CaliforniaFrontier.net is a labor of love, but a lot of time and resources go into producing it. You can help out by purchasing any of the excellent books listed below through the links provided. It will cost you nothing extra and CaliforniaFrontier.net will receive a small percentage of your Amazon purchase. Not only will you be assisting the educational work of this site, but you will also be supporting the great authors who wrote these books!
The Spirit Within Saint Junípero. A book on the legacy of America’s first Hispanic Saint, Junípero Serra. Celebrating the significant places Serra delivered his message to in each of the three major phases of his life—Mallorca, Mexico, and California. 101 images from original large format film negatives made by Craig Alan Huber, represented in the aesthetic of a platinum/palladium print. The images tell a visual story and communicate a sense of the Spirit present at each of the 37 locations represented. Accompanying text describes a brief history of Serra’s major life experiences from a young man in Mallorca to his final days in Alta California, written by noted Serra biographer Robert M. Senkewicz.
The California Missions Source Book. A great reference for learning the facts about all of the 21 California missions.
From Google Books: The California Missions Source Book, first released in late 2009, has been acclaimed as the definite reference book on the California missions, "a compelling visual delight, your money's worth of primary data." This expanded 2nd edition now includes the key facts about the only mission-era asistencia (sub-mission) which remains intact and continues to serve the descendants of its original Indian community. The second edition has been published in a hard cover, spiral-bound format that makes it extra sturdy for use by scholars in the field, as well for mission docents and visitors. This is a valuable resource with a beautiful presentation.
Junípero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary. The most up-to-date biography of Junípero Serra. Richly illustrated.
From Google Books: Franciscan missionary friar Junípero Serra (1713–1784), one of the most widely known and influential inhabitants of early California, embodied many of the ideas and practices that animated the Spanish presence in the Americas. In this definitive biography, translators and historians Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz bring this complex figure to life and illuminate the Spanish period of California and the American Southwest.
In Junípero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary, Beebe and Senkewicz focus on Serra’s religious identity and his relations with Native peoples. They intersperse their narrative with new and accessible translations of many of Serra’s letters and sermons, which allows his voice to be heard in a more direct and engaging fashion.
Serra spent thirty-four years as a missionary to Indians in Mexico and California. He believed that paternalistic religious rule offered Indians a better life than their oppressive exploitation by colonial soldiers and settlers, which he deemed the only realistic alternative available to them at that time and place. Serra’s unswerving commitment to his vision embroiled him in frequent conflicts with California’s governors, soldiers, native peoples, and even his fellow missionaries. Yet because he prevailed often enough, he was able to place his unique stamp on the first years of California’s history.
Beebe and Senkewicz interpret Junípero Serra neither as a saint nor as the personification of the Black Legend. They recount his life from his birth in a small farming village on Mallorca. They detail his experiences in central Mexico and Baja California, as well as the tumultuous fifteen years he spent as founder of the California missions. Serra’s Franciscan ideals are analyzed in their eighteenth-century context, which allows readers to understand more fully the differences and similarities between his world and ours. Combining history, culture, and linguistics, this new study conveys the power and nuance of Serra’s voice and, ultimately, his impact on history.
The Spanish Frontier in North America. A comprehensive introduction to Spain's colonization across the continent.
From Google Books: In 1513, when Ponce de Leon stepped ashore on a beach of what is now Florida, Spain gained its first foothold in North America. For the next three hundred years, Spaniards ranged through the continent building forts to defend strategic places, missions to proselytize Indians, and farms, ranches, and towns to reconstruct a familiar Iberian world. This engagingly written and well-illustrated book presents an up-to-date overview of the Spanish colonial period in North America. It provides a sweeping account not only of the Spaniards' impact on the lives, institutions, and environments of the native peoples but also of the effect of native North Americans on the societies and cultures of the Spanish settlers. With apt quotations and colorful detail, David J. Weber evokes the dramatic era of the first Spanish-Indian contact in North America, describes the establishment, expansion, and retraction of the Spanish frontier, and recounts the forging of a Hispanic empire that ranged from Florida to California. Weber refutes the common assumption that while the English and French came to the New World to settle or engage in honest trade, the Spaniards came simply to plunder. The Spanish missionaries, soldiers, and traders who lived in America were influenced by diverse motives, and Weber shows that their behavior must be viewed in the context of their own time and within their own frame of reference.
California Indians and Their Environment. A valuable overview of the life ways of California Indians, past and present.
From Google Books: Capturing the vitality of California's unique indigenous cultures, this major new introduction incorporates the extensive research of the past thirty years into an illuminating, comprehensive synthesis for a wide audience. Based in part on new archaeological findings, it tells how the California Indians lived in vibrant polities, each boasting a rich village life including chiefs, religious specialists, master craftspeople, dances, feasts, and ceremonies. Throughout, the book emphasizes how these diverse communities interacted with the state's varied landscape, enhancing its already bountiful natural resources through various practices centered around prescribed burning. A handy reference section, illustrated with more than one hundred color photographs, describes the plants, animals, and minerals the California Indians used for food, basketry and cordage, medicine, and more.
Native California: An Introductory Guide to the Original Peoples from Earliest to Modern Times. An excellent sourcebook for understanding the cultures and locations of California's Native groups.
From Google Books: This lavishly illustrated book is the only complete and contemporary introductory guide to all the Native peoples in California. Arranged by geographical area and by language groups, Native California includes reservations, rancherias, federally recognized tribes without lands, unrecognized tribes and peoples with out-of-state origins. History, maps, interviews, overviews, essays, informational appendices.
Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources: A new look at how California's indigenous peoples cared for the landscape they lived in.
From Google Books: John Muir was an early proponent of a view we still hold today--that much of California was pristine, untouched wilderness before the arrival of Europeans. But as this groundbreaking book demonstrates, what Muir was really seeing when he admired the grand vistas of Yosemite and the gold and purple flowers carpeting the Central Valley were the fertile gardens of the Sierra Miwok and Valley Yokuts Indians, modified and made productive by centuries of harvesting, tilling, sowing, pruning, and burning. Marvelously detailed and beautifully written, Tending the Wild is an unparalleled examination of Native American knowledge and uses of California's natural resources that reshapes our understanding of native cultures and shows how we might begin to use their knowledge in our own conservation efforts.