The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913 Page: 69
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The Approaches to California
to the secrecy of the Spanish government the records of the voy-
ages were not published-in fact have not yet been published-
and the names given by the earliest explorers have not been re-
tained. From the point of view of Spanish territorial interests
these activities on the Northwest coast can only be regarded as
aggressive measures designed, to protect the settlements in Cali-
fornia from the approach of other powers. In this they were en-
tirely successful-it was not until 1812, when the Spanish power
in America was nearing its end, that the Russians founded the
colony in California that had been a subject of apprehension to
Galvez in 1768.
Of the four possible approaches to California, two, as I have
said, would naturally be sought eastward by the north of Europe
and westward by the north of America. The best energies of the
seafaring nations have been expended in the search for the North-
-east and Northwest passages, and it has only been after demon-
stration beyond question of their impracticability that the neces-
sity of accepting overland substitutes has been admitted.
As early as 1553, and again in 1580, English ships were sent
out to search for a Northeast route to the Pacific Ocean. These
were followed by Dutch expeditions in 1594, 1595, and 1596; but,
though many attempts were made, the accomplishment of the voy-
age was reserved for Nordenskjald in 1879.
The opening of the corresponding land route across Asia was
the step preliminary to Russian activities in Northwestern Amer-
ica. The transcontinental advance beyond the Ural Mountains is
dated as beginning in 1578, and Okhotsk was reached in 1639,
"thus completing the march across the continent of Asia, in its
broadest part, in about sixty years." By 1706 the Russians had
penetrated to the southern extremity of the peninsula of Kam-
chatka, and ten years later the Okhotsk Sea was crossed for the
The navigations in which we are more directly interested date
from 1728 when, by order of Peter the Great, Vitus Bering ex-
plored the eastern extremity of Asia. The second Russian expedi-
tion was sent out by the empress Elizabeth. Six years were re-
quired to convey the men and materials across Siberia, so that it
was June 1741 before Bering and Chirikof sailed from Avatcha
Bay. The two vessels composing the expedition soon lost sight of
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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/m1/75/: accessed October 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.