Antonio MarIa Osio's "La Historia de Alta California" was the first written history of upper California during the era of Mexican rule, and this is its first complete English translation. A Mexican-Californian, government official, and the landowner of Angel Island and Point Reyes, Osio writes colorfully of life in old Monterey, Los Angeles, and ...
Antonio MarIa Osio's "La Historia de Alta California" was the first written history of upper California during the era of Mexican rule, and this is its first complete English translation. A Mexican-Californian, government official, and the landowner of Angel Island and Point Reyes, Osio writes colorfully of life in old Monterey, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and gives a first-hand account of the political intrigues of the 1830s that led to the appointment of Juan Bautista Alvarado as governor. Osio wrote his "History" in 1851, conveying with immediacy and detail the years of the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-1848 and the social upheaval that followed. As he witnesses California's territorial transition from Mexico to the United States, he recalls with pride the achievements of Mexican California in earlier decades and writes critically of the onset of U.S. influence and imperialism. Unable to endure life as foreigners in their home of twenty-seven years, Osio and his family left Alta California for Mexico in 1852. Osio's account predates by a quarter century the better-known reminiscences of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo and Juan Bautista Alvarado and the memoirs of Californios dictated to Hubert Howe Bancroft's staff in the 1870s. Editors Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz have provided an accurate, complete translation of Osio's original manuscript, and their helpful introduction and notes offer further details of Osio's life and of society in Alta California.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-05-13 The first complete English translation of Osio's 1851 memoir of Mexican California, this account describes day-to-day life of the common people in what is now central and northern California from 1821 to 1846, before the Mexican-American WarŠa tense period marked by small skirmishes resulting from land and power disputes between the Anglos and the Mexicans. This is a daily account, so there is a lot of detail-perhaps more than the general reader really wants. Osio does have a readable style, however, and can write vividly, as in these observations about some corrupt Californios and Mexican traitors: "Se▒or Stockton, a patriotic and upright man, would have hanged them like a bunch of grapes from every yardarm of his frigate's main mast." In their comprehensive introduction to the volume and the author, the editors note that this is not a structured record, complete with historical perspective. Still, Osio's first-person perspective and quotidian subject matter flesh out current understanding of the place and period. Illustrations not seen by PW. (June)
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