Mapping Historic Campsites of the Anza Colonizing Expedition
Last updated: March 13, 2018
This report documents a project conducted during the Summer and Fall of 2015 to capture the most current collective knowledge of Anza Expedition historians with regard to the location of the campsites utilized during the colonizing expedition of 1775-76. The report is intended to provide improved information to National Park Service staff and the many volunteer groups that participate in trail development, maintenance, and programming. It is also intended to support and identify possible directions for ongoing historic research on the trail corridor, campsite locations, and the ways in which the expedition interacted with physical and cultural environments during the journey to establish a new settlement at the edge of Spanish colonial territory in North America. This report: (1) generally describes the process by which historians have identified and verified (where possible) the locations of the campsites; (2) documents the updated dataset and the use of geographic information systems to generate an updated and improved trail map, and; (3) summarizes findings, implications, and possible avenues for further research. While maps are included in this report as illustrations, the purpose is to provide updated and expanded geographic data that the NPS and its partners can incorporate into existing map products and coordination efforts. The data products resulting from this project are provided separately as a .csv file, as well as an ArcGIS .mxd file and a number of GIS shapefiles.
The campsites were initially identified in the “Juan Bautista de Anza National Trail Study, Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment” completed in August 1986 and referenced in Public Law 101-365 that designated the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail in California and Arizona. Subsequent research by citizen historians and National Park Service staff, utilizing primary sources (the diaries of expedition leaders) and field studies, has allowed for the refinement of our overall understanding of the experiences of expedition members, the physical landscapes they encountered, and especially the specific locations of their campsites. This is significant because the campsites are the focus of much contemporary public involvement on the trail. While the National Historic Trail is designated only within the territory of the United States, this report addresses the full trail used by the expedition, including the section from Horcasitas, Mexico to the present day U.S.-Mexico border.
This report was produced through a partnership between the National Park Service and the San Diego State University Department of Geography and supported by Cooperative Agreement #P13AC00676, Task Agreement #P15AC00988.
Lead Author: Emanuel Delgado, GIS Intern, San Diego State University Department of Geography
Contributors: Anza Society International: Phil Valdez Jr., MBA, DBA Anza Historian & Immediate Past President
San Diego State University Department of Geography: Dr. Thomas Herman, Adjunct Faculty
NPS Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail Staff: Naomi Torres, Superintendent, BriAnna Weldon, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Hale Sargent, Interpretive Specialist
October 28, 2015
This document serves as the final report for Cooperative Agreement #P13AC00676, Task Agreement # P15AC00988
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Appendix 2: Table of Campsite Names and Coordinates
Appendix 4: Model Campsite (Adobe Illustrator)…29
List of Figures
Cover Map of Anza Expedition, 1775-1776
“The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail commemorates, protects, marks, and interprets the route of the Anza Expedition of 1775-76, which established San Francisco and accelerated the colonization of California.”1 The trail and expedition campsites are mapped for the benefit of the general public and for the purposes of planning stewardship and programming. The National Park Service (hereafter NPS) maintains, as a public resource with considerable educational value, an interactive online map ( see http://www.anzahistorictrail.org/visit/explorer) that identifies the location of the 106 historic campsites of the Anza Expedition of 1775-76 and cross references the diaries of Lieutenant Colonel Anza and Fathers Frey Pedro Font and Francisco Garcés, allowing viewers to read the relevant entries made along the journey. In addition to providing information to the general public, NPS and its partners also maintain the Anza Trail MapCollaboratorTM (see http://www.mapsportal.org/mapcollab_anza/) to allow for citizen historians and NPS staff to work together to iteratively revise and refine data on campsite locations, the historic trail corridor, and recreational trail alignments and conditions. This latter effort reflects the especially dynamic nature of geographical information about the expedition and the importance of ongoing coordination between NPS and volunteers to maintain up-to-date information in the interest of informing stewardship and programming.
