By Herman Frederik Carel ten Kate
Translated and annotated in part by Peter W. van der Pas
This peninsula, which rises from the blue waves of the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of Mexico over a distance of 160 geographical miles,1 is one of the most forlorn corners of the earth.
Discovered in 1533 by a certain Fortun Ximenez2 at the location of present-day La Paz, it was visited intermittently by Cortez,3 Ulua,4 Alarcon,5 Cabrillo6 and Vizcaíno.7 Their travels however were little more than coastal surveys and, like the subsequent enterprises which were mainly undertaken to search for pearls in the “Vermilion Sea,” did not contribute much to our knowledge of the country as such. Our more detailed knowledge of the interior of the country and its inhabitants dates from the year 1683, when the priests became established on the peninsula. The works of Miguel Venegas,8 Jacob Baegert9 and Francisco Javiero Clavigero10 are still in many respects the best sources on Baja California. After the Jesuits had to leave the country by decree of Charles III (1767) the peninsula was buried in oblivion again.
Duhaut-Cilly11 was, after his visit of 1826, the first one again to tell us something about the nature and the products of the country. He was succeeded by some navigators, among them Belcher12 and Du Petit Thouars13 (1839), Duflot de Maufras14 (1843) and Kellett15 (1846, 1849-50) who made coastal surveys.
The English conchologist Hugh Cuming16 was probably the first one visiting the peninsula to study its natural history. He was followed by Reigen17 and Rich18 who came for the same purpose and finally, in 1858, by the Hungarian von Csiktapolcza Xántus,19 who traversed the country from San Bartolomé20 on the west coast to La Paz in the months of April and May of that year. Later, from 1859 until 1862 he was stationed at Cape San Lucas, in the service of the United States Coast Survey, to make observations on the tides. In addition, he worked in the field of natural history and made a rich collection.
E. Guillemin-Taraye,21 a member of the French scientific committee to explore Mexico, visited the vicinity of La Paz and Triunfo in 1865, mainly to study the products and mining possibilities of the country.
J. Ross Browne,22 Dr. William M. Gabb23 and Dr. F. von Loehr24 traveled in Baja California in 1867. They were in the service of the Lower California Company25 which had bought the peninsula between 24o 20′ and 31° latitude. This is the only large journey of discovery ever made in Baja California; the trip covered the entire peninsula.
Dr. Gabb was the first one since Clavigero to provide us with accurate, be it scarce, data on the original inhabitants, the Cochimí Indians from the central part of the peninsula.
Six years later, from 1873 until 1874, the first complete coastal survey of Baja
California was made by the American war-ship Narragansett, under the command of Captain G. Dewey.26 Dr. Th. H. Streets,27 who participated in this expedition, also made observations in the field of natural history and geology. After a lapse of seven years, the American Lyman Belding28 continued the explorations of Xántus, Streets and their predecessors. Belding visited the peninsula of California for the first time in the spring of 1881, when he explored the west coast north of Cape San Eugenio, including the island of Cedros, making zoological, mainly ornithological, observations. The main result of this trip was establishing the fact that the avifauna north of 28° latitude is identical to the avifauna of Alta California near San Diego.
In December 1881, Belding returned to the peninsula and studied the territory south of La Paz until May 1882. His research clarified observations of Xántus and increased our knowledge of the flora and fauna of Baja California by discovering several new species.
The third trip of Mr. Belding, part of which trip I was his companion, will be discussed more in particular in the following pages.
It thus appears that, in spite of the travels of Ross Browne and his companions, our accurate geographical knowledge of the interior is still scanty. A detailed map, on an astronomical basis, of the interior is still lacking. Accurate observations in the field of general physical geography have never been made if we disregard the geognostical ones made by the Lower California Company. Our zoological and botanical knowledge of the part of the peninsula north of 24° 40′ is still imperfect. This is true not only for the interior but also for the coast since for example the territory between the Bay of Santa Rosalita and the tropic of Cancer, as also the corresponding territory on the east coast, has never been studied from a zoological point of view and location of the demarcation line of the San Diego avifauna and the avifauna of the peninsula itself has not been determined.
Especially the eastern half of the territory north of 30o latitude is completely terra incognita. There, where the 3000 metres high Calamahué points its white top towards the sky and where the wild Mountain-Cocopas29 still live in undisturbed freedom, a scientific traveler has never penetrated; a mysterious veil still rests on this wilderness. The same is true for the area between 113° and 114° longitude and 27° and 28° latitude.
Our anthropological and ethnographical knowledge of Baja California north of 24o 40′ latitude also still leaves much to be desired. Even if I managed to lift a tip of the veil for the area south of this latitude, for the remainder of the peninsula we are in complete ignorance. The numerous pictographs to be found, according to Clavigero,30 in the mountains between the latitudes of 27o and 28o have never been described and the remains of the original inhabitants, neither those of the peninsula nor those of the adjoining islands, have ever been traced. Without doubt, a rich harvest will reward the future explorer. This has been demonstrated by what I found in the southern part of the country and the island of Espiritu Santo.
Prior to my departure from Guaymas, the Mexicans seemed to be determined to give me a sample of their national vice by stealing two of my bags, containing my field-dispensary and some maps, books and instruments which I could not replace in Guaymas. All efforts to regain the stolen goods failed and the incident ended for me by being threatened by the judge to throw me in jail if I insisted any longer that I had been robbed.
At the dawn of the morning of 15 January a gunshot announced the arrival of the steamboat Mexico. However, departure was out of the question on that day, because so much had to be unloaded and loaded, which kept the Yaquis31 busy for the entire day as well as part of the following morning. On the sixteenth I was rowed to the ship at eleven in the morning and a few hours later, the Mexico departed. The bay is not very deep, soundings taken while departing read 3 or 4 fathoms. But soon we reached the open sea, although we could see the mountainous coast of Sonora for a long time.
Although the Gulf of California was called the “Vermilion Sea” in ancient times, I could not detect the slightest trace of a red color. Many dolphins accompanied the ship, as they do on the Atlantic Ocean, diving and emerging from the foam of the gracious waves. In the morning of the seventeenth, we sailed between the barren, isolated coasts of Baja California and the volcanic islands of San José, San Francisco and Espíritu Santo. After a quiet trip of about twenty hours we dropped anchor in the Bay of La Paz.
Seen from the sea, La Paz looks quite pretty. The white houses between the greenery of the palm trees, álamos and huamóches (Guamuchil (Pithecellobium Dulce)) the numerous water mills, the sandy sloping beach, the many small boats rocking on the blue waves and the colorful bustling (crowd on the jetty give a very favorable first impression. I soon landed and one of the first persons I met was Mr. Belding, who was about to embark on the Mexico to go to San José del Cabo. He had completed his work in La Paz and, knowing that I was also going to San José, he had decided to wait for me there and continue his travels in my company. We hence parted, hoping to see each other again soon. presently, I was installed in the same room which had served Mr. Belding as a taxidermical laboratory. Señor Don Gaston J. Vives,32 a young Mexican of French descent, in whose house I stayed, offered his services, which I accepted eagerly. Nobody knew the vicinity better than he and I still think with delight of the pleasant hours, spent in his company.
La Paz started as a mission among the Pericúes Indians, founded by the Fathers Ugarte33 and Bravo34 in 1720. On account of the hostile attitude of the Indians, the mission was discontinued after a few years. A century later, the present city of La Paz was built near the ruins of the old mission.
The city is located on a sandy plain, which connects the beach with the sierra. The houses, which Xántus calls “elegantly built,” look exactly like those of Guaymas, but do not look so neglected and dilapidated. On the contrary, the main streets, which are planted with shady álamos, give a merry and neat impression. There is no pavement. On both sides of the streets, there is a wooden sidewalk, between these only loose sand. The main buildings
are the city hall, the barracks and the main church, located at the plaza. Except for days on which steamships from Guaymas, Mazatlan or San Francisco arrive at the harbor, and this happens only twice a month, La Paz is dead silent; the shore and the streets look deserted. The suburbs of the city, stretching along the bay, consist of poor straw huts, inhabited by Yaqui and Mayo Indians who came from the continent. The entire population of the Municipality of La Paz, the largest part of which lives in the city, numbers hardly 4000 souls35 The Bay of La Paz connects in the north with the Gulf of California. It is bordered on the east by the mountainous peninsula which starts at the Straits of San Lorenzo, and on the west and south sides by a sandy beach which stretches from La Paz as a T-shaped peninsula, called Mojote. This sandy coast is largely grown with dense forests of mangles (Rhizophoraceae species), the abode of many sea birds.
At the time Rausset-Boulbon36 was in Sonora with his freebooters, a similar expedition took place in Baja California under the command of the American adventurer, “general” William Walker.37He landed at La Paz on 3 November 1853 from the barque Caroline, took all officials as prisoners, lowered the Mexican flag and declared Baja California a separate republic of which he was the president himself.
However, this ended when in January 1854, Baja California and Sonora united to form a single republic38 In March and April of the same year, Walker invaded again from the north with about one hundred freebooters under Watkins39 but when he returned to San Tomas, he was attacked by the Mexican troops and had to cross the border, where he surrendered on 6 May 1854 to the American officials. Although Walker was prosecuted in court, the affair fizzled out and a few years later he left with a new troupe of freebooters for Nicaragua. In common with most Mexican cities, La Paz was repeatedly the scene of small revolutions which always end as suddenly as they start.
I used the ten days available before I had a favorable chance to go to the uninhabited island Espíritu Santo, to make several small trips on the land and the water, usually accompanied by senor Gaston Vives. I was primarily interested in tracing Indian remains, but also in collecting zoological objects. On the shore south of La Paz I found, especially at ebb tide, a number of javelin- and arrow-heads of several shapes and sizes. Most of them were damaged, mainly on account of the material of which they had been made, usually porphyry. Where the beach was a little higher, forming a dam where the bushes started, there were numerous piles of empty shells, mainly oyster shells, the contents of which certainly had once served for food to the Indians.
In spite of several efforts, I could not find any artifacts in these piles; however I believe that, if a large number of such piles were carefully examined, some artifacts would be found.
It is clear that the former Pericúes once had settlements along these shores. A little inland, at Las Garzas, the huerta where Vives has his sugar cane fields, I found some javelin-heads. La Garzas is also a good place to collect natural history objects and to satisfy one’s hunting instincts.
On the sandy soil, the horny toad (Phrynosoma sp.) lives, camouflaged by its color, while the rattlesnake40 shuffles among the chaparral of pitahayas41 and cardones42 (Cereus giganteus), in which plant many holes have been made by the Gila woodpecker (Centurus uropygialis). Huita-coches and huitacochones43 (Campylorhynchus and Methriopterus sp.) sound their melodious song, and at almost every step one chases some pigeons (a.o. Chamaepelia passerina), fleeing with loud whistles and flapping wings. The quelele (Polyboruscheriway) looks forward towards booty whenever a shot is fired, while its cousin, the slender and much rarer Aesalon columbarius is a terror of small birds (a.o. Pipilo, Tyrannus and Porzanna sp.). Hares (Lepus callotis) are not rare.
Vives and I attempted in vain to see the rare bird Rallus beldingi Ridgew., discovered by Belding. Although we spent hours sitting silently in the mangrove forest, we never could take aim at this shy bird.
I was luckier on our little sailing trips in the bay. Many kinds of seagulls (a.o. Larus occidentalis, L. delewarensis, l. heermanii, and L. philadelphiae) are very common along the entire coast. Cormorants (Phalacrocorax sp.) are rarer than pelicans. The latter often sit in tight rows on the beach, suddenly rising in the air, shooting down like an arrow when their sharp eye has spotted a desirable fish in the clear sea. The majestic frigate bird (Tachypetes minor), which is very difficult to shoot, soars high in the air. On account of the shape of its tail, the Mexicans call this bird tijereta (scissor bird). Only if one manages to reach very silently and windwards, the border of the mangrove forest, where the bird sometimes alights on the branches, can one take aim at this bird. Once I shot, between La Paz and Pichilingue44 a Sula cyanops, which was probably a stray, for none of the Mexicans had ever seen this bird before I showed it to them. Belding had not seen the bird at this location either. Some time later, I saw a second specimen of this Sula, but I could not lay my hands on it.
Among the many fishes populating the Bay of La Paz, I will only mention Conger niger, Aphorista atricauda, Tetrodon geometricus, Diodon hystrix and so on. These fishes are usually harpooned45 by the Mexicans. Sharks are not rare. They are, as also the manta raya, an enormous cephalopode, very dangerous to bathers. Between La Paz and Pichilingue, there is a reef of very brittle coral (Fungia and Poecilopora sp.) where one can find many starfishes, sea urchins (Encope sp.) and holothurians.
The shore of the Gulf, especially the peninsula Mojote, offers a rich harvest to the shell collector.46
At last, the northern wind which had been blowing for days, abated on 25 January and the sky, which had been clouded during that time, expanded clearer and bluer than ever above the calm bay. We used this fortunate event to get ready for the trip to Espíritu Santo, which trip had been planned for a long time. The Soledad (also called Petit Coco), a sailing vessel belonging to Vives and used for pearl fishing, had all provisions and equipment aboard at noon. We were waiting for a favorable south wind, which started blowing in the evening and at nine o’clock we started our trip in darkness. The party consisted of Vives, Senor Sepulveda, our captain, Senor Uzárraga, a judge from La Paz and two Mexican sailors. Duc, the faithful dog of Vives came with us also.
In spite of the encouraging whistling of the captain, the coromuel47 or southern wind did not blow very hard into our sails, hence the oars had to be used if we were to arrive at Espíritu Santo on the next morning. Fortunately, the wind increased later and when we awakened on the morning of the twenty sixth, we were in the Ensenada de la Gallina on the west coast of the island. Some fishermen were working nearby and I could observe how the scaphander48 clad divers collected the oysters from the sea bottom. A few years ago, the divers still worked naked, but now the scaphander has found its way into this corner of the earth also. While examining the oysters I found a few decapods from the Remipes and Pontonia genera in the shells. They had probably accidentally entered the oyster shells, for it is not recorded that these animals are parasites. After breakfast we rowed further to a spot, called Las Cuevitas, where we landed for the first time, using a very small canoe, made from a hollowed trunk of a tree. At first, I had great trouble keeping my equilibrium and not falling in the water with my rifle. I examined two caves which I saw in the sloping land, hoping to find Indian graves, but in vain. A very tiring trip I took in the afternoon together with Gaston in the scorching sun over rocks and through ravines did not yield anything either. I however saw the black hare (Lepus californicus or L. richardsoni or L. bennetti49) which occurs here in the wild state. In the evening we moved southward and anchored in the Ensenada de la Candelera, probably named after the resemblance the rock pillars (apparently porphyry) have to candle sticks. The next morning I went ashore and photographed a few views from our landing place.50 Candelera is one of the few spots on Espiritu Santo wheie fresh water is found, which made me expect that perhaps Indians had lived here in former times. We did not have to climb the rocks for a long time to locate some caves in which I found, to my great satisfaction, a skull and some long bones. The skull lay half buried in the sand which covered the bottom of the cave; unfortunately, some of the bones of the skull separated while I was digging it out. The bones had clearly once been coated with a red coloring matter. The skull was distinctly dolichocephalous51 and clearly indicated a little developed race. With the help of the writings of early authors, it will be possible to determine with great probability to which Indian tribes these bones belonged.
