Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Frontier Settlement in Mexican California. By C. Alan Hutchinson.
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969. Pp. xv+457. Ap-
pendices, bibliography, index. $1 o.oo.)
It is fitting that on the 2ooth anniversary of Spanish settlement
in California a major study of that colonizing effort has appeared.
In this carefully researched and judiciously written monograph Pro-
fessor Hutchinson explores the nature and problems of the coloniza-
tion. He argues that both Spain and Mexico faced the same problems
in California, principally ,Russian encroachments into the territory.
The author also analyzes the California colonization efforts in terms
of Frederick Jackson Turner's frontier thesis. He notes that coloniza-
tion in California, unlike the western expansion of the North Ameri-
cans, was completely promoted and paid for by the state and that-
again unlike the American case-there was little good land available
to those who made the arduous journey to California from Mexico.
Nor did the California frontier produce the kind of democratic at-
titudes found on the American frontier because the dictatorial system
of central Mexico created even more autocratic provincial rulers.
In all aspects of development the California colonization under the
Spanish and Mexicans presents fascinating contrasts to the American
To illustrate these themes Professor Hutchinson studies in detail
one colonization effort in California-the Hijar-Padrbs colony created
by Valentin G6mez Farias in 1833. With extensive documentation
(some of which is published in English in the appendices) drawn from
California, Texas, Mexican, Spanish, British, and American archives,
he follows the course of the colony, its struggles with the California
governor over the distribution of mission land, the role of the In-
dians in the colonization plans, and the final destruction of the colony.
It is an illuminating tale set against a backdrop of international in-
trigue and the chaotic politics of Mexico in its early years of nation-
hood. This study, valuable for both Mexican and American historians,
concludes with the suggestion that had the Mexicans ceased their
eternal bickering and effectively colonized the territory, California
might still be Mexican today.
University of Texas at Austin
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/. Accessed April 16, 2014.