Campsite locations are important to historians and volunteers who are invested in the story of the expedition and who contribute to the mission of the park through programming and maintenance. The purpose of this project was to improve the data available and to document the historical research and sources that went into its development. Previous to this work, the locations of the campsites were based on maps included in the Anza Trail Comprehensive Management Plan of 1996. Since then, historians and Anza Trail advisors have conducted further research, utilizing existing maps, their own field surveys, and the original diaries (both translated from original Spanish) in an effort to improve our knowledge about the precise locations of the expedition campsites.
To update the campsite coordinates of the Anza Expedition, Anza’s and Font’s diaries (the primary sources) were thoroughly examined by Anza historians. Lt. Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza – the expedition leader – and Fray Pedro Font – a Franciscan priest, assigned to the expedition for spiritual guidance2 – documented the latitudes of occasional stopping points and the distance of travel each day of the expedition, and they described the landscapes and selected campsites based on the availability of key criteria (water, forage, and safe terrain) throughout the expedition. These diaries are the primary sources of the expedition and are the basis for the updated campsite coordinates used in the maps (3).
This project utilized the skills of a geographic information specialist to summarize the results of the thorough historical research and translate insights into updated locational data to aid in future trail planning and protection (see Figure 1).
Investigators from Anza Society International, SDSU Department of Geography and NPS JUBA collaborated to accomplish the following specific objectives:
1. Create a record of the empirical methodology of Anza Expedition historians and the information produced through their research that informs the updated geographic data.
2. Create GIS Shapefiles with metadata regarding the locations, sizes and level of confidence in the locations of the 106 campsites of the Anza Expedition of 1775-76.
3. Produce a research report including a written summary and description of methodology used to derive location and level of confidence in the location for each campsite.
Redefining project outputs
Initiating this project, NPS and SDSU Department of Geography refined and planned out the goals to fit the above objectives, given the resources available. Connecting with the accumulated insights from Anza historians’ work – facilitated by Phil Valdez – was key to deriving the improved geographic dataset. Through this partnership, his expertise, his knowledge of the work of other historians around the expedition, and specifically the best information about the location of the campsites, was documented. The project was very specifically defined to focus on generating a dataset (and map layer) that includes the following:
An updated set of latitude and longitude coordinates for all campsites beginning at Horcasitas to Puerto de Monterrey (not excluding the route south of the present-day US-Mexico border), and including the complete exploration of potential settlement sites around San Francisco Bay;
Classification of each campsite based on level of confidence of its precise location – using a binary classification of fixed historical points (meeting three criteria in terms of evidence found in diaries) and hypothesized points (meeting only one or two criteria)4;
Classification of each site into full campsite or tardeada5 campsite, based on how each location was used during the expedition, and;
Representation of campsites’ areal extent, replacing point symbols with a generalized campsite footprint.
Drawing on citizen historians
The process selected for generating the improved data was centered on the research and findings of one Anza historian who possessed extensive knowledge, provided connection to the full breadth of scholarship on the Anza Expedition, and who was available for the in-depth interviews. For a summary and notes of the interview with Phil Valdez, see Appendix 1.
The interview between the GIS intern and the Anza historian grounded the project in multiple ways:
In an overall understanding of the entire Anza Expedition (1775-76) and how the expedition was geographically organized;
In the process by which the location of each of the 106 campsites was extracted from the historical record, and;
In establishing the level of confidence historians have with regard to each location.
It is worth stating here that the two main diaries used to research campsite locations, those of Font and Anza, were frequently in disagreement, especially with regard to estimates of distance between stops. These discrepancies complicated the historical reconstruction of the route, but where questions arise, historians generally place higher value on Font’s diary. Font was not necessarily better at estimating distances, but his diary, especially the expanded version he produced after the expedition’s end, included much more thorough descriptions and offered many more points of reference to guide investigations. Anza’s writings were much more tightly tied to, and constrained by, his official responsibilities leading the expedition. Anza wrote sparingly and included only those details that supported his own goals for the expedition, always aware his notes were written primarily for an audience composed of representatives of the Spanish crown.
