The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913 Page: 64
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The history of the one hundred and forty years since the first
Europeans settled in California turns thus upon the approaches
by which men have reached her shores. Back of this period there
lie two and a quarter centuries of similar endeavor so that the
entire scope of European activity on the coast is unified by one
To appreciate the significance of these endeavors it is necessary
to disabuse one's mind of the idea, expressed in its accepted form
by Bishop Berkeley, that the expansion of the nations follows the
path of the setting sun. This is an idea evidently born of the
movement across the Atlantic; and is one that could not possibly
have originated on the western side of the continent. From the
standpoint of the Pacific Ocean the question is not merely of
Spaniards and Englishmen crossing the Atlantic Ocean and the
American continent, but of Russians making their way eastward
across Asia and leaving us a memorial of their ambitions in the
name of the Russian River; and,, further, of the hitherward over-
flowing of oriental nations that has created in perpetuity the prob-
lem of Asiatic exclusion. When the time comes for a new inter-
pretation of the movements of expansion the old conception of a
western line of advance may give place to the idea that civiliza-
tion, spreading out from an original focus in eastern Asia, after
traversing equal distances to the east and to the west; is draw-
ing to a new focus on this spot which is opposite the first but on
the other side of the world.
It is unnecessary to dwell upon the fact that the earlier ex-
plorations of great land masses were, of necessity, made in ships.
The world of ancient history was confined to the shores of the
Mediterranean Sea; and even today, with all the modern facilities
for overland travel, the seaboards of the world are infinitely bet-
ter known than the inland parts of the continents. Theoretically,
in order to reach California from Europe, it was necessary, at the
beginning, to pass round either one or other of the two great land
masses of the globe. There were thus four possible approaches:
the explorer might sail eastward to the north of Europe or to the
south of Africa; or he might sail westward to the north or to the
south of the American continent. One only of these four has been
used as a route to the Pacific Coast, though each of them has in
turn been tried. The northern routes are ice-bound, while that
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913, periodical, 1913; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101058/m1/70/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.