The Pericúes or Péricu Indians were of the same tribe as the Edués or Edu from the south. They inhabited Espíritu Santo and the neighboring coasts and islands.52 The Coras were a sub-tribe of the Pericúes. However, neither Venegas nor Clavigero speaks about the burial customs of these Indians.
This Swas a lucky day for, when in the afternoon I searched further together with Sepúlveda and one of the sailors, we found in a ravine which ended in the small bay of Cardoncito, in three different caves a rather large number of human bones, among which another dolichocephalous skull, probably female. All these bones, if they were not too much decayed, showed the same red color as the earlier ones, but much more pronounced. It could now no more be doubted that the bones had been colored purposely; influence of the soil was out of the question. Later it was found that the red coloring matter was ochre.53 All these bones lay randomly together, uncovered, at the bottom of the caves. No artifacts were found; I only found some half decayed vegetable fibres, probably from the mezcal.
This afternoon walk was one of the most rugged of my entire voyage. We had to climb for hours among the pointed pieces of lava, ascending and descending, under a burning sun. My hands were scratched by the thorny choyas (Opuntia sp.) and cardones, my feet burned like fire and I was dead tired upon reaching the beach again when the sun was about to set.
Since the tropics are so near, the twilight is very short here. Darkness falls at half past six in winter time and only a few minutes later in summer time.
While our hulk moved up and down and the stars followed their course, we sat in the darkness for a long time, looking out. The sea birds fought for a resting place during the night, their cries reverberated among the rocks. but soon these cries were not heard any more and the murmuring waves sang us asleep.
Es murmeln die Wogen ihr ew’ges Gemurmel.54
The next morning we moved to Ensenada de la Ballena and continued our searches there. A long valley, with a dry river bed at the bottom, ends in this bay. A wilderness of giant cacti, pitahayas, choyas, and dense shrubbery expands here. It is a favorite hiding place for black hares, wild pigeons and woodpeckers (Centurus uorpygialis). I examined a number of caves in the southern wall, but without success. Sepúlveda, who had taken another direction, was luckier. In the afternoon, he guided me to a cave where he had made a good find. The bones of at least four adult persons and one child lay in a disorderly heap and here also most bones showed the red color. Some bones were so far decayed that they disintegrated upon touching them.
At the beach of Ballena Bay, there are some stone dikes, used for catching fish.
They are filled with water at flood tide, but at ebb tide the water flows away slowly through the fissures between the stones of the dikes and leaves the fishes and mollusks as an easy prey for the Yaqui Indians, who made these dikes.
At various places one finds the skeletons of large turtles and often these animals can be seen in the sea along the coast. It is difficult to shoot them for they continuously dive under water to emerge at some distance.
The Yaquis often visit this island in summer while diving for pearls; we often saw the traces of their presence. Later in the afternoon, we sailed to the Bay of San Gabriel where we anchored shortly before sundown.
At this location, Espíritu Santo is traversed by a wide, sandy plain; we could however not see the eastern side of the island on account of the dense shrubbery.
Here again, I found many heaps of stones and dry branches, indicating the places where the Yaqui fishermen spent their nights and protected themselves against mosquitoes during the unbearably hot summers.
At the shore of San Gabriel, as also at the various bays already mentioned, one can collect many, often beautiful shells. Of the gastropods, the genera which are represented are Strombus, Fusus, Oliva, Nasa, Natica, Vermetus and Bulla. A small white Oliva species, which is abundant at some locations is called, on account of its color and size: arroz de mar (sea rice). On the shore, one often sees Bullimus. The lamellibranchatae are represented by Lucina, Cythraea and, of course, oysters (Ostrea). Of the cephalopods, I only found one specimen of Argonauta.
In the pools among the mangles there are many white garzas (Garzetta candissima); one also sees some pelicans. In the plains, there were many black hares which we gave a hard time with our rifles.
Unfortunately, an examination of the caves in the nearby mountains yielded nothing. I had to satisfy myself with taking some photographs of views along the coast. The next morning, we sailed to the Dispensa Bay, the most southern one on the west coast of Espíritu Santo. The Mexicans had promised me that I would find enormous human bones here but, as I expected, I found nothing. The many vertebrae of sharks55 which I found on the beach had probably inspired these stories.
At our last landing place, I found a regularly formed eruption cone with a reddish color,56 which had penetrated the layers of tertiary sandstone, which cone I had already seen when we passed the island on the Mexico.
From the southern coast, we had a gorgeous view of the majestic mountains along the Straits of San Lorenzo and the island Cerralbo.
Since the east coast of Espíritu Santo is mountainous and has no places where one finds fresh water, we considered it unnecessary to visit there and decided to return on the thirtieth at 2.30 in the afternoon. On account of the strong adverse wind (coromuel) we only reached the Bay of Pichilingue that day. The next morning we visited the small island, located across the bay to see the salt pans (salinas). Salt is produced at many places along the coast of the Gulf, and specially in the island Carmen.
On the sandy soil, near the salinas, I found a large number of stones, forming a maze, covering several square metres. Our captain told me that the maze is used for a game of the Vaquis, which they call: la casa de Montezuma.
Soon a nice breeze started and we safely reached La Paz at two o’clock in the afternoon.
From La Paz
To San José
After I had developed my photographic plates and organized the objects I had collected, I started preparations for my trip to San José. Vives had found a guide for me, Don Juan de Dios Angúlo, a person with an extensive knowledge of the country. He had a good name on the peninsula on account of his share in the war of 1847-1848 against the Americans and the defense of Baja California against Walker. Don Juan was a strong old man of sixty seven years, tall, with a long dense beard and a bald head. His deportment and manners were very dignified; he reminded me of Arabs.
We presently agreed on the price. On 6 February, long before sunrise we were riding along the road to the rancho Las Playitas. A Mexican boy of about twelve or fourteen years, named Valentin, who led the mule which carried my luggage and photographic apparatus, was mounted on a small, wiry horse. Most of the horses on the peninsula are small, puny and ugly; they however have all the good qualities of horses with a rough training. Hardened against fatigue, they can continue for twelve hours without water or food. They do not require to be taken care of, for rubbing down is not done in Baja California.
When the sun came up, I saw that we were on a wide, sandy road, bordered on both sides by high cardones, pitahayas57 and dense chaparral. At about ten o’clock in the morning, we arrived at las Playitas, the rancho of Don Juan, located in a sunny vale among light grey granite mountains. After a hearty meal of chile con carne (a hash of beef or deer meat, with spanish pepper), frijoles (brown beans), tortillas and cheese, I surveyed the vicinity. The nearly dry arroyo (brook, rivulet, mountain stream), whose bed consisted of broken granite, meandered through dense shrubbery, above which the crown of a slender palm tree rose at some spots. The air was filled with the aromatic smell of damiana58 (marjoram, Bigelovia sp.) and Salvia, the murmuring of the brook and the flutter of the hummingbirds (Calypte costae59) were the only sound which disturbed the tranquility. It is a great pleasure to roam among the richness of form and color of a subtropical climate; while one roams, dreamingly through the fields, the hours flee with an unusual speed.
At four o’clock, we continued our trip to Triunfo; Valentin had already left with the mule. The road was worse now, full of rough spots, ascending or descending and leading now and then through a dry arroyo. At one spot on the road, the stately ranges of the wooded Sierra Laguna were seen in the blue distance, but soon lost themselves in the foliage of the heavy huamóche60 trees and fragrant binormas61 (Mimosa fam.). The only rancherías we passed were Calabásas and San Blas. In the latter village, a loud party was in progress which almost cost me my luggage. Valentin, who passed through San Blas with his mule a few hours later had the greatest trouble to escape some drunken ruffians. They were already cutting the lariates62 used to tie the luggage to the mule when the return of Don Juan made them change their minds. After the latter had accompanied me to Triunfo, he became uneasy on account of Valentin’s tardiness and went back; thus he was able to rescue the muchacho (boy).
Baja California is one of the safest parts of Mexico. Street robbery, so common in other states of this country, does not occur here, perhaps because there is hardly a regular traffic of travelers or merchandise.
That day, I had been in the saddle for ten hours and, immediately after arriving at a simple inn, I went to bed because I was very tired.
The next day, immediately after I had risen, I was called to a sick child. Although Triunfo has several thousand inhabitants, there is no physician or pharmacist and therefore every stranger whom they believe can give some medical assistance, is called upon. It happened that I was able to be of help and it was thus that I started my practice, nolens volens.
Triunfo was founded some twenty years ago63 after some silver mines had been discovered. It is charmingly located among partly forested granite mountains. It has the appearance of all other Mexican cities and has a regular plan.
The mines, one of which I visited in the afternoon, are exploited by an English company, headed by Mr. H.64 They are the only profitable ones on the peninsula. Among the miners there are several Yaqui Indians.
On the morning of the eighth we said good buy to Triunfo and reached San Antonio after a ride of about one hour. It is a charming little city, with white houses, built among the greenery of the huamóches and orange trees between the mountains.
Leaving San Antonio, the road rises again; looking backward after arriving at the top of the pass, one gazes at the quiet little town, whose white houses reflect the morning sun. Ahead lies the wide valley of Aguas Calientes, which stretches toward the Gulf, where one sees the rough mountain mass of the island of Cerralbo. In westerly direction, high mountains, forested up to their tops, rise towards the sky. Below, we stopped for some time at the rancho Aguas Calientes where, as the name indicates, there is a hot spring which contains hydrogen sulfide, as judged by the taste. Under a shed, made of palm leaves, several deerskins were drying; the ranchero told us that deer were very common in the vicinity.
We continued our journey, mainly through or along an arroyo, winding through dense shrub forests until we passed rancho la Venta, where we stopped under the green branches of an oak tree to have our lunch. Around four o’clock, we reached San Bartólo, which nestles against a steep mountain slope in a romantic way. The subtropical climate seems to have poured out all its treasures around this spot, and pleases the eye of the traveler with its indescribable charm. Fields of sugar cane group themselves together with orchards of banana trees; the dark green of the orange trees, laden with glowing fruit, competes with the luxuriant crowns of palm trees and wild figs, a view which one never forgets.
We watered our horses at a clear brook which irrigated San Bartólo and continued our trip through a long valley of grey granite rocks until we arrived at the rancho de la Ensenada, which is close to the sea shore. Our supper was meager; it consisted of nothing but a few tortillas with cheese; the poor farmers did not have much themselves. But this was not a great hardship, for the weariness of the journey presently put me to sleep under the shelter of palm trees near the purling waves at the lonely beach. We departed early in the morning and followed the shore to Tecolote, a small rancho, where we had breakfast and where I could add some shells to my collection.
From here, we traveled over sandy soil, covered largely with brazilwood65 and we reached Los Martyres long before noon. It has only a few ranchos, lost in vast sugar cane fields which cover the plains. We halted at one of these ranchos. Soon the horses were unsaddled and I went with a Mexican boy towards some sandstone hills full of caves and fissures, which rose not far from the shore, to find indicios de la gentilidad as Don Juan calls them. After many a drop of perspiration, I found a beautiful male skull with the corresponding pelvis and some long bones. These were apparently an indicio that Indians formerly lived there. Los Martyres takes its name from the fact that formerly a few missionaries had been burned alive by the Indians.66
The dolichocephalous character and the Melanesian nature of this skull were again very pronounced. Unlike the skulls from Espíritu Santo however, this skull was not colored red. Later in the afternoon, I went to the shore where many granite boulders were lying around and enriched my shell collection with some beautiful specimens of Dolium, in which often a hermit crab is found, Cypraea and so on.
I returned to the rancho through the thick shrubbery which covered the hills along the coast and shot some pigeons to be used for supper. Here one finds the white garza (Garzetta candissima), the red cardinal bird (Cardinalis virginianus igneus67) and very often the mockingbird or zenzóntle(Mimus polyglottus).
It was cool in the evening and after supper we gathered around a crackling fire which burned under a roof near the corrál. Among those who looked for shelter during the night near the fire was a curious person of thirty or thirty five years. He had a wild appearance, long blond hairs hung over his shoulders in a disorderly mass and his shy face was covered by a dense beard. He was dressed in rags and wore sandals. When I asked about him, I learned that he was an American of German origin, who had been roaming the peninsula for years. He lived entirely on alms from the natives who considered him a harmless lunatic. How he happened to come here, nobody knew. He stared meditatively into the fire and gave only detached answers to our questions. The hours flew by while we smoked our cigarettes and told hunting stories, of which our host knew many.
After we had spent the night near the fire, wrapped in our sarapés, I departed for the mountains in the morning, accompanied by one of the peones of the rancho. Our host had told me that. on the east slope of the sierra, rock paintings could be found, and I wanted to look for them.
In the meantime, Don Juan and Valentin went with the luggage to las Cuevas, a rancho on the road to Santiago, where I was to meet them again later. After a ride of several hours in the hot sun, my guide led me through dense shrubbery on the left hand side of the narrow path which we had been following. Soon I faced a large, isolated block of granite. This boulder was covered over an area measuring two and a half by one and a half metres, with a large number of red vertical stripes, drawn closely together. Many of them were, however, partly obliterated. There also was a picture of an olla, vaguely distinguishable and several other figures, which I did not recognize. These paintings were facing east.
