The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913 Page: 66
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Considering the great extent and complexity of Spanish inter-
ests in the old world and the new, it is scarcely just to attribute
delay in any one particular undertaking to mere negligence. The
difference between the Spanish and English methods of colonizing
lay primarily in the fact that while England availed herself of thp
initiative of her subjects and stepped in to take advantages of
their enterprise, Spain insisted that active initiative might come
only from the government. Thus it happened on this coast that,
time after time, the Spanish crown neglected to take important
steps that had been urgently recommended by officials in America,
until forced to do so by the energy of the subjects of other powers.
Whatever the policy of Spain may have been at any time in regard
to the north Pacific Coast, her activities may be traced in practi-
cally every instance to the movements of foreigners. Even the ex-
plorations of Cort6s, inevitable as they would appear, were influ-
enced by his discovery in 1524 that a ship-presumably Portu-
guese from India-had been wrecked upon the Jalisco coast.
In was the voyage of Drake in 1579, followed by that of Ca-
vendish in 1588, that impelled the Spanish government to act
upon the recommendations that had been made for a fuller ex-
ploration of the California coast. The position of Spain in regard
to the coast might be described by saying that the possession of
Mexico gave her the advantage of interior lines of communication.
Drake, on the other hand, may be, said to, have turned the flank of
the Spanish position by demonstrating the feasibility of the long
detour round South America. The Pacific Ocean was henceforth
open to all Europeans, notwithstanding the strategic position oc-
cupied by the Spanish power. The attack made by Drake, partic-
ularly as it was followed up by Cavendish, was disconcerting, and
the more so as it was believed that he had actually found a North-
west passage back to England. Drake was in fact the precursor
of Cook in the search for such a passage from the Pacific side,
but he returned from his great venture by way of the Cape of
Good Hope. Of greatest interest, perhaps, is the fact that his
was the first voyage to California made directly from Europe, and,
in that sense, he opened the only approach generally available to
Europeans for nearly three centuries.
The voyages of Sebastian Vizcaino in 1596 and 1602 were the
Spanish reply to these English incursions into the Pacific Ocean.
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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/m1/72/: accessed February 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.