Points that can be consistently and reliably identified, and are agreed upon by multiple scholars, are elevated to fixed historical points and are coded as such within the project. When the historical record does not provide adequate information to derive a definitive location using the “Three D’s,” the location remains a hypothesized point.
Once the coordinates are validated through the above process, Valdez’ transmitted these coordinates to the GIS intern who mapped them. Progressing from south to north, the intern tested them for logical consistency and coherence. This meant that all campsite coordinate points should fall along a reasonably likely route of travel and not require any unusual or inexplicable diversion. When a point appeared to be an outlier, the intern and historian would reexamine the evidence and make corrections to the numeric data as needed. Inconsistencies encountered during the project were all determined to be errors in transposition and no further historical research was deemed necessary to resolve the discrepancies.
GIS Layer Development
The mapping portion of the project was conducted using ArcGIS. Microsoft Excel was used to compile a tabular version of the campsites’ geographic coordinates, which was uploaded to ArcGIS as a .csv file. Adobe Illustrator was used to create a model campsite. Eventually – with more individual research of each site – this model has the potential to be incorporating into the map as an actual representation of the space occupied by the camp. While the detailed campsite model has not been incorporated into the map layer produced, there is further discussion of its potential value later in this report.
The Anza historian delivered a list of 106 coordinates in degrees, minutes, seconds. Since ArcGIS uses decimal degrees, a conversion equation in Excel was used to recalculate into the required format. Next the Excel spreadsheet was added to ArcGIS using add xy data – a tool that uses coordinates to create point data. Visualizing the point data with a basemap allowed the GIS intern to apply a logical check and bring attention to questionable coordinates. These were reevaluated and corrected if needed.
One original idea for this project was to map the actual extent of each campsite, actually proposing a shape and size that fit into the topography at each location. Working in this direction, the GIS intern consulted historians to determine the components and extent of a typical campsite. Adobe Illustrator was used to build a model, which included areas for human use (with an arrangement of tents and gathering areas around a central food preparation area) and areas for livestock grazing and tending, which were adjacent to, and in some cases extended quite far from, the human use areas. Because an expedition was complex in structure, and each location was unique, and the way in which the expedition occupied the site varied by local conditions, it was determined that it was not possible to achieve a mapping of each campsite’s areal extent within the scope of this project. For a general model to be superimposed on the landscape at the appropriate locations, each campsite needs to be individually researched, based on the primary sources, and the campsite boundaries need to be manipulated to fit within the setting. Applying a digital elevation model to evaluate the landscape could greatly aid in this step. See the Suggestions for Future Work section below for recommendations.
The resulting products for this project include:
Proposed updated campsites, which are then separated into:
o Fixed campsites
100 yard buffer
o Hypothesized campsites
100 yard buffer
Expedition Trail and Campgrounds
Yuma Crossing at three scales
Expedition comparing the 1996 JUBA Management Plan to the proposed updated campsites
3 separate maps of each of the 3 legs of the expedition
Hypothesized and Fixed point Campsites
Hypothesized model of a Campground
An .mxd file where the maps were created. This file can link to the layers for further spatial analysis or map creation.
A .csv Spreadsheet where all the geographic data, including names, dates, coordinates, and Phil Valdez’ notes for each campsite. This spreadsheet was inputted into ArcGIS to create the final GIS layers.
Conclusions and Suggestions for Future Work
This project successfully advances the work of commemorating the Anza Expedition of 1775-76 by documenting the state of knowledge with regard to the campsite locations used by Anza and his followers and providing new data by which to map those sites. These specific tasks were completed:
Assembling an updated set of geographic coordinates for each of the 106 campsites used by the expedition;
While the project takes past work and brings it into the present day map of the expedition route, providing a more accurate basis for current programming and stewardship, it also paves the way for new investigations. There is still more to discover and learn about the way the members of the Anza Expedition moved through, experienced, and utilized the wild landscapes of North America as the Spanish colonial empire stretched northward. Below are some suggestions of future directions for research.