After I had taken a photograph, which was not easy considering the terrain, my peon led me towards a second boulder, higher up the mountain among dense shrubbery, located on the land of rancho el Sauce. This granite boulder was painted with some twenty red fishes and other animal forms, difficult to recognize. The painted area measured about two by one metres, and was also directed towards the east. A thick trunk of a wild fig tree (zalate) had grown up right in front of the boulder since the time the Indian artist finished his work; therefore not all could be seen. Since it was not possible to install my photographic apparatus on the steep slope, densely grown with shrubs, I made a sketch of the drawings.68
Around three o’clock in the afternoon, I reached las Cuevas in a very hungry state. I found Don Juan there and after a few hours we continued our journey. The road ran through a wide canada of yellow sandstone; we had to cross arroyos several times. After leaving the canada we reached a sandy plateau and saw the stately Sierra Victoria on our right hand side. An hour and a half later, in the darkness, we reached Santiago. We stayed with the vice-prefect who also had a grocery shop; I slept on the top of the counter.
Santiago or, to give it its complete name, Santiago de las Coras, developed around a mission, founded in 1723. The belligerent nature of the natives endangered the mission several times, especially in 1734 when two priests were killed. The mission was discontinued in 1795 and the converted Indians of the Cora tribe were moved to Caduaño and San José. Nothing in Santiago reminds of these days, even the old church has disappeared. The city has almost 2000 inhabitants and is one of the principal cities in this part of Baja California.
Before continuing our journey on the morning of the eleventh, I visited a nearby laguna where I found wild ducks, a Black necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus69)and turtles (Pseudemus sp.).
Our first stop was at the beautiful rancho Agua Caliente, located at a beautiful spot in the shade of heavy oak trees. There must have been an Indian settlement there in the old days for, when I dug into the sandy soil near a bank, I found some artifacts (manitas70 and metates), formerly used in preparing maize. I also acquired a nice flint arrowhead and was able to shoot a grey fox with my revolver. After a hearty meal at the table of the old señoritas-rancheras, we continued our trip to la Palma, crossing sandy plateaus.and cañadas.
The first inhabited spot we passed was Caduaño.71It is charmingly located against the green slopes of the mesa between palm trees and heavily laden orange trees. We passed Miraflores with its white houses and its only sandy street and shortly after the sun disappeared behind the mountains in red splendor, we reached rancho la Palma, located at the border of a sandstone mesa. Close by, another plateau rose and reached as far as Santa Anita. It was called the Yéneca which, according to Don Juan is an old Indian word, meaning “large plain.”
The next morning we continued our trip, passing Santa Anita and Santa Catarina towards San José. At our right hand side, the sharp peak of San Lázaro pointed towards the sky and in the distance, far away, the sea could be seen. At noon, we stopped at Santa Catarina for a few hours.
lmmediately after hearing that a foreign naturalista had arrived, I was called to the sick bed of the most prominent citizen, but I could not help him; his days were numbered.
At five o’clock in the afternoon, we reached San José where Mr. Belding was impatiently waiting for me.
Soon I rented a room in an uninhabited, dilapidated house, full of bales ofdamiana,72 which made the atmosphere unbearable. But there was no choice; there was no inn.
San José del Cabo is located in an undulating fertile valley, close to the ocean. This valley, irrigated by a clear brook, almost looks like a plain. East- and westward extends a low range of hills and to the north we see the lowland, crossed by numerous arroyos and cahadas, which we have traversed since we left Los Martyres.
San José is a dreary dog-hole with dilapidated houses and miserable hovels. The location of the old mission, founded in 1720, is a few miles to the north and is called San José Viejo.
San José has a mixed population; every part of the world has contributed towards its composition. In addition to Mexicans, who are in the majority, there are Mulattoes and Zambos, natives of the Philippines and China, Americans and Chilenos, French-men and Germans. Many of them are sailors and whalers who jumped ship, others are waifs also, waifs of the ocean of life who look for an abode in this out-corner of the world.
We used the three days prior to making a trip to the Sierra Victoria in making small hunting trips in the vicinity of San José. We bagged ducks from the brook of San José, partridges, pigeons. The partridges are called chicuacas here, on account of the sound they make. Sometimes, one also sees a roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), called churéa here. This bird develops an amazing speed and only rarely uses its short wings to leave the ground for a short while. The people believe that the churéa fights snakes and is not harmed by their poison. The latter may be explained by the extraordinary thick layer of fat which coversthe breast and belly of this bird.
Along the flat, sandy shore, which has a heavy surf, one sees multitudes of pelicans (Pelicanus fuscus). One sees them often, huddled sadly between the mangroves. The birds seem to waste away and the many dead pelicans one sees around the tide pools make one suspect that something else, besides the hunter’s lead is at work. Indeed, after close examination, we found a large number of worms (Ascaris spiculigera Rud.) in the stomach of these birds.
The Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis texensis), called tapacamina here, is another common bird, which however is only seen at dusk.
Among the plants, peculiar to the vicinity of San José, I will only mention Selaginella lepidophylla which often covers entire hill slopes in the arroyos.73 This plant is very hygroscopic and is therefore called siempre viva by the Mexicans. Dried specimens, put into water later, unfold themselves and regain their dark green color.
The San José is the largest river of this area; it houses in its clear water several species of fish, such as Mugil albula and M. brasiliensis, Agonostoma nasuta, called trucha by the Mexicans, Gobius banana and G. sagittata, Philypsus lateralis, Dormitator somnolentus and Centrophanes robalito, which is called liza74 by the Mexicans and which sometimes flies up in the air.
Apparently, two or three species of snakes are found near San José, but Belding could only find Tropidonotus validus tephropleura. In addition, a small turtle (Pseudemys ornata) occurs. The crustaceans are represented by many large shrimps (Palaemon sp.).
The Central Mountains
Our trip to the central mountains, which we started on the fifteenth of February, was undertaken by Belding to make ornithological observations while I desired to find out whether the, now extinct, Indians of the lonely sierra had perhaps left some traces.
We left at one o’clock in the afternoon in beautiful weather, guided by Don Juan with Valentin as a rear guard.
We passed through Santa Catarina, where I visited my patient again and arrived after a long ride under a clear moon at the rancho el Desecho, where we spent the night. The next morning, a strong northern wind blew, which continued for the entire day and cooled the air considerably. Passing the already known rancho la Palma, we continued towards rancho Viejo, near Miraflores to meet our guide for the mountains and one hour later Francisco “El Tintero” appeared on his half-wild horse. Belding had traveled in the sierra with this man before and knew he was an experienced montañero. The nickname “El Tintero” (The inkwell) he acquired on account of the dark color of his face.
We agreed to leave Agua Caliente on the same day and to leave for the sierra on the next morning, while Don Juan and Valentin were to go to la Palma to await our return.
I had frequently asked the Mexicans for information on the “pagan times.” They often mentioned the ruin of a “painted house,” the Casa Pintada, which was reported to exist somewhere high in the mountains. The stories varied considerably however and nobody had ever seen the Casa Pintada. Finally I discovered that the owner of the rancho el Carrizal might be able to set me straight. Therefore we went to el Carrizal first. The road was steep and difficult, leading along the mountain slope until we finally reached, after four hours riding, the shabby rancho which perched like an eagle’s nest in the mountains.
The mountain slope was partially covered with grape vines here; the white wine which the ranchero let us taste, was excellent. Wine culture has been started at several locations on the peninsula with good results; the wine made at los Dolores was not at all inferior to the wine of Alta California.
Apparently, el Carrizal was once inhabited by Indians; the ranchero pointed out several large, bowl-shaped holes which at one time served as mortars to crush maize.
It appeared that the ranchero indeed knew about the Casa Pintada, but he told us immediately that the original building did not exist any more. We soon mounted our horses again and he guided us to the site. The terrain was extremely difficult for a horseman, the rough mountain road was often so steep that we could not remain in the saddle. At first, the vegetation consisted of Cereus species, which disappeared at higher elevation and were replaced by a gorgeous park-like forest of oak trees, the crowns of which were shaking in the northern wind. At places where a brook descended from rock to rock, there were groups of taco palms standing in the fresh coves whose ground was covered with grass. As we came higher, we had gorgeous views of the mountains; plains and cañadas stretched like an immense relief map bordered by the ocean.
At times, we encountered groups of wild pigs, enjoying the sweet acorns which cover the ground.
At last, we arrived at a part of the sierra where almost white granite rocks were covered in a most colorful way with a reddish-brown lichen75 and soon thereafter, we stopped at a spot which our guide declared to be named: Casa Pintada76 Although I searched diligently, I could find no trace of a ruin, only a partly decayed wooden fence indicated where the soil had been cultivated in former times. Everywhere the ground was covered with reddish-mossy stones.
I could not make sense of the vague replies our guide made to my questions. He stated that the Jesuits once operated a mine somewhere in the mountains and worked the ore here, but this sounded improbable to me. I rather suspect that there once was a normal rancho here which was called Casa Pintada on account of the rocks in the vicinity, which are covered with red moss and, from a distance, give the impression of being painted. This useless trip strengthened my opinion that one cannot trust the statements of the Mexicans. Before starting the return trip, we shot as many pigeons as needed for supper and returned, hot and tired, in the darkness, to el Carrizal. We were shivering with cold during the night, stretched out under a shed made of palm leaves. Guests usually have to sleep outside because the rancho itself is too small to house guests in addition to the large family.
The next day we returned to Agua Caliente to retrieve the mule and the luggage and in the afternoon, we returned to the mountains. We ascended continuously through dense shrubbery, following a hardly visible mountain trail which ended in a narrow valley with steep, rocky walls. Dark oak trees bordered the deserted banks of a clear mountain brook and in the evening we camped. Numerous swallows (Tachycineta sp.) hovered in the air in graceful curves above the water. After the night had spread its veil, the tree-frogs and crickets started their monotonous song which ended only after the morning red started covering the rocky walls and we raked up our dying campfíre to prepare our sober breakfast.
We continued along an almost unpassable steep path, which disappeared later and climbed a mountain slope, covered with oak-trees and short grass. It was a complete wilderness; nothing was to be seen but mountain and forest. A few deer crossed our path; immediately Belding’s rifle sounded which brought one of them down. We dismounted to pursue the second deer and soon found it in a shallow ravine where one shot of my rifle killed it. With astonishing skill, Francisco took off the antlers in no time at all and burdened our faithful mule with the double load of our luggage and the two captured animals. But the load was apparently too heavy for, after a short while, at a steep point, it lost its balance and fell in a ravine. The sound of rolling stones and crackling branches, an avalanche of oaths from Francisco and the scared snorting of long-ears followed until the mule was stopped by a tree and lost half its load. The stand of my photographic apparatus was partly demolished and we lost half of our precious deer meat.
Half an hour later, we were on the move again. At noon, we camped in a green mountain meadow, totally enclosed by palm trees. We shackled the horses and, after having eaten something we entered the wilderness in different directions. The season was not yet sufficiently advanced to show us the animal life in its full glory. Insects especially were scarce and almost entirely represented by a small red ant species and a louse-fly (?) (Lipoptera sp.) which I found on the skin of the dead deer. Together with a few spiders and branchiopods, these insects were the only anthropods to be observed.
We did not find many fish at this altitude either, only trout [trucha] (Agonostoma nasutus). However, in the quiet shaded brooks a small water-snake lived (Tropidonotus sp.), and we found a few lizard specimens (Gerrhonotus multicarnatus). The tree-frog (Hyla regilla), which we already saw earlier, was observed again here. The birds living in these forests are partly those which are exclusive for the area of the peninsula, south of La Paz. To begin with the Cape Robin (Merula confinis) which lives mainly in the conifer forest, but which we did not see this time. Merula has not been observed since 1860 when Xántus claimed to have shot this bird at Todos Santos. However, a few weeks before we started this trip, Belding was so lucky to shoot two specimens of this rare bird in the northern part of these mountains (Laguna). Hence it is evident that this bird does not merit the name Cape Robin. This mistake was probably due to the fact that Xántus was stationed at Cape St. Lucas and sent all his material from there.77
The deer78 (Cariacus macrotus) is the largest mammal of this area. It roams around in small herds, rarely disturbed by hunters, for the Mexicans only seldom enter the rough uninhabited sierra. Formerly, the Mountain Sheep (Ovis montana) also occurred here; hunters told me that they had found horns which, according to their description, could not have belonged to other animals. The American lion (Felis concolor), called onza here, and not to be confused with the American tiger (Felis onza) is only rarely seen according to Francisco. The lynx (Felis rufa) and gray fox (Urocyon cinereo-argentatus) are however common.
At night, at the camp fire, we heard the call of the owl(lachusa) and although we tried to shoot him by the light of the moon we did not find him.
At half past nine in the morning we decamped to go higher in the sierra. We often had to dismount if the slope was too steep or the shrubbery too tight and we proceeded only slowly. We had the same sunny weather and the same blue sky expanded itself over the green oak forests and lush mountain meadows in which we moved slowly.
After a tiring march of four hours, we stopped at the border of an oak forest, where a small meadow was enclosed between heavily grown mountain slopes at an elevation of almost 3910 English feet. We camped here for four days and roamed around in the vicinity, hunting deer and birds from early in the morning until late at night.79The flora was the same everywhere, although at some spots madroña (Arbutus menziesi) is seen also. At some locations yucca and mimosa species were common but we saw only a few flowers. A small red Lupinus species glowed among the grass here and there. The Geranium which grows here, was not yet in bloom. Several fern species graced the borders of the brooks, seldom illuminated by a ray of the sun, for the mighty oak trees wove their branches together to form a dense vault of living green below which there was only shade and quiet and where one liked to lie down to escape the heat of the afternoon.80
The granite rocks near our camp carried at many places the same beautiful lichen we found near the Casa Pintada.
The revolting auras were continuously near our camp to scavenge the deer meat which had been cut by Francisco into long thin strips and hung on a lazo to dry in the sun. Deer meat, barbecued on a long stick was, together with Mexican cheese and crackers the steady diet during our stay in the sierra.
At night, the lynxes and foxes were miauing and screaming, but the glow of our campfire and the sound of our voices kept them away.
After dusk had fallen, I mounted one of the hills which overlooked the camp site and sat down, looking at the silent mountains and valleys, illuminated by the soft, silvery light of the moon. The evening wind kissed the crowns of the palm trees and the grass underneath; the leaves of the oak trees rustled while the deep silence of the wilderness with its thousand nameless voices gave the impression of vast loneliness. Images start rising in one’s imagination, one thinks of his home country, of his loved ones who are far away and of the life, full of hardship and strife which lies ahead.
Even if a feeling of despair and doubt of one’s own strength overpowers the traveler, it is only for a short moment. . .
Ein süsser Zauber was auf mich gekommen,
Ich wusste nicht, wie meiner Brust geschehen.
