Life in a California Mission: Monterey in 1786

Monterey in 1786

On the afternoon of September 14, 1786, two French ships appeared off the coast of Monterey, the first foreign vessels to visit Spain’s California colonies. Aboard was a party of eminent scientists, navigators, cartographers, illustrators, and physicians.

For the next ten days the commander of this expedition, Jean Francois de La Pérouse, took detailed notes on the life and character of the area: its abundant wildlife, the labors of soldiers and monks, and the customs of Indians recently drawn into the mission. These observations provide a startling portrait of California two centuries ago.

Reviews

 

“A remarkable essay on the nature and character of mission life in California.”

AB Bookman's Weekly

About the Editor

Malcolm MargolinMalcolm Margolin is the publisher emeritus of Heyday, an independent nonprofit publisher and unique cultural institution, which he founded in 1974. Margolin is author of several books, including The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco–Monterey Bay Area, named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the hundred most important books of the twentieth century by a western writer. He has received dozens of prestigious awards among which are the Chairman's Commendation from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fred Cody Award Lifetime Achievement from the San Francisco Bay Area Book Reviewers Association, the Helen Crocker Russell Award for Community Leadership from the San Francisco Foundation, the Carey McWilliams Award for Lifetime Achievement from the California Studies Association, an Oscar Lewis Award for Western History from the Book Club of California, a Hubert Bancroft Award from Friends of the Bancroft Library, a Cultural Freedom Award from the Lannan Foundation, and a Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He helped found the Bay Nature Institute and the Alliance for California Traditional Artists.