Continue to convert hypothesized locations to fixed points
The ultimate goal of historians of the Anza Expedition is to definitively locate the expedition’s travel route and each campsite. This work is far from complete. According to Phil Valdez, forty campsite locations, of the total of 106, have not been able to be elevated to the status of “Fixed Point.” It may be that future research can find new evidence in the written records available, and it may also be possible to use expanded research methodologies to bring new types of physical evidence to bear on this question.
Explore other research methodologies that could be helpful in confirming campsite locations
Given the limited primary source evidence available to historians seeking to discover the correct locations of each campsite, it would be helpful to search beyond traditional historical methods to try to identify other techniques that could help verify that a presumed campsite location is correct. Methods that can generate evidence based on physical conditions could be especially helpful, although their use could be greatly limited in urban environments where the ground surface is likely to have experienced significant disturbance.
Investigate discrepancies in campsite locations (and possibly the expedition travel corridor) highlighted by this report
Comparing the original campsite locations given in the 1996 Management Plan to the new campsite coordinates developed in this project (see Figure 3), it is evident that many of the updated coordinates differ from previously documented campsite locations, by distances ranging from 1 to 15 miles. According to Phil Valdez, these discrepancies may be due to misinterpretation of the primary sources. Whereas the original campsite coordinates were derived using the Bolton English translation of the original Spanish primary sources, Valdez uses the original Spanish writings. Each discrepant location should be considered independently, with careful attention being paid to each type of error that could have affected the final determination of geographic coordinates. It would be most advantageous to resolve discrepancies that are greatest in magnitude first.
In addition to overall magnitude, one form of discrepancy that should be given special attention in future studies is deviation from the historic trail corridor as it is currently mapped. In some cases, the original campsite coordinates fall within the corridor, while the updates fall outside. There are twenty-one updated campsite points that are not inside or directly adjacent to the historic corridor (See the column in Appendix 3 that indicates whether the site is on or off the historic corridor), and investigation of these discrepancies should take top priority, as that could impact the understanding of where the corridor may need to be adjusted or expanded.
Work on mapping the areal extent, or footprint, of individual campsites in a way that is sensitive to local topographic conditions
Based on Font’s descriptions, the need to keep everyone organized and close for meal times and for security purposes, the campsites are estimated to have been approximately 100 yards, not taking the space necessary to feed cattle, mules, and horses.6 Though every campsite was different, this project provides a generalized and circular approximation around all the campsites. See Figure 2 to show how the buffer tool is used to symbolize the approximate space around the campsites in the Yuma crossing.
Future work could improve the representation of the campsite arrangement on the landscape. By incorporating a USGS digital elevation model (downloadable at http://nationalmap.gov/viewer.html), historians can then reference descriptions of campsites in the diaries and begin to build models of how campsite components were arranged, as well as the overall site’s extent, at each particular location. Each individual campsite location would need to be studied in detail in order to create a polygon that represents a probable campsite arrangement.
Continue to integrate map layers with land use and ownership data that can help guide stewardship efforts
In addition to incorporating information about the physical geography of the sites to further explore the ways in which campsites were situated within various local landscapes, GIS can be used to integrate information about land use and land ownership. Visualizing historic information about the expedition route and campsites against a backdrop of land use and ownership will help NPS staff and volunteer partners to identify threats to conservation as well as opportunities for programming and public engagement.
On July 15, 2015 – the day Mr. Phil Valdez and the GIS Intern were scheduled to meet, the National Park Services awarded Mr. Valdez with the Exceptional Service Award. This provides a glimpse of the 13 years of work he’s done to correct, and preserve the history of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, (Anza Trail). Throughout our discussion, Mr. Valdez demonstrated his extensive knowledge of the trail, and where, exactly in the diaries (primary sources) one can find the geographic information. As a descendant from Juan Bautista Valdez, the courier of Anza, he has a deep passion of understanding this part of history accurately. And when it is not accurate, he has been successful in correcting the discrepancies. Valdez has produced a collection of writings that can be found at http://www.anzasociety.org/newanzaletters.html.