Was ich geheim im Mondenlicht vernommen,
Das wird mir ewig durch die Seele gehen.81
This way, one sits musing until the cool night air of the mountains urges one to find the campfire again, far away among the trees.
I did not discover one trace which indicated that Indians formerly lived in these mountains. It is possible that they only seldom entered this wilderness and that they were afraid, like the Apaches, of wooded mountains and the thunderstorms which often rage there. But these are perhaps the mountains of Acaragui, mentioned in the cosmogony of the Pericúes, where Quaayayp, the son of the creator of the world creator Niparaya was born from the virgin Anayicoyondi.82
My photographic work was unsatisfactory. Although I tried to repair the broken stand as well as possible, the camera lacked the necessary steadiness. All exposures I made on this trip failed.
In the morning of 23 February, we started our return journey, which was even more difficult than the one coming in. After a tiring day-long march we reached Agua Caliente again, which we left the next morning for Miraflores. From there, I visited two painted rocks in the Boca San Pedro while Belding finished dressing and organizing his ornithological booty. The pictographs I mentioned are located two leguas83 from Miraflores on the rough mountain path, which leads towards Todos Santos and the west coast. About half of the surface of both rocks was covered with a large number of red figures of which the largest part had been obliterated by time. Three red hands and a large number of lines could however be recognized.84
After our return to Miraflores, I helped Belding who was still busy and, while we were sitting down under the shed of our humble dwelling a group of curious Mexicans was crowding around us. This was not the first time we were gazed at as if we were beings from another planet. Whether one is writing, reading, eating, smoking or doing whatever, there are always a few of them, staring at you in an immobile stance and observing your slightest motion with the greatest attention.
After we had vainly tried to shoot an Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi) in the moonlight, we spent the night in the company of the cockroaches and scorpions. In the morning, I was brought to several sick persons and shortly thereafter we galopped on the road to la Palma and were back in San José in the evening.
Aday and a half later, I was on my way again, together with Don Juan, this time to los Frailes, located on the coast east of San José, where I hoped to find human bones in the sandstone caves. From Santa Catarina it was a monotonous ride over rough sandstone, only sparsely covered with shrubs and yucca. It took a long time to find a shelter for the night. In the morning we saw the same scenery as on the previous day. At times one heard the waves, breaking on the southern beach, sounding like thunder in the distance.
After we left the abandoned rancho el Tule, the road led along the beach for some time. Here were low dunes. At rancho el Salado, we left the coast and climbed the foothills of the sierra where we wandered around for some hours in the shrubbery until the lonely mountain mass of los Frailes and Cape Pulmo rose before our eyes. Dusk had already fallen when we reached a hovel, made of branches where some pearl fishermen were preparing their supper. One of them guided us to a rancho, located at the foot of los Frailes, which had been left by its inhabitants in fear of the storm predicted by Weggins.85 Only a lone muchacho had been left; hesitatingly he brought us some dried meat and allowed us to spend the night in the shed.
The next morning, the sky was clouded and soon a torrential rain started, an uncommon phenomenon at this time of the year. The actual rainy period starts in June and ends on October. Don Juan and the muchacho looked at each other in a depressed way and asked me what I thought of Weggins’ prediction. I put them at ease and, when the rain had stopped after a few hours, we mounted our horses. We examined a large number of caves and crevices in a narrow valley with steep sandstone walls, but no trace of bones, here or near the broken gray granite rocks at los Frailes, could be found.
The entire coast was a scene of barren, desolate loneliness, augmented by the monotonous sound of the waves at the sandy shore.
After a miserable lunch, I returned in a disappointed mood. We spent the night in a small hovel where the poor people could give us hardly a tortilla. In a streaming rain we continued the trip on 24 March. The horses sadly lowered their heads and were as hungry as we were ourselves when we reached rancho el Chino an hour later. Here we enjoyed a hearty breakfast, served by the comely daughter of the house, a senorita of some eighteen summers. I was deluged with questions about Paris and the present fashions, dances, theatres and while I told her about all these delights, she sighed as her mind wandered to all these unreachable pleasures. Stranger! do not look too deeply into those dark moist eyes if you want to keep your peace of mind, for, alas, Mexican women are so beautiful!
The sky was clear again, hence we mounted our horses and continued our trip. In the afternoon we lost our way again, because the mountains which served as landmarks were hidden by heavy clouds. A torrential rain came down and darkness fell while we were in a dense forest of cardones and pitahayas. With great caution we escaped this maze and arrived at long last at a dry river bed in an arroyo. Don Juan declared that he was totally lost, therefore we could not do otherwise than spend the night there. We unsaddled the horses and lay down at the border of the river bed. My straw sombrero and my serape were drenched. Shivering from cold, I attempted to make a fire, but the wood was too wet for burning and so we passed the night without food or drink, without fire or light, until at long last, after hours which seemed to be centuries, the morning came. Slowly the mist rose and we greeted the sun with great joy. After a few hours, our clothes were dry again and we caught the horses.
As we were ready to mount, some Mexicans who were hunting deer arrived on horseback. They showed us the right way and at long last we reached San José and feasted on tortillas, frijoles and coffee, which tasted wonderful after a fast of twenty-four hours.
to Todos Santos
Three days passed before we could continue our journey; heavy rains imprisoned us in San José. I used the time for making inquiries for the remainder of the trip, greatly helped by Mr. Jules Simoneau, consular agent of the United States. At my request he had also caused many plants to be collected for me, plants which are used in this area as medicine for various ailments and from which we may learn something after they are analysed.86
My medical practice was flourishing, for there is no physician here. Many people remember the traveler Xántus, who offered help in many cases. Since I also was a naturalista and hence a hombre quien mucho sabe (a man who knows a lot), I was called in for consultation many times, often against my better feelings. They even brought me sick horses!
I have often been astonished to see how many quack remedies, which are so common in Europe and the United States, find their way even to this remote corner of the earth. Holloway and Brandt, Mother Seigel and Airy or whatever the names of the inventors of these “infallible medicines” may be, are often found in the houses and I was often asked my opinion of them. This opinion was, of course, always negative and I often witnessed with satisfaction that some or another panacea was thrown to the floor in disgust.
On the sixth of March, at eleven in the morning we said good-bye to San José. We were going to travel across the sierra to Todos Santos at the west coast. In a drizzling rain we advanced, first through the valley, later through the mountains. Don Juan was always first, followed by Belding on his high white horse, his rifle over his shoulder, whistling a waltz of Johann Strauss, thereafter I myself on a small mustang and finally Valentin, dirty and ragged as ever, who closed the cavalcade with the pack mule.
We traversed a mountain pass where the small ranchos Alamitos and Ascención lay hidden and towards the evening we stopped at la Parrita. Since it was raining, we were forced to spend the night in a poor hovel, sharing the small space with some men and women and a number of mangy dogs, the eternal scourge of every rancho. However, these animals do have their use, always hungry they eat all garbage. In addition, they are arch enemies of the zorillo (skunk, Mephitis putorius), which is always circling the huts in hope of loot. The Mexicans are very much afraid of the skunk since they believe that a bite of this animal causes rabies.
One of the Mexicans knew about some painted rocks in the vicinity of la Parrita but was very reluctant to guide us there. As usual, my queries about piedras pintadas were answered by ¿quien sabe? and suspicious looks. It is a general belief that treasures, left behind by the Jesuits when they had to leave the country, are buried in some places. The strange red marks, found at various places on the rocks are believed to indicate the location where these treasures could be found. I often found many holes near those painted rocks, showing how treasure had been hunted there. I always succeeded by stating that all treasures I found would be given to the person who showed me the location of the pinturas. This again happened this time. After a difficult trip, where a Mexican had to cut a trai through the shrubbery with a machete, we reached on foot some alabaster rocks, close together, on a mountain slope of the Rincon de San Antonio. The smallest rock carried only a few red marks, which I could not explain. The second rock had a flat wall which, on an area of about 3 by 7 metres, carried a large number of pictographic signs, partly obliterated, whose meaning was also obscure.87 The painted surfaces of these rocks were directed towards the northwest.
Digging under and next to the large rock, we found a few human bones, ribs and phalanges, colored red. On the return trip we were surprised by a heavy downpour which made us sopping wet. After supper we continued our trip. In the evening, we reached rancho San Felipe, located in a wide valley of sandstone and chalk with here and there outcroppings of dark chalk stone. The next day, we continued through an eternally monotonous landscape. Always the same barrel cacti, choyas and chaparral flora, as far as one could see in the mountainous terrain. The white top of Mount Calaveras was the only landmark.
We reached rancho el Zorillo towards four o’clock. From there, we could see Cape San Lucas. Close to the hut was the Cañada de las Calaveras or de los Defuntos. At the end of this cañada there were shallow holes in the badly eroded rocks, a few metres above ground level. As the name indicated, we found some isolated red human bones when we did some digging in the morning; later we encountered a doubled up skeleton of a child about twelve or fourteen years old. The face was turned to the ground and some decorated oyster shells had been laid between the bark and fibres of the Royal Palm88 which covered the remains. Close by, Mr. Belding found an incomplete male skeleton, with the skull89 preserved, which showed the same Melanesian characters as the skull I had found earlier, which was also colored red. It was a rough skull with an index of 61.45 and a distinct torus occipitalis.90 Our Mexicans, among them the ranchero of el Zorillo, watched our actions in disgust, especially since they believed that it was possible that these bones had belonged to “Christianos.” But when they did not see the cross on the skulls which, according to popular belief is found on the forehead of every Christian, they were at ease and convinced that we were dealing with calaveras de gentiles (heathen skulls).
Satisfied with these discoveries we continued our trip towards Candelario. After a long journey through endless cardones and pitahayas, Candelario appeared as an oasis with its tall Royal Palms, willow trees and fields of sugar canes. Several ranchos, whose inhabitants were mainly engaged in the production of panoche, were located in the valley. We spent part of the following day to trace down a cave, high in the sierra, where we found among rats’ nests a number of long bones, shoulderblades and a pelvis of Indians. In the afternoon we continued our trip which led us sometimes over steep, rough mountain trails, sometimes through arroyos and cañadas. From time to time we scared a deer from its lair or our path was crossed by
chicuacuas91 For a long time we had a view of the Pacific Ocean, whose blue mirror melted at the misty horizon, far away. In the early evening, we passed the Arroyo del Medio, where we watered the horses, and camped a little farther on. Nothing but the curious howl of the coyotes in the early morning, disturbed our sleep.
We did not carry any food but pinole92 hence we took our rifles to shoot some partridges; half an hour later we had a hearty breakfast. At midday, we reached rancho San Jacinto, located in a fertile valley. A rapid mountain stream, bordered by willow trees and palms found its way over the rocky riverbed. In the east, the mighty Sierra Victoria, whose highest tops were hidden in the clouds, was seen. Everything radiated in the tropical sun; nature breathed peace and tranquility.
San Jacinto is the second largest rancho (Agua Caliente is the largest) I visited on the peninsula. It consists of a large building, constructed of white plastered stones, with a high porch, supported by stone pillars. In front of the building, as far as the brook, was the huerta, full of flowers and plants, while at the eastern side, some auxiliary buildings, dwellings for the peones and corrals were seen.
I had a special purpose for visiting San Jacinto. Among the very few people who, in this part of the country are considered to be pure Indians, was the proprietess of San Jacinto, who lived there with her two adult children. She was large and had a robust stature and, in spite of her age, was still attractive. Her profile was finely chiselled, the nose slightly curved, the lips thin. Her forehead sloped slightly backward, she had small eyes. Her jugal bones protuded, her ears were large. Her face had a dark yellow color. Her two children, from a marriage with a Spanish father, looked exactly like all other Mexicans. I had to be satisfied with these superficial observations; I dared not inquire about the tribe of which she was one of the last representatives, because it would have offended her if I had held her for an Indian. Every Mexican, of whatever mixed blood, considers himself of pure Spanish ancestry and would feel offended if one told him that he was an Indian or a Mestizo, even if he knew perfectly well that it was true. Only the Yaquis and the Mayos are, with some exceptions, still considered to be Indians on the peninsula. However, after observing the country people, I am convinced that, besides the two already mentioned tribes which are not original in Baja California, a number of pure and mixed blood Indians are still living there, descendants of the old Pericúes. However, these individuals have forgotten the language, religion, traditions and customs of their ancestors and have become totally Spanish. They are not aware of the fact that they are Indians or Mestizos and do not want to know they are. The Pericúes tribe does not exist any more, but the blood of the Pericúes flows in the veins of many of the present-day population.
It would however be imspossible to trace the genealogy of all these persons in order to trace the type of the original population because a large part of the inhabitants of California come from several parts of Mexico or even South America. In addition, there are descendants of the Malayans of the Philippines mixed with the population and completely integrated with them, which makes the question of the original California type even more difficult. Hence the only certain anthropological data for this part of the peninsula are the bones in the caves of the mountains.
Our restraint of our curiosity of the genealogy of the owners of San Jacinto was rewarded with a spontaneous and hospitable reception and, after a cordial good-bye we continued our journey to Todos Santos on March 12. The country we traversed in sometimes westerly, sometimes northwesterly direction, had changed character. The country was more level, more open, the shrubbery lower. We saw many yuccas. At our right hand side, we saw the central mountains all the time. These mountains have different names at different locations, Sierra Laguna, Victorio, San Francisco and San Rafael. At our left hand side was the Pacific Ocean. The only places we passed before we reached San Pedro on the coast, were the rancho Palmar and a small village close to the ocean, Pescadero. We met a young Mexican for whose father I had a letter of introduction and together we traveled the last leagues of the trip. On many shrubs, we found the greenish grey orchilla, a lichen which yields a beautiful red dye. The inhabitants of this coastal area make a living by exporting this plant to the United States. As evening fell, we arrived at Todos Santos and were soon received at the hospitable dwelling of one of the most prominent citizens. A musical evening was organized in our honor. The comely daughter of the house showed her virtuosity on the piano, Belding played Strauss waltzes on the violin while Don Juan, encouraged by Belding’s example, sang a romance in a strong baritone voice, accompanying him-self on the guitar.
The next morning we examined Todos Santos more closely. It presents a pretty scene as it lies, nestled in a wide valley which ends at the ocean. The houses resemble those of San José and the church of the old mission is even more in ruins. This mission, formerly called Santa Rosa, was founded in 1733 by Father Tamaral among the Guaycuru Indians.93 All subtropical products are abundant here. Sugar cane and bananas, pomegranates and tamarinds, orange and palm trees, cover a large portion of the valley.
