boyhood he had been the friend and student of the American Indian. In 1875, when only 18 years of age, he was commissioned by Professor Baird, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to make collections for the National Museum. The years of 1879-1885 he lived among the Zuñi Indians of New Mexico, he learned their language and traditions, and was initiated into their esoteric priesthood and elected their war chief. Thus he was able to learn the character of Indian secret societies. Mr. Cushing discovered the ruins of the Seven Cities of Cibola in 1881, and later conducted excavations among them and the great buried cities of Southern Arizona. In 1895 he discovered extensive remains of a sea-dwelling people on the gulf coast of Florida, and the following year led an expedition thither. At the time of his death he was prominently connected with the Bureau of American Ethnology. He was the author of numerous monographs and papers on the myths and customs of the Zuni and the prehistoric races of New Mexico, Arizona and the Southern States.

12. Anthropology of the ancient inhabitants of the region of Calcha. Calcha is located in the southern part of Bolivia.

13. Cornelis Marius Kan (1837-1919) was born in Groningen where he received his elementary, secondary and university training. He won his doctorate in literature in 1862. Until 1877 he taught at several secondary schools. In 1877 he was appointed professor of physical and political geography and ethnology of the East and West Indies at the University of Amsterdam. In 1873 he was one of the founders of the Netherlands Geographical Society, which society he served as secretary and later as vice-president and president. He was a prolific writer and promoter of the study of geography in the Netherlands. See J.S. Thysse in, Gedenkboek van het Athenaeum en de Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Stadsdrukkerij, 1932, pp. 610-611.

14. Lindor Serrurier (1846-1901) was born in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. Studying law at the University of Leiden, he won his degree in 1877. Simultaneously however, he studied Japanese under J.J. Hofmann, the pioneer scholar of Far Eastern languages in Holland. In 1881 he was appointed conservator and soon thereafter director of the Government Ethnographical Museum in Leiden. In 1896, he resigned protesting the repeated refusals to supply funds for the Museum. He accepted a post as teacher of geography at a secondary school in Batavia, where he died in 1901. His second wife (1884) was Madelon S.E. ten Kate, probably a sister of our traveler. See: H.H. Juynboll, NNBW,1, 1468,1911.

15. F.J. Clavijero, The History of (Lower) California. Translated and edited by S.E. Lake and A.A. Gray. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1937. pp. 84-85.

16. On Lyman Belding, only the scantiest information is available in the biographical literature. However, in his old age, probably about 1915 he wrote an autobiography of which the typescript is available in the Public Library of Stockton, California. The assistant director, J.R. Roping, was so kind as to supply me with a copy of this document from which the data on Belding were taken. I here thank Mr. Roping right cordially for his help. Nowhere in his autobiography does Lyman write about his education. The start of his marine adventures must have ended his formal education, which therefore probably did not extend through high school. The larger part of his auto-biography is devoted to hunting and fishing stories.

17. Ten Kate names him Don Juan de Dios Angúlo.

18. This, and the preceding quotation was taken from Belding’s autobiography; they have been slightly edited.

19. H.F.C. ten Kate, Reizen en onderzoekingen in Noord-Amerika. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1885. pp. 43-95.

20. H.F.C. ten Kate, Observations ethnographiques recueillies dans la presqu’ile californienne. Révue d’ethnographie, publié sous la direction du dr. Hamy. 2, 321-326, 1883.

21. H.F.C. ten Kate, Matériaux pour servir á l’ anthropologie de la presqu’ile californienne. Bulletins de la Societé d’ anthropologie de Paris. 7, 551-569, 1884.

22. L. Belding, Catalogue of a collection of birds made at various points along the western coast of Lower California, north of Cape Eugenia. Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus., 5, 527-532, 1883. L Belding, Second catalogue of a collection of birds, made near the Southern extremity of Lower California. Ibid., 6, 344-352, 1883.


Peter W. van der Pas holds a degree in physics from the Institute of Technology, Delft, Holland. He is the author of articles which have appeared in various publications including this journal.