Based on Valdez’ criteria and understanding, the GIS Intern created the best possible scenario about the approximate size and location of campsites of the Anza Expedition, mapping it in accordance to what is stated in Friar Pedro Font’s and Commander Juan Bautista de Anza’s diaries. Phil Valdez’ purpose on the project is to lend his expertise on location and appearance of the campsites. Valdez assured that many of the campsites are fixed points, and provided a list of the locations with coordinates from the entire expedition.
For accuracy, this project used Valdez’ Three Ds: Distance, Direction, and Description based on the diary entries of the expeditioners. For most of the expedition, Anza did not have very accurate tools for measuring direction, however, distance, and description of landmarks and landscapes help assure accuracy, which are indicated in the primary sources (Font’s and Anza’s diaries). Valdez asserts that if the location has the three criteria correct, it is a historical location, if the location has two of these criteria correct, the location was a campsite (not historical), and if it only has one of these criteria correct, the location cannot be assured to have been a campsite at all.
○ Goal: Come up with the best possible scenario about the route and campsites of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and mapping them in accordance to what is stated in their diaries.
○ Phil Valdez’ three D's: Distance, Direction and Description
○ 3 Legs of the Expedition (See Figures 5,6, and 7):
● 1st Leg: Horcasitas, Sonora to Yuma, Arizona
● 2nd Leg: Yuma to San Gabriel Mission
● 3rd Leg: San Gabriel Mission to Monterey.
○ Supplies for the expedition were in Horcasitas, Sonora, Mexico (in that time called Nueva España).
○ 1st Campsite in what is now the United States was Las Lagunas.
○ Everyone, all supplies, and every animal came from various places in Mexico, where they were recruited.
○ It’s important knowing how they measured distance:
● Font 2.60 miles per league (Legua Mexicana: 5000 geometric paces/varas)
● Anza 3.0 miles per league (Horse can march 3 miles per league)
○ Most people were saddled up on mules that carried approximately 320 lbs each.
○ Soldiers were on horses for protection while women walked for military strategy. The soldiers needed to be on horse to defend the expedition
○ Cattle traveled mostly behind and sometimes up front (Depending on where the water source was going to be and the flow direction).
○ They were following rivers because they needed water for 240 people and 1000 animals.
■ They followed the Santa Cruz River, Gila River, and crossed the Colorado River
○ Expedition stopped everyday around 3pm.
○ Budget from warehouse
■ Beans, cattle, dry goods, lentils, rice beans, chile (non-parishable)
■ Bags weighed from 50-100 lbs
○ Managing the cattle: (Font's Diary, Pg. 3)
■ 20 Muleteers/ Arreros
○ Breaking up the group (tardeadas): (Anza Diary, pg 7; pg. 50)
■ 3 or 4 times along the expedition
■ for safety
■ Strategy for water- watering hole was limited
● Font would recite rosary in each tent, sing litany and the alabado:
○ “At night the people said the Rosary in the Rosary in their tents by families, and afterward they sang the Alabado, the Salve, or something else, each one its own way, and the result was a pleasing variety.” (Font's Complete Diary, pg. 25)
○ At the center of the camp was the bonfire, where the kitchen was set up military style.
○ A group went to chop wood
○ Group watered the horses
○ group to dig the latrain (necessities)
○ Group to cook
○ Military guards
Key People of the Expedition:
○ Frey Pedro Font- Basis of documenting the Expedition (Font more reliable)
○ Juan Bautista de Anza- wrote for Bucareli (limited writing based on his superior)
○ Father Garcés
Key People of the Expedition:
○ Frey Pedro Font- Basis of documenting the Expedition (Font more reliable)
○ Juan Bautista de Anza- wrote for Bucareli (limited writing based on his superior)
○ Father Garcés
1. What is your (Phil Valdez) background regarding the Juan Bautista de Anza Project?
Phil is descendant of Juan Bautista Valdez: Courier of Anza. History is important for the pride of his family. Phil’s main priority is accuracy in documenting the history of this expedition.