The coast of Todos Santos is sandy, stretching as far as one can see towards the north; it is bordered by a row of low dunes. The immense watermass of the Pacific Ocean breaks on these shores with a frightening force; at a distance the surf is heard like the rumbling of thunder; the rolling waves pound the rocks of mica slate which interrupt the silent beach in the south and throw themselves backwards, foaming and splashing, only to renew their endless struggle.
Small lagunas of brackish water, bordered by mangles and yerba de flecha extend along the coast at some locations. Palo or yerba de flecha is a poisonous plant, used by the Californians for fishing. The twigs are bruised and thrown into the water; soon the stunned fishes float to the surface where they are gathered with ease.94 Clavigero mentioned this plant already, but he stated that, although the California Indians knew the poisonous properties of this plant, they did not use the poison for their arrow heads. The Indians of Sonora on the contrary used the yerba de flecha to poison their arrows.
Soon we returned to the already mentioned rancho San Pedro, which belonged to our host at Todos Santos, in order to search for remains of the original inhabitants in the vicinity. Guided by young Diaz I soon found, high up in the walls of the rocks, several caves which contained a number of human bones, colored red. Among others, I acquired two almost complete skulls with the same characteristics as those found before. Under heaps of miscellaneous bones, strewn without order on the bottom of the caves, I found some fibres of palm leaves and some pieces of palm bark which had apparently served to wrap the bones.95 Near the rancho there was in addition a spot which related to the vanished Indians. It was an immense isolated rock of mica slate, of which the top was covered with numerous loose stones. This rock is known to the present-day inhabitants as the Piedra de los Viejos (rock of the ancients) and is the subject of a tradition.
When the Indians went fishing, each of them threw a stone on this rock. If the stone remained on the rock, it was considered an omen that the thrower would be lucky; if the stone rolled back, it predicted that the thrower would be unlucky and better refrain from taking part in the enterprise.
After our return to Todos Santos, we set up our headquarters in the modest school, closed on account of the vacations. We rented a few bunks to sleep in, put the horses in the corral and installed our laboratory between the school benches.
In Todos Santos, I saw the second real Indian of the peninsula. He was generally known by the name Concha (shell) although his real name was Juan Villanueva. He passed for a pure Guaycuru. In spite of all efforts I made to learn something certain about his ancestry, I failed through the obstinacy of Concha. He asserted not to know anything of his tribe and refused to be measured. Only after great effort and with the help of our guide, Don Juan, did I succeed to take his photograph and to buy a lock of his hair for a peso (about one dollar). Concho was small and a little malformed. His chest cavity was much extended, his extremities thin but muscular; his legs were crooked. His forehead slanted backward, he had strong eyebrow ridges and was apparently dolichocephalous. His wavy hair hung in entangled tresses on both sides of his face which had a dark yellow color and did not look friendly. He had a large, crooked nose, his large mouth was surrounded by a thin, grey moustache and goatee, his ears were big with very long earlobes.
On March 15, we said good-bye to Todos Santos and started our return trip to La Paz.
Todos Santos to La Paz
At a short distance from Todos Santos we passed the ruins of a very old church (Templo de San Juan), of which only a few thick stone walls were left. In the evening we reached rancho Juan Marques, after traveling through a flat sandy area, containing the usual flora. Spiacevole et horrido, as Clavigero describes the peninsula in general, applied especially here. Mesquite trees were more numerous here and their fine leaves fed our animals, for there was no grass or water here. Shortly before we reached Juan Marques, we traveled through a forest of very tall cardones, higher than we saw anywhere. The ranchero with whom we spent the night complained about increasing aridity of the land; soon he would have to leave the area. Many times I had heard about the fact that rains become rarer all the time and that brooks and ponds dry up. Where ten years ago cattle grazed in luscious meadows, there is an arid area now. It hence appears that Baja California shares the general drying process which has been demonstrated by Loew96 for Arizona, New Mexico and adjacent territory. It is clear that the California peninsula will be uninhabitable in the distant future.
The next morning, Belding left on his own, straight for La Paz, since I was planning to visit some pictographs near Agua Caliente, an area in which he was not interested. I continued with Don Juan and Valentin through a landscape, similar to the one of yesterday and arrived at Carrizal in the afternoon. It was a group of ranchos and tasteless white plastered houses in the middle of an almost barren area.
Before I continue my narrative, I have to make a few remarks about the information, supplied by the already often mentioned traveler Xántus about the area between Todos Santos and La Paz.
To begin with, Xántus asserts that the distance between Todos Santos and La Paz is “only a few miles.” In fact the distance, as the crow flies, amounts to at least 40 English miles, while the miserable road, which Xántus calls “well built” nowhere has “sturdy bridges” which span “ditches and brooks.” Neither “left or right” do “vast, well tended gardens and parks” extend themselves, and neither the “elegant villas” nor the “simple bungalows” have been observed by Belding or myself. What one sees “far and near” is the eternal monotony of barrel cacti, only broken at a few places by a humble rancho.
Xántus mentions a place, named Marques, consisting of “houses of two and three stories,” which must be located about one day’s travel from La Paz. Between those two places he asserted to have seen “many ruins” and at many places “potsherds and distinct traces of canals which once irrigated this presently infertile land.”
Before I left La Paz, I had persistently inquired about this Marques and the nearby ruins, but persons who know the country intimately, among them Mr. Viosca, the American Consul and von Bostel had never heard about such a place. The only Marques they knew of was Juan Marques between Carrizal and Todos Santos. It is certain that no trace of ruins, irrigation canals or potsherds can be found.
In addition, the Hungarian traveler mentioned “Timpa,” located at the north-west end of the valley of Todos Santos, consisting of a “two story high building,” serving for “protection against the Indians.” But the Indians of the “Pinolero tribe” are not impressed by this “fortress” and “descend the mountains, driving their herds of cattle” ahead of them as far as “under the muzzles of the cannon of Timpa.” I am at a loss to say where one should look for this Timpa and where the Piñolero Indians have their hunting grounds I could not discover in spite of explorations at the location and research in the existing literature.
So much for the information of Xántus about the area, visited by Belding and myself. Neither Belding or Don Juan, whom I told about Xántus’ travelog, found any confirmation of his stories.
To conclude my remarfcs on Xántus’ information, I will mention what he says about the inhabitants of the coast of the Gulf of California. From La Paz until the latitude of 28° one finds the “descendants of the former tribe of the Marihopo Indians.”
Neither Venegas, nor Baegert or Clavigero mentions such a tribe of California Indians. In addition, persons who fished for pearls along the Gulf coast for many years, could not tell me anything about these “Marihopo’s.” He cannot possibly mean the Cocópa Indians, who live in the lower range of the Colorado river or the Maricopas who live on the Gila river.
What Xántus tells us about the region between San Bartolomé on the west coast and La Paz appears equally improbable if one compares it with the statements of other authors.97 However, since I have not seen this area myself, I will not give further comments.
After we rested at Carrizal during the hot hours of the afternoon, we resumed our journey and reached rancho Agua Tapada, located on the western side of the low granite range which separates it from las Playitas, at about four thirty. The ranchero had just killed a lynx with his machete and Don Juan, who wanted to give me a memento at the end of the trip, bought the skin and presented it to me.
The next morning I inspected los Monos (the figures, or representations98). I found animal shapes, painted in red on a lonely boulder of granite which was lying among many others in the dry bed of an arroyo. I distinguished a deer and some rabbits of which I made a sketch99 We continued the trip and passed the ranchos Santa Rita, las Tijeras and Novillo, the home of Don Juan’s parents, where we stopped for a short time and where I could admire the guitar playing of one of the señoras.
One of the inhabitants of Novillo was suffering from rheumatism and used a hairless dog, lying against his feet, as a remedy. These so-called chinese dogs have in this country the reputation of being able to cure all kinds of painful afflictions, simply by lying near or on the painful limbs.
Most ranchos near Triunfo and La Paz have male and female Yaqui and Mayo Indians as servants, hence I could enrich my anthropological observations there.
The last stopping place was Palmar, with its swaying palm trees; at four in the afternoon we were back in La Paz.
From Don Juan’s son, I learned that even in Baja California some people believe in spiritism. During my previous visit I had given him medical assistance but, since my medicine did not work fast enough to his taste, he had invoked the spirit of a saint, who had given him an infallible nostrum. To answer my scepticism, he gave me, when we left the next morning an old battered book on poltergeists in the hope that it would be of use to me after I had returned to the barbaros.
Last Days At La Paz
On March 18, I was back in La Paz. Since Belding was planning to travel by sea to Mulegé, stay there for some time and subsequently return to San Francisco, I decided, since it was difficult to continue my research north of La Paz under the circumstances, to leave the peninsula as soon as possible and continue my travels in the United States. However, several days were to go by before the steamship Sonora was expected. We spent our time in packing all our collections and in making small rowing and sailing trips on the bay. I visited the Yaqui quarters in order to augment my observations on those Indians.
Easter100 was coming and the Yaquis had a merry time. They were singing and dancing all day; the pascóla is their favorite dance. The pascóla101 is danced by a single man to the music of a violin and a flute. The dancer is almost naked, only a loincloth covers his hips. The face is hidden by a wooden mask, painted black with white figures, among them a cross. In his right hand, he holds a sonagé, an elongated tambourine, which he beats from time to time with the palm of his left hand. Around his ankles he wears a teneboi which makes a rushing sound when he moves, not unlike the sound of a rattlesnake. The teneboi consists of a string of tightly strung silky silverwhite cocoons of saturnia102 in which small stones have been placed. Although the dancer moves his extremities very strongly, he hardly changes place; the steps which he performs remind one of the steps of American minstrels. The melody is probably largely of Spanish origin, the violin shows it.
The Yaqui Indians have been on the peninsula for a long time. Clavigero already mentioned that the Pericúes liked the Yaqui women very much, especially since in the Pericúes tribe, the men greatly outnumbered the women.103
Among the Yaquis one finds two main types. One of them has sharp features, a protruding nose and a tall stature and reminds one of the types found among the prairie Indians. The other type is smaller and more thick-set, has broader, less refined features and usually a straight, somewhat flat nose. The nine Indians I could measure in La Paz had a cranial index, ranging from 75 to 91, which also shows the difference between the two types. The color of their faces showed various shades of brown, corresponding to the numbers 29, 30, 37 and 44 of the color chart.104 Among the Mayos, a tribe closely related to the Yaquis, but rarely found in California, there are many individuals with a lighter skin color and I have been told by reliable persons that they sometimes have blue eyes.
From a linguistic point of view, the Yaquis and Mayos belong to the Cahita-Tepehuana group, related to the Pima-Opata. The language sounds very nice because they have so many vowels.
All Yaquis speak Spanish. The Indians have been for so long a time under the influence of Spanish priests that they are presently all Catholics. Although they have a Christian personal name, their family names often are those of animals or plants. The Yaquis call themselves Giaki (sharp g), often spelled Hiaqui by the Spaniards on account of their custom to pronounce “h” as “g.” The Yaquis and Mayos, who number about 600 in La Paz, live completely by themselves and have no relations with their cousins on the continent. Apparently they left the tribal community and do not recognize a chief. Their rancheria is similar to the one at Guaymas, but much cleaner.
On the morning of March 22, the Sonora arrived; the next day we said good-bye to our friends.
I gazed for a long time at the mountainous coast, which took a dark blue hue in the evening until darkness withdrew it from my eyes. These days of pleasure and hardship, carefree joy but also privation already appeared before my mind as an unforgettable dream and, when I threw a last greeting before leaving the deck, I could not suppress the wish of another meeting.
Thirty hours after leaving La Paz, I was back in Guaymas.
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.
I here cordially thank Dr. James Henrickson from the University of Texas at Austin (botany), Dr. Thomas Fritts (reptiles), Dr. George Radwin (marine invertebrates), Dr. Reid Moran (botany) from the San Diego Museum of Natural History and Dr. James Northern (birds) from the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, for their remarks in the field of the subjects indicated and also for general remarks. I also express my gratitude to the staff of the Huntington Library in San Marino for opening their collections to me and to Mr. James Koping of the Stochton Public Library for information on Lyman Belding. Finally, I thank Miss Martha Moore for the beautiful artwork.
1. A geographical mile measures 4 minutes of the equator, 7.42 km. Hence 160 geo. miles measure 1187 km or 738 statute miles. The direct distance between Tijuana and Cabo San Lucas is about 880 statute miles (vdP).
2. Fortún Ximénez (d.1533)was the pilot on the second voyage of discovery organized by Cortéz. He was the first westerner trying to settle in La Paz. See the introduction (vdP).
3. Hernán Cortéz (1485-1547) was born in Medellin, Spain. After studying law for a brief time. he departed for the Indies in 1504. At Hispaniola, he was given a repartimiento (a consignment of Indian slaves) and the office of notary public. However, born for conquest. he took part in the conquest of Cuba (1511) and was appointed secretary to its governor Diego Velásquez as a reward for his services. Soon he was in trouble the governor and, when tidings of gold countries reached the colonists, Cortéz financed a large part of a fleet to conquer these lands. He seized command of this fleet and arrived at the site of Vera Cruz in 1519. From there, he penetrated into the interior and established friendly relations with the Aztecs of Mexico, which lasted until his lieutenant Pedro de Alvarado massacred 600 caciques in his absence. Hostilities broke out which ended, after a three month siege of Mexico City with the complete subjection of the Aztec nation (Aug. 13, 1521). Thereafter. Cortéz assumed the task of pacifying the country and introducing western civilization. In 1526, Cortéz was recalled to Spain, to justify himself against aceusations of his enemies. When he arrived in 1528, he unexpectedly received a hero’s welcome and was completely exonerated. He returned to Mexico in 1530, laden with honors, but without governmental powers. Thereafter he devoted himself to the exploration of Baja California; he financed his four expeditions himself. When, in 1540, Antonio de Mendoza was sent out as viceroy, Cortéz again returned to Spain to complain and demand restitution of the money he had spent on the California expeditions. This time, his reception was far from cordial; his process dragged on until his death in 1547. See: L. Joubert, NBG, 11, 945-964, 1856 (vdP).
4. Francisco de Ulloa (not Ulua!) was the commander of the last of Cortéz’ California expeditions. His report was published in: Ramusio, Navigatione et Viaggi, 1556 (vdP).
5. Hernán de Alarcon was in command of the fleet backing up the expedition of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in search of the “Seven Cities of Cibola.” No details of his life seem to be available. See: F. Denis, NBG, 1, 502-503, 1862 and I. B. Richman, DAB, 1, 135-136,1928 (vdP).
6. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo (c.1500-1543) was a Portuguese navigator who surveyed the coast of Baja California in the service of Pedro de Alvarado, governor of Guatemala and, after Alvarado’s death, in the service of Antonio de Mendoza. He discovered the Bay of San Diego on September 28,1542 and sailed as far north as Point Reyes. He died on the island San Miguel on January 3, 1543. See: H. E. Bolton, DAB, 3, 396-397, 1929 (vdP).
7. Sebastián Vizcaíno(c.l550-c.l628), came to Mexico in 1585 and became interested in the China trade. He was on the galleon Santa Ana when it was taken by Thomas Cavendish in 1587. He obtained a patent for the trade on Baja California and, in 1593, sent a ship under the command of Pedro del Castillo. When Castillo returned without success, Vizcaíno himself led an expedition of three ships in 1556, equally without success. In 1602 he led an expedition of three ships which surveyed the coast of Baja California and reached the Bay of San Diego in November of that year. Continuing his journey, he discovered the Bay of Monterey. His survey of the coast of Alta California was of more importance than the one of Baja California. In 1611 he headed an expedition to find the gold islands in the Pacific Ocean, the same islands the Dutch searched for in 1643, and with equal lack of success. See: L. B. Simpson, DAB, 19. 286-287, 1936 (vdP).
8. On Miguel Venegas, (1680-c.1764), a Jesuit historian, no data appear to be available in the literature. He wrote: Noticia de la California de su conquista temporal u spiritual hasta el tiempo presente, . . Madrid, En el Imprenta de la Viuda de M. Fernández, 1757. Three volumes. This book was translated into English (1758-1759), French (1767), German (1769-1770) and Dutch (1777). There is apparently no modern edition (vdP).
9. Johann Jacob Baegert (1717-1772) was born in Schlettstadt, Alsace, the son of a glove maker. He entered the Society of Jesus as a novice in September 1736 and was ordained in 1747. After a short teaching period, he was assigned to the West Indian missions towards the end of 1748. This assignment was later changed to Baja California. When Baegert arrived in Loreto in 1751, he was charged with the supervision of the mission San Luis Gonzaga, which had been founded in 1740. Here he stayed until the expulsion of the Jesuits from Baja in 1767, after which he returned to his native country, probably Mannheim, where he died in 1772. He wrote: Nachrichten von der Amerikanischen Halbinsel Californien: mit einem zweyfachen Anhang falscher Nachrichten. Geschrieben von einem Priester der Gesellschaft Jesu, welcher lange darinn diese letzte Jahre gelebt hat. Mannheim, Churfürstliche Hof- und Academie Buchdr., 1772, of which an English translation was published by the University of California Press, Berkeley, 1952. Of the three Jesuit historians, mentioned by ten Kate, Baegert was the only one who knew the country from actual observation (vdP).
10. Francisco Javier Clavijero (1731-1787) was born in Vera Cruz, Mexico. He was educated at the College of San Gerónimo in Puebla and thereafter at San Ignacio College in the same city. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1748 and studied at the noviciate of Tepotzatlán for three years. He was considered unfit to be a teacher, but excelled in the production of scholarly works. He was an excellent linguist. When the Jesuits were expelled from Mexico in 1767, he went to Cesena in Italy, a city which had been designated by the Pope as an asylum for displaced Jesuits. Here he wrote several books on the history of Mexico among which was his book on Baja California. This book was based on the work of Venegas, the memoirs of Father Sigismundo Taraval which had been published in Madrid by Andrés Buriel S. J.: Noticias de la California (1757) and many unpublished documents. He died in Cesena on April 2, 1787. He wrote: Storia della California, opera posthuma del nob. sig. abate d. Francesco Saverio Clavigero, Venezia, M. Venza, 1789. This book was in its time translated into Spanish, English and Dutch. There is a modern English edition; see note 15 of the introduction (vdP).
11. Auguste Bernard du Hautcilly (1790-1849) was the captain of the armed merchant vessel Heros, fitted out by the merchants Martin and Jaques Lafitte for the trade on the Sandwich Islands, China and the west coast of America in the year 1826. He arrived at San José del Cabo in October of that year from where he studied the territory between that city and San Antonio and made valuable observations. He continued to Alta California and spent the winter of 1827-28 in San Diego. On his return trip, he visited Cabo San Lucas. He returned to le Havre, France, on July 19, 1829. He wrote: Voyage autour du monde, principalement à la Californie et aux îles Sandwich, pendant les années 1826, 1827, 1828 et 1829. Paris, A Bertrand, 1834-35. See: A. Taylor, A historical summary of Baja California, Pasadena: Socio-Technical Books, 1971 (vdP).
12. Sir Edward Belcher (1799-1877) was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia; he entered the British Navy at the age of 13. As a lieutenant, he accompanied Captain F.W. Beechy on the Blossom on a voyage of discovery (1825-1828), which however did not include Baja California. In 1829 he was made Commander and after several assignments, sailed again (1835), under Beechy on the Sulphur as commander of the Starling. When Beechy became invalid in Valparaiso, Belcher assumed command of the Sulphur and made Henry Kellett commander of the Starling. This expedition yielded valuable information about the coast of Baja California and returned to England at the end of 1839. Thereafter, Belcher had a long and distinguished career in the navy, but never returned to Baja California. He wrote: Narrative of a voyage around the world in H.M.S. Sulphur during the years 1836-1842. London, H. Colburn, 1843. See: J. K. Laughton, DNB, 4, 142-143,1885 (vdP).
13. Abel Aubert Dupetit-Thouars (c.1790-1864) entered a distinguished career in the French Navy in 1805. He was appointed capitaine de vaisseau in January 1834 and, in 1837, received orders to circumnavigate the globe in the Venus as a voyage of discovery. This was probably King Louis Philippe’s answer to the voyage of Belcher. This expedition carried naturalists and yielded valuable data on the hydrography, geography and the natural history of Baja California. He presented the report of this voyage to the Academie Francaise. After his return, Dupetit-Thouars advised Louis Philippe to take possession of the Marquesa and Society Islands which he had surveyed. He was appointed vice-admiral and placed in command of a fleet to achieve this goal. When the venture was protested by the British, mainly on account of the island Tahiti, where the indigenous population, after their queen had accepted the French protectorate, defied the French and were subdued by force, Dupetit-Thouars was recalled. After his return, he found the popular opinion very strongly on his side. He became a member of the Academie in 1855. He wrote: Voyage autour du monde sur la frégate Venus, pendant les années 1836-1839, Paris, Gide, 1840-1867. See: P. Levot, NBG, 15, 297-298, 1858 (vdP).
14. EugèneDuflot de Maufras (1810-1851) was born in Toulouse and educated mainly as a scientist. In 1828 he was attached to the French Embassy in Madrid. Here he met Martin F. de Navarette (1765-1844) who aroused his interest in Spanish maritime history. In 1839 he was commissioned to visit Mexico and especially the two Californias. The results of his investigations were published in: Fragment d’un voyage en Californie, Paris. Societé Royale de Géographie, 1843; and Exploration du territoire de l’Orégon, des Californies et de la Mer Vermeille, executé pendant les années 1840-1842, Paris, A. Bertrand, 1846. See: F. Denis, NBG, 35, 746-747. 1865 (vdP).
15. Sir Henry Kellett (1806-1875) was of Irish descent. He entered the British Navy in 1822. As a lieutenant, he participated in the voyage of the Sulphur and the Starling under F. W. Beechy. When Beechy fell ill, Belcher took command of the Sulphur and Kellett was given command of the Starling. This was Kellett’s first experience in Baja California waters. He was promoted to Commander in 1841 and, in 1845, was placed in command of the Herald and ordered to survey the west coast of the Amerieas. This expedition was accompanied by several naturalists and thus it was possible to gather information on the condition of the mainland as well as on the hydrography of the coast. The expedition returned to England in 1851. In 1854, Kellett participated in a search party under E. Belcher for Sir John Franklin. Near Melville island (about 15° from the North Pole), Belcher ordered to abandon ship; the crew returned to Canada over the ice. The ship was later picked up in good condition by American whalers and eventually bought by the American Government. After being thoroughly refitted, the ship was presented to Queen Victoria. However, the ship was never put in commission again. The results of the Herald expedition were reported by B. Seeman: Narrative of the voyage of H.M.S. Herald, 1845-1851. See: J. K. Laughton, DNB, 30, 342, 1892 (vdP).
16. Hugh Cumming (1791-1865) was already interested in natural history at an early age; he was however brought up as a sail-maker. In 1819 he left England and settled in Valparaiso. Here he became interested in the shells of the Pacific to such an extent that, in 1826, he built a ship and started to explore the coasts of the Pacific. Later he included the Philippines in his investigations. His last voyage ended in 1839, thereafter he settled in London and distributed his extensive collections of dried and living plants and shells. Apparently he wrote no books or papers. See: B. D. Jackson, DNB, 13, 295-296, 1888 (vdP).
17. No trace of the activities of Reigen could be found in the literature (vdP).
18. Rich also seems to be unknown in the literature (vdP).
19. This person’s name was actually János Xántus de Csisk Tapolcza (1825-1894). He was a Hungarian of Greek ancestry. After he took an active part in the Hungarian Revolt against Austria in 1848-1849, he became persona non grata in that empire and moved to the United States. Here, after various occupations, he joined the U.S. Coast Survey and was stationed in Cabo San Lucas to observe the tides (1859-1861). He thus had an opportunity to travel in Baja California and made a collection of over 100,000 specimens of animals, plants and minerals of which 30,000 represented marine life. This collection he offered to the Smithsonian Institution. After participating in several later scientific expeditions, he returned to Hungary in 1864, where he became conservator of the ethnographical division, National Museum, Budapest. J. W. Krutch in his: The Forgotten Peninsula. New York: W. Sloane Associates, 1961 (p.149) says of him: “Xántus was both a dashing figure and a picturesque liar who confused as well as enriched ornithology by mislabeling some of his finds and who also, for the entertainment of his fellow countrymen in far-away Hungary, wrote an astonishing account of life in western America, in the course of which he attributed to himself a number of the more interesting adventures which had befallen other travelers of whom he happened to have heard.” He wrote: Reise durch die Kalifornische Halbinsel, Gotha, J. Perthes, 1861. See: C. Feleky, DAB, 20, 589-590, 1936 (vdP).
20. I found this name on only one of the several maps consulted; map No. 81 of Adolf Stieler’s Handatlas, Gotha, J. Perthes, 1881, where it is called Bahia San Bartolomé. It is now called Bahia Tortugas and seems also to be known as Puerto San Bartolomé. It is located near the tip of the promontory, immediately south of the 28th parallel (vdP).
21. Edmond Guillemin Taraye (1832-1920) wrote: Exploration minéralogique des régions Mexicaines, suivie de notes archéologiques et ethnographiques. . . Paris, Imprimeria Nationale, 1869. No data on his life were found in the literature (vdP).
22. John Ross Browne (1821-1875) was born in Dublin and came to the United States at the age of about ten. Although he did not receive a college education, his facility with the pen made him a successful reporter and journalist. He spent the years 1842-1867 in travel, of which he wrote a number of books. The last of these travels was in the service of the Lower California Land Company. The purpose of this trip was to evaluate the economic possibilities of Baja California. He was perhaps the first explorer to traverse the entire peninsula by land, from Cabo San Lucas to San Diego. His report was largely negative. Later he settled in Oakland, where he went in the real estate business. He wrote: Resources of the Pacific Slope: a statistical and descriptive summary of the mines and minerals, climate, topography, agriculture, commerce, manufactures and miscellaneous productions of the states and territories west of the Rocky Mountains. This book has an appendix: A sketch of the settlement and exploration of Lower California. New York: D. Appleton, 1869. His articles in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, covering his trip from Cabo San Lucas to Magdalena Bay, were reprinted under the title: Explorations in Lower California, Studio City: Vaquero Books, 1966. See: C. Goodwin, DAB, 3, 167-168, 1929 (vdP).
23. William More Gabb (1839-1878) was born in Philadelphia. He did not have an academic training. To satisfy his interest in minerals and fossils, he studied privately with the well known paleontologist from Albany, James Hall, for three years (1857-1860). He was made a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. In 1861, he was appointed member of the Geological Survey of California; he wrote the largest part of the two volumes on paleontology of the report. In 1867 he was asked to join the Baja California expedition of Ross Browne. He produced the first geological map of the peninsula and elucidated its geological strueture. Thereafter, he made geological surveys of Santo Domingo, Costa Rica etc. He died in Philadelphia from the consequence of “coastal fever,” a disease he contacted during his work in the Central American countries. He wrote: Lower California, geographical and physical features. Washington D.C., 1869. See: C. Schuchert, DAB, 7, 81-83, 1931 and E. N. Schor, DSB.5, 214, 1972 (vdP).
24. This person’s name actually was F. von Lohr. He was the topographer, mining engineer and assayer of the Ross Browne expedition. The latter described him as “a graduate of the School of Mines of Frieberg.” No biographical data on von Lohr appear to be known; he probably was a German who studied at the famous Bergahademie in Frieberg which had been founded in 1765 (vdP).
25. On March 30, 1864, the Mexican Minister of Public Works granted certain rights pertaining to the territory of Baja California located between the latitudes 24° 20′ and 31° to Jacob Leese. The Mexican Government did not sell the territory, as ten Kate suggests; it did however grant extensive rights in exchange for obligations to be assumed by Leese. A translation of the contract is found in: P.L. Martinez, A History of Lower California, Mexico City: Editorial Baja California, 1960 (pp. 389-391). Leese transferred his rights to a group of New York capitalists who organized the Lower California Company, with a capital of 25 million dollars. This company sponsored the Ross Browne expedition, which issued a largely negative report. In 1871, the Mexican Government rescinded the contract because the Company had not fulfilled one of the obligations stipulated in the contract (vdP).
26. George Dewey (1837-1917) was born in Montpelier, Vermont and entered the U.S. Naval Academy as a midshipman in 1853. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1861. He took part in some naval operations of the Civil War and in 1870 he was placed in command of the Narragansett with orders to survey the Gulf of California. He reported on this expedition in: Remarks on the Coasts of Lower California and Mexico, Washington D.C.; Government Printing Office, 1874. His later distinguished career never brought him in contact with Baja California again. See: C. S. Alden, DAB, 368-372, 1930 (vdP).