2. What data sources did you use for your historical collection of the de Anza Trail information?
● Anza Diary 1775-1776 Colonizing Expedition
● Bolton, H. E., Díaz, J., Garcés, F. T. H., Palóu, F., Font, P., Eixarch, T., & Moraga, J. J. (1930). Font's complete diary of the Second Anza expedition (Vol. 4). University of California Press.
● Font, P. (1931). Font's complete diary: a chronicle of the founding of San Francisco. University of California Press.
● Teggart, F. J. (1913). The Anza expedition of 1775-1776. Diary of Pedro Font.Publications of the Academy of Pacific Coast History, 101.
● Soto Perez, J.L. (1998) Borrador Field Notes: Recopilacion de noticias de la antigua y de la nueva CA. Editorial Porrua. Recap of FR Francisco Palou, O.F. M.
● (2000)Web de Anza http://anza.uoregon.edu/
Phil Valdez Works:
o Valdez, P. (1995) The Anza Letters. Retrieved from http://www.anzasociety.org/newanzaletters.html
o Valdez, P. (1995) Anza Society International. Retrieved from http://www.anzasociety.org/
o Guerrero, V. (2006). The Anza Trail and the Settling of California. Heyday.
4. What challenges did you face using the diaries or other resources?
● Spanish to English translations were done badly. Cultural language was misinterpreted. Reading the Spanish diaries provides a more accurate reading of the expedition.
5. What is your methodology?
● First devised the system: Valdez’ three Ds: Distance Direction and Description. If campsite does not meet two of those, then you're not there. Historical fixed points meets all three criteria.
● It is essential knowing how to read the diaries and translate the diaries accurately.
● Instrumental with the creation the JUBA Historical Corridor
● Collaborated in Books:
○ Alan Brown, With Anza to California
○ Greg Smithstead PhD Anza Trail guide
○ Vladimir Guerrero, PhD, De Anza Trail and the Settling of CA
7. Do you know the sizes of the campsites? How?
With the descriptions told within the diaries, we get a general idea of the sizes and organization of the campsites. Father Font described the Campsite to look like a little city, based on his diary.
Some details about the organization of the campsite:
Barracks made with capotes
13 field tents:
9 for soldiers and their wives: the settlers
1 for lieutenant
1 for Font
1 biggest one, for Anza (Commander)
Tents were formed in a Circle
8. Did the size of the group change many times along the expedition?
● Expedition left Horcasitas with 177 people, and in Tubac, they picked up seventy-seven.
9. What are some spectacular sites to look at?
Coyote Canyon by Puerto Real de San Carlos. The environment and condition of the Canyon is basically the same as it was during the expedition.
1. My being on the project is for the purpose of lending my expertise on the location of the campsites.
2. I will help you in ascertaining such locations.
3. In general we spoke about the merits of the 1775/76 Juan Bautista de Anza colonizing expedition that departed from el Real Presidio de San Miguel de Horcasitas, la Nueva España (now Mexico) on September 29, 1775 and arrived in Monte-Rey Alta California on March 10, 1776.
4. We spoke in detail about how they calculated distance and that it was estimated by the hour. Most or all historian agree that Anza estimated distance by how far a horse would walk in an hour which is about three miles or one league.Father Font estimated it at 3000 geometric paces or 5000 varas. A vara is 32.9 inches. I gave you the equation. 32.9 inches in a vara x 5000 varas = 164,500
5280 ft in a mile x 12 inches = 63,360 therefore 164,500/63,360 = 2.60 miles per hour.
5. I emphasized the use of my three d's that is distance, direction, and description and that if two of these did not meet the end result "you were not at the campsite". Again I mentioned that the campsites were of paramount importance but without the route there would no be any campsites.
6. We spoke at length on how to break the expedition into three for the better handling and mastering of the landscape. The breakdown was from Horcasitas to the Yuma Crossing, from the Yuma Crossing to Mission San Gabriel and from Mission San Gabriel to Monterey.
7. Most importantly we spoke about the campsites and how the commander would based himself in finding them. The prerequisites being water, forage and camping space for 240 people and their animals. Here I made it a point