27. Thomas Hale Streets (b. 1847) was medical officer on the Narragansett expedition. He wrote: Contributions to the natural history of the Hawaiian and Fanning Islands and Lower California, made in connection with the U.S. North Pacific Surveying Expedition. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1877. No data on his life appear available in the literature (vdP).
28. For Lyman Belding, see the introduction (vdP).
29. According to P. L. Martinez, l.c., p. 25, the Cocapás or Cocupás were a tribe of the Cochimi Indians, living along the banks of the Colorado River. A Sierra de los Cocopah is located west of Mexicali (vdP).
30. Clavijero’s paragraph on these cave paintings was quoted in the introduction. Lately, a beautiful book on these cave paintings, Harry Crosby, The Cave Paintings of Baja California, San Diego: Copley Books, 1975, was published. Ten Kate’s rock paintings are however not mentioned in this book (vdP).
31.The Yaquis were an Indian tribe originating from the territory of the Yaqui River south of Guaymas. The Monqui Indians, a related tribe, had their origin around the Monqui River farther south of Guaymas. The Monquis, and especially the Yaquis, were found all over the Baja California peninsula; ten Kate often mentions them (vdP).
32. J. R. Southworth in: El territorio de la Baja California, 1899, has (p. 54): “A prominent citizen of La Paz is Gaston J. Vives. Mr. Vives is a native of La Paz, but was educated in France. He owns large concessions for pearl fishing, as well as valuable real estate in and about La Paz, including fine agricultural lands at Santa Cruz. He has a steamer, a schooner and several small boats which are used in pearl fishing. He is one of’ the leading pearl merchants. He has done much to develop Lower California and is President of the Ayuntamiento at La Paz.” The rancho las Garzas, which ten Kate visited, together with Vives, belonged in 1899 to Francisco J. Cabezud. Southwell, l.c., p. 88, stated that it consisted of 1000 acres of good land, planted with 1600 coconut palms and 40 acres of alfalfa. The plantation had a strong wire fence and the largest well in Baja California, 40 feet in diameter and able to deliver 20,000 gallons of water per hour (vdP).
33. Juan de Ugarte (d. 1730) was probably a native of Honduras. He served the California missions as a procurator (person in charge of supplies) from the beginning until 1701, in which year he made his way to Baja California. He later obtained permission to stay and was placed in charge of the mission of Loreto to which mission the stations at San Juan de Londó and San Javier de Viggé had been added. In 1720, he accompanied Father Bravo to La Paz, to help establish a mission there. In 1721 he made a sea voyage on the Gulf of California in order to, at Royal Command, ascertain that Baja California was joined to the mainland in the northern part of the Gulf. This very perilous journey undermined his health. He spent the last years of his life at mission San Javier, where he died on 29 December 1730 (vdP).
34. Santiago (Jaime) Bravo (d. 1744) was born in Aragon. He came to Baja California in 1705 as a Brother to take the post of procurator. As such, he traveled frequently to the mainland, collecting supplies, presenting petitions etc. He designed the first ship built for the missionaries in Baja California, the Lauretana. After fourteen years at this post, he was ordained a priest (1719) in Mexico City. There he received a considerable endowment from the Marquess de Villapuente to enable the establishment of a mission at La Paz, to be headed by Father Bravo himself. In 1720, Fathers Ugarte and Bravo went to La Paz for this purpose; the former stayed for only three months. Father Bravo however, worked in La Paz until the year 1728, in which year he was called to Loreto to help old Father Picolo. While in La Paz, Bravo founded three towns, Virgen de Pilár, Todos Santos and Angel Custodio. He built the large church of Loreto. He died on May 13,1744 at the mission San Javier, where he was staying on account of his health (vdP).
35. The total population of the peninsula amounts to about 23,000 souls, or one per ten square kilometers. The largest part of the population lives in the southern district, which is the most fertile one of Baja California (tK).
36. In an earlier chapter, ten Kate said about Raousset-Boulbon: “In 1852, he planned to start a French colony in Sonora, with the purpose to exploit the rich, but abandoned mines. He was supported by the Compañia Restauradora which had been formed in Mexico with the approval of the Government. He landed in Guaymas with 270 followers, organized in a military way. Intrigues of the Mexican officials caused the failure of the enterprise from the beginning. After many adventures in the interior of Sonora, the actions of the Mexican Government caused the outbreak of hostilities, which started with the French assault on Hermosillo on October 14, 1852. Following this event, the enterprise degenerated into a filibuster raid, which was repeatedly stopped after negotiations with the Mexican Government and then started again. At last, the venture ended with the defeat of Raousset-Boulbon and the capture of his entire force. Raousset was accused of rebellion and conspiracy; he was executed on August 12, 1854.” The complete name of this adventurer was Gaston Raoux, Comte de Raousset-Boulbon (vdP).
37. William Walker (1824-1860) was born in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1842, he received a M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Since he disliked the medical profession, he later studied law and worked as an attorney and journalist in New Orleans. In 1850 he went to Marysville, California. When the Mexican-American War ended with the peace treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Feb. 1848), Mexico lost control over the present states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. Walker (and others) were of the opinion that more Mexican territory should have been ceded to the U.S. and he set out to establish Sonora and Baja California as a slave state. To achieve this, he landed in La Paz with 45 adventurers, as told by ten Kate. When help was sent to the Mexicans in La Paz, Walker withdrew to Cabo San Lucas (7 Nov.) and subsequently landed in Todos Santos, where he stayed for three months. The U.S. Government sent the warship Portsmouth with discreet orders to evacuate Walker, but the latter moved on to San Vincente (Feb. 27, 1854). On 20 March he decided to invade Sonora, with disastrous results for his “troops;” he crossed the U.S. border near San Diego (May 6, 1854) to escape his enemies. He was put on trial in San Francisco, but received only a light sentence. Later he invaded Nicaragua twice and finally invaded Honduras, where he was captured and executed. Walker’s actions are condemned by Mexican as well as by American historians. This is the fate of failure; had he succeeded, he would be remembered as a hero (vdP).
38. Actually, Walker proclaimed the United Republic of Baja California and Sonora (vdP).
39. Henry P. Watkins was a lawyer from Marysville, California who offered Walker a partnership in 1850. When Walker left for Baja California, “colonel” Watkins set up a recruiting office in San Francisco. He left this city on December 7, 1853 aboard the Annita with 230 additional adventurers and joined Walker in Todos Santos a few days later. The Annita brought guns and ammunition, but not the much more needed food. After Walker’s surrender in San Diego, Watkins was also put on trial in San Francisco and fined $500 (vdP).
40. The most common species is Crotalus adamanteus atrox (Texas rattlesnake), followed by C. mitcheli (Speckled rattlesnake or Yellow rattlesnake) and C. enyo. As far as known, the latter two species are not found north of La Paz (tK).
However, C. mitcheli is mentioned by E. C. Jaeger in his The California Deserts, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1948, p. 89, as inhabiting the Mojave Desert (vdP).
41. The pitahaya was a favorite food of the early Indians. There are two kinds, pitahaya agria (the sour pitahaya, Machaerocereus gummosus) and pitahaya dulce (the sweet pitahaya, Lemaireocereus thurberi) (vdP).
42. E. C. Jaeger, in his Desert Wild Flowers, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1958, p. 164, says about the Giant Cactus: “The little Elf Owl (Micrathene whitheyi) finds nesting sites in the gourd shaped pockets, made in the stems by the Gila Woodpecker (Centurus uropygialis). Dried ribs from the stem are used by the Indians for lances and for frame work for their huts. In May the numerous flowers appear and by the end of June, the famed suahara fruit is ripe. The fruit is eaten raw, or cooked, or also rolled into balls and dried to make a conserve. Syrup from this fruit is fermented to make an intoxicant and the oily seeds are ground into a paste to be spread like butter upon tortillas” (vdP).
43. I could not find the word huitacochone in any of five different Spanish dictionaries, including one specializing in Mexicanisms (vdP).
44. According to P. L. Martinez, l.c., p. 98, pichilingue was a nickname for the Dutch corsairs, who operated in these waters during the Eighty Years War (1568-1648) between Holland and Spain. It is at present the name of a place on the Bahia de La Paz (vdP).
45. Baegert, in his: Nachrichten von der Amerikanischen Halbinsel Kalifornien, Mannheim, 1773, describes this way of fishing by the, now extinct, Guaycuri Indians of the peninsula (tK).
46. I found specimens of the following shells which Dr. R. Horst, conservator of the Museum for Natural History in Leiden, had the kindness to determine for me:
Strombus, several species among which S. granulatus Sow. and S. galeatus Wood.
Murex, several species among which the beautiful M. nigritus Phil., M bicolor Valenc. with the rose colored aperture and M. princeps Sow.
Cancellaria and Fusus with several species.
Terebra with T. variegata Gray.
Nassa with N. luteostoma Kien.
Cassis among which C. coarctatus Wood and C. abbreviatus Lam.
Dolium among which D. latilabre Kien.
Columbella among which C. strombiformis Lam. C. haemastoma Sow. and C. meleagris Ducl.
Oliva with o. lineolata Gray, the beautiful O. porphyrea L. and O. venulata Lam., many specimens.
Cypraea, several species among which C. solandri Gray, C. albuginosa Gray, C. pustulata, C. pacifica and C. sowerbyi K., the latter in many varieties.
Natica, among which N. quadrifasciata Gray.
Cerithium with several species, among which C. maculosum Kien. and C. varicosum Sow.
Nerita, several species.
Crucibulum with C. spinosum.
The following species: Placuna, Pecten, Spondylus, Modiola, Hemicardium, Cardita (Lazaria), Venus, Cytherea, several species, Tellina, Meleagri, Pholas (tK).
Rutgerus Horst (1849-1930) studied zoology at the University of Utrecht where he earned his Ph.D. in 1876. He was curator of the Government Museum for Natural History since 1882. (vdP).
47. I could not find the word coromuel in any of five different Spanish dictionaries, including one on Mexicanisms (vdP).
48. Scaphander is the name of a mollusk species (Canoe bubble shell). In 1874, a pearl diving concession was granted to an American company. They introduced rubber suits, glass-fronted helmets and the use of diving weights. These suits were apparently called scaphanders. As a result of intensified fishing, made possible by this equipment, the pearl oysters have disappeared from the Gulf of California (vdP).
49. None of the three Lepus species, mentioned by ten Kate is the black Jack Rabbit of Espiritu Santo. L. californiensis is described as the darkest of Jack Rabbits found in the United States, the color of L richardsoni and L. bennetti is described as “above greyish buff to sandy buff “(tK).
Ten Kate missed his chance to add a new species to the fauna of Baja California. According to J. W. Krutch, l.c., p. 212, the Black Jack Rabbit was first described and named in 1891 by W. F. Bryant of the California Academy of Science. The animal is endemic to Espiritu Santo and no other Lepus species is found on the island. An explanation of the phenomenon that only one species of a genus occupies a specific habitat appears to be still wanting (vdP).
50. The two drawings (fig. 1 and 2) reproduced here from ten Kate’s book, were made from his photographs (vdP).
51. Dolichocephalous: long headed, having a cephalic index below 80. The cephalic index of a skull is the ratio of its maximum breadth to its maximum length, multiplied by 100. Skulls of which this index exceeds 80 are called brachycephalic (vdP).
52. According to Venegas, Noticia de la California, Eng. ed., I, 55-56, and Clavigero, Storia della California, I, 109. For the manners and customs of the Pericúes and the tribes which occupied the peninsula at one time, I must refer to these two authors, and also to Baegert, Nachrichten von der Amerikanischen Halbinsel Kalifornien, Mannheim, 1773, who however describes the Guaycuru Indians more in particular (tK).
53. Hematite, Fe2O3 (vdP).
54. “The waves murmur their eternal murmur.” I could not identify this line of poetry (vdP).
55. The sharks of the Gulf of California are extraordinarily large; according to Ross-Browne some of them reach the size of middle size whales (tK).
56. Indicated on the hydrographical chart of Dewey as “Red Mound” (tK).
57. The fruit of the pitahaya was the principal food for the original inhabitants for several months of the year (tK).
It is the fruit of several genera of the Cactus family: Cereus, Pachycereus, Machaerocereus (sour pitahaya) and Lemaireocereus (sweet pitahaya) (vdP).
58. Since at least six genera, belonging to five different families have been graced with the name Bigelowia it is not possible to determine which plant is meant by ten Kate. The last time this name was given (by de Candolle, 1836), it was to a Compositae genus. The scientific name of marjoram is Origanum majorana L. Clavijero, l.c., p. 34, mentions tamniá or damniá as Cochimi words for the sweet pitahaya. He also mentions marjoram as follows (p. 46): The wild marjoram of California does not resemble the true, except a little in the odor; as for the rest it is a bush which grows on the dry plains and reaches the height of about four feet. Its leaves are small and of a beautiful green; they are used instead of the true marjoram for seasoning food.
According to J. W. Krutch, l.c., p. 67, the scientific name of this plant is Turnera diffusa. He states that this highly aromatic plant was reported to be a highly efficient aphrodisiac, drunk as a tea and also as a liqueur, advertised as “especially recommended to lovers” (vdP).
59. In addition to Costa’s hummingbird, one finds in Baja California a second species: Basilinna xantusi, which is exclusive to the peninsula. At the west coast, a third species apparently occurs, since Belding found one specimen of Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna) on the island Cerros. The Mexicans call the hummingbird chuparosa, rose sucker (tK).
60. A huamoche is a large tree, belonging to the Pea family. Its purple colored pods are edible. It is probably closely related to the Tamarind (vdP).
61. Binorama is the Yaqui name for the Spanish huizache, which is Acacia farnesiana, which belongs to the Leguminosae family according to some authors (a.o. L. H. Bailey, Hortus Secundus, New York, Macmillan, 1941) and to the Mimosae family according to others (a.o. J. Coyle and N. C. Roberts, A field guide to the common and interesting plants of Baja California, La Jolla, Natural History Publishing Company, 1975) (vdP).
62. Lariates are strong ropes, made of strips of leather, densely twisted together. Sometimes they are made of pita, the dried fibres of agaves and yuccas. The same material serves to make strong bags, which are used for various purposes (tK).
63. The first person to strike it rich in Baja California, and for a long time the only one, was Manuel de Ocia, a Spanish soldier who had come over with the missionaries. He started pearl fishing on a large scale in 1742. In three years he recovered some 500 or 600 pounds of pearls. He was the first to start mining for silver (1744) in the Real de Santa Ana and started large cattle operations. According to old Spanish documents, the silver mines near Triunfo date from before 1778. In 1862, they were developed by the Triunfo Mining and Commercial Company, succeeded after failure by the Hormiguera Mining Company and thereafter, after a second failure, by the El Progreso Mining Company. Apparently, the mines yielded well for many years; they were abandoned in 1918 (vdP).
64. In 1899, the superintendent of the mines was R.F. Grigsby; the manager of the cyanide department was E. F. Harris (vdP).
65. Caesalpinia sappan or related species (vdP).
66. This happened during an uprising of the Pericúes and Guaycuru Indians. They murdered Father Lorenzo Carranco at the Mission Santiago on October 1, 1733, together with his boy servant and two native soldiers. These martyrs were however not burned alive as ten Kate states, but their dead bodies were burned. On 3 October the rebels murdered Father Nicolas Tamaral at the Mission near San José del Cabo. For the history of this uprising see: Martinez, l.c., pp. 206-217. It is however possible that the place was named for the Martyrs of Japan, among whom were several Jesuits. The first Christian martyrs in Japan were those of Nagasaki (1597); most well known is the “Great Martyrdom” of Nagasaki (1622). Among the first group of martyrs was the Mexican friar, Filipe de Jesus (vdP).
67. Now: Richmondena cardinalis (vdP).
68. See fig. 3, which was taken from H.F.C. ten Kate, Quelques observations…etc., p. 323. He states that his drawing represents the relative position of the figures quite well (vdP).
69. Xántus states that this bird is found in the “Sierra de Santiago.” This must be a synonym for “Victoria Mountains.” However, Belding is of the opinion that this bird does not have its habitat in the mountains (tK).
70. Ten Kate obviously means a pestle type tool, used together with the metate. This pestle is called mano, of which the diminutive is manito (vdP).
71. According to Don Juan, Caduaño or Cadoaño is an old Indian word for “green crevice” (tK).
72. This plant, which has been mentioned before, belongs to the Bigelovia genus and is an aphrodisiac. The plant is exported to the United States where it serves in the preparation of a liqueur (tK). See also note 58 (vdP).
73. Selaginella is the only genus of the Selaginella family, a family in the fern sub-kingdom. It is often called a “club-moss” although actually it is not. The name siempre viva is also given to Aizoon canariense L. (Carpet weed) and to several Sedum (stone crop) species (vdP).
74. Several authorities agree that liza (or lisa) is one of several Mullet species, Mugil cephalus being specified in one case. These Mullets live in salt, or also in brackish water, often in a river mouth but never upstream. However, nowhere is there mention of flying Mullets. There are at least two species of flying fish in the Gulf of California and in the region of La Paz and Cabo San Lucas; they are Fodiator acutus (Sharp nosed flying fish) and Cypsilurus californicus (California flying fish) (vdP).
75. According to Dr. J. G. Boerlage, who was so kind to determine these lichens for me, it was a small form of Amphiloma murorum Hoffm., related to A. pusillum Mass. (tK).
Jacob Gijsbert Boerlage (1849-1900) had been appointed conservator of the Herbarium of the Dutch Government in Leiden in 1881. In 1894, he became private lecturer at the University of Leiden and in 1896 vice-director of the Botanical Garden at Buitenzorg (Java). He died on an expedition to the Molucca islands in 1900 (vdP).
76. A barometric observation indicated an elevation of about 3350 English feet above sea level (tK).
77. Merula confinis is probably a resident bird in the mountains of Laguna. This is certainly true for a couple of tits which were discovered by Belding (Lopophanes inornatus cineraceus and Psaltiparus grindae). The identity of a Sitta species, probably S. carolinensis aculeata was not proven for my travel companion. Another resident bird of these forests is the beautiful “snowbird” (Junco bairdi), first seen by Belding. The pito real of the Mexicans (Melanerpes formicicorus angustifrons), a quite common woodpecker here has a more beautiful color than his cousin the carpintera. The former, with its glossy black, yellow and red feathers is the only woodpecker which lives on oak trees. Pigeons, among which Columba fasciata are common here. These birds, together with the already mentioned Sitta and Melanerpes and seven others, among which Geothlypis beldingi constitute the part of Baja California’s avifauna, exclusive for the southern part of the peninsula.
I take this opportunity to point out, on Belding’s authority, an absurdity of Xántus, who claimed in 1858 that there are 300 bird species on the peninsula, while at present, twenty-five years later, hardly 200 species are known, among which only 100 residents. Most of these species are abundant (tK).
78. The mule deer or black tailed deer of the Americans. The Mexicans mention two or three kinds of deer but. according to Belding, the difference is only a difference in age, manifested by the antlers. In the southern part of the peninsula at least, there exists only one kind of deer (tK).
79. The highest point we reached in these mountains was at about 4500 feet; Dewey states that the highest mountain top measures 6200 feet (tK).
80. The following plant-geographical data were taken from Belding’s notes, kept during his first as well as during his second visit to the sierra (Laguna) and during our present trip.
Rubus (rivularis?) above 4500 feet. Heteromelis arbutifolia above 4500 feet. Ribes sanguineum above 4500 feet. Arbutus menziesi above 4000 feet. Mimulus luteus above 3000 feet. Castilleia sp. above 2500 feet. Populus sp. above 2000 feet. Quercus sp. above 3000 feet. Quercussp. (palo incino) Quercus sp. (roble) Pinus sp. above 3500 feet. Nolina sp. above 3000 feet.
In addition, the following ferns:
Polypodium vulgare, Nothochlaena ferruginea, Pellaea temifolia. P. angustifolia, Adiantum capillus veneris. Asplenium trichomanes, A. aurantium, Nephrodium patens, N. mexicanum. N. karwinskianum (tK).
81. “A sweet enchantment came over me, I did not know, what happened in my breast. What I learned secretly in the light of the moon, will forever move in my soul.” I could not identify these lines (vdP).
82. Martines, l.c., pp. 57-58, writes: “The Pericú tradition mentioned a great lord who lived in the sky. called Niparaja, who had made the sky, the earth and the sea, and who enjoyed the privilege of doing whatever he liked. This great personage had as a wife Anajicojondi, who gave him three sons, without use of herself since she lacked a body. One of these, Cuajaip, had been a real man and had lived for a long time on the earth in order to indoctrinate mankind. One day these people ungratefully rebelled against the one who had granted them innumerable blessings; they killed him and placed on his head a crown, made of thorns. They believed that in the sky there were more people than on earth, and that in that region, at a remote period, frightful wars had been fought, provoked by another personage, called Tuparán by some and Bac by others, against the supreme Niparaja, that the latter had been victorious in the end, so that after taking from Tuparán the pitahayas and all the delicate fruits, he cast him from the sky with all his followers, imprisoned him in a cave near the sea and created whales to guard him and prevent his escape. It is also asserted that Niparaja was the enemy of war and Tuparán an adherent of it, and that for this reason those who died of arrow wounds did not go to the sky, but to the cave of Tuparán” (vdP).
83. One legua or Spanish mile measures 6349 m. (3.945 miles) (tK).
84. See fig. 4, which was taken from H.F.C. ten Kate, Quelques observations. . . etc. p. 324. He states that the dotted part on the left measured 1.5 metres, the parallel lines on the right about one metre (vdP).
85. I could not identify this person and ten Kate does not mention him in the earlier chapter. Apparently he lived in La Paz (vdP).
86. Of two of these plants, Prof. E. A. van der Burg, director of the Pharmaceutical Laboratory at Leiden, made extracts. One of the plants, the golondrina of the Mexicans, an Euphorbia species (probably E. prostrata), is used against snake bites. An aqueous infusion is used internally and small leaves and twigs. which contain a white sap are put on the wound. The weak infusion contains, according to Prof. van der Burg, mainly tannic acid, vegetable acids, gums and sugar; an alcoholic extract contained mainly resins, chlorophyl and tannic acid, but did not, as did the aqueous infusion, contain alkaloids.
The other plant, the confitura of the Mexicans, could not be determined since my specimen was incomplete. It is used in the same way against the bite of the zorillo (Mephites putorius) which bites cause rabies according to them. The aqueous infusion of this plant contains mainly a bitter ingredient, sugar, vegetable acids and some tannic acid; the alcoholic extract contained mainly the bitter ingredient and chlorophyl with some traces of resin and tannic acid. None of these two infusions contained alkaloids. Although it is not known how golondrina is applied, the research of Dr. B. J. D. Irwin shows that this plant actually possesses the medical virtues which the Mexicans and Indians claim on its behalf (tK).
The name confitura is given to a tree of which the foliage is eaten by cattle. This tree, Trophis mexicana belongs to the Mulberry family. The name confttura is also given to the herb Hyptis suaveolens of the Mint family.
T. Kasbeer in: Flora of Baja Norte, La Siesta Press, 1971, says that golondrina is Euphorbia prostrata (as ten Kate conjectured), but J. Coyle and N. C. Roberts In; A field guide to the common und intersting plants of Baja California, La Jolla, Natural History Publishing Company, 1975, state that it is Euphorbia leucophylla.
Eduard Alexander van der Burg (1833-1890) was, since 1877 professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Leiden.
Bernard John Dowling Irwin (1830-1917) was a medical officer in the U.S. Army. He retired as a colonel in 1894 and was advanced to brigadier-general in 1904 (vdP).
87. See fig. 5, which was taken from H.F.C. ten Kate, Quelques observations… etc., p. 323. He states that these figures came from two different rocks, the five on the left were drawn in their exact relative position. the ones on the right were only the most clear ones among a large number of indistinct ones. The latter rock was several metres high and wide (vdP).
88. Oreodoxa regia or Roystonia floridana (vdP).
89. This skull is now in the Smithsonian Institution under No. 61398 (tK).
90. The torus occipitalis or occipital crest is a crest of bone, running horizontally across the occiput (the back part of the skull) (vdP).
91. Ten Kate must mean either the chacuacua, the California Quail (Lophortyx californicus) or the chicuate, the “owl of the Plains” (probably Pygmy Owl, Glaudicium brasilianum)(vdP).
92. Mais (corn) roasted and ground to a fine powder, mixed with sugar. A small amount of this. mixed with water provides a nutritious dish. Pinole is the main food of the traveling Mexican (tK).
93. Clavijero claims that the Guaycuru were a separate tribe of the Coras were a subdivision. However. it seems that Guaycuru was a nickname for Pericúes (tK).
94. Ratzel, in his book: Aus Mexico, p. 185, mentions poisonous tendrils of lianas. used by the Indians of Tehuantepec for the same purpose (tK).
According to J. W. Krutch, l.c., p. 66, the scientific name of this tree is Spium biloculare. He states that even in modern times, the natives of Baja California believe that sleeping under the tree causes blindness. This tree, which belongs to the Euphorbia family indeed contains a poisonous juice. Krutch adds that this tree produces the “jumping beans,” although the jumping beans of the stores are produced by Sebastiana pavonia, another tree of Euphorbia family.
F. J. Santamaria in his dictionary of Mexicanisms states that palo de la flecha is Sebastiana palmieri or S. bilocularis, while yerba de la flecha is Sapium biloculare, S. appendiculatum or S. latelitlorum. The latter plants are used for stunning fish as described by ten Kate (vdP).
95. See fig. 6, which was taken from H.F.C. ten Kate, Matériaux…. etc. pp. 556-557. He describes this skull as follows: A skull of a 20-24 year old female. The cranium is light with thin bones. Of average size. Dolicho hypsistenocephalous. Painted red. The supra-ciliary ridge is absent. Forehead quite narrow. Parietal eminence pronounced. Protruding occiput. Transverse suture of occiput forms an os epactale proprium. Two small wormian bones in the lambdoidal suture. The sutures are little serrated. A bilateral depression at the pterion. Muscular processes little developed. Inion absent. Marginal process on the left side. Partial persistence of the zygomatical-temporal suture of the maxilla on both sides. Faint phenozygy. Short and rounded palatial bone. Prognathous. Teeth very worn. The right hand wisdom tooth of the maxilla has not yet come out. the same is true for the corresponding wisdom tooth of the mandible (vdP).
96. Ten Kate probably referred to: Oscar Loew, Report upon mineralogical. agricultural and chemical conditions, observed in portions of Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona in 1872. Washington D.C., U.S. Geographical Surveys west of the 100th meridian, 1875. Carl Benedict Oscar Loew (1844-1941) was born in Redwitz. Bavaria and educated at the universities of Munich and Leipzig. After he received his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1867. he came to the United States and joined the U.S. Expedition West of the 100th Meridian (1867-1871). From 1871 until 1893 he taught in Germany and from 1893 until 1907 he alternated teaching in Tokyo and working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After 1907 he was experimental chemist at the Puerto Rico experimental Station (vdP).
97. The same kind of nonsense one finds in the book of Bates-Hellwald: Central America etc. (Stamford’s Compendium of Geography and Travel), London, 1878, p. 42, where it is stated that. before the Spaniards arrived on the peninsula, the Maricopas lived in the north, and more southerly. from Mulegé to Cape St. Lucas, the Chichimecas, who later fled to the highlands of Sonora and Chihuahua (tK).
98. Ten Kate uses the Dutch words “de figuren, de afbeeldsels.”
98. Ten Kate uses the Dutch words “de figuren, de afbeeldsels.” However, the Spanish word mono means more specifically: a caricature, especially of a human being (vdP).
99. See fig. 7, which was taken from H.F.C. ten Kate, Quelques observations…. etc., p. 325. He states that this sketch is complete, that the deer on the right is 40 cm high and that the other animals are in proportion (vdP).
100. In 1883, Easter fell on 22 April; Ash Wednesday on 7 March. Hence the Yaquis were celebrating in the second week of the Lent season; a rather improper time.
101. A peculiar dance of the Indians of Sinaloa and Sonora, executed to the monotonous sound of special drums and violins. by dancers who are dressed in extravagant costumes and are disguised by grotesque animal masks. Usually accompanied by excessive wine drinking, the dance is performed on ritual or festive occasions. F. J. Santamaria, Diccionario de Mejicanismos. Mejico, 1959 (vdP).
102. A large species of silk moth (vdP).
103. This is in direct contradiction of what Father Tamaral wrote, which was quoted in the introduction. In fact, Clavijero wrote no such thing; his remarks are quite close to those of Tamaral (vdP).
104. Ten Kate refers here to Broca’s color chart. Pierre Paul Broca (1824-1880) was a French physician and one of the pioneers of anthropology. He invented at least twenty-seven instruments for the accurate study of the cranium. For Broca, see: E. Clarke, DSB, 2, 477-478, 1970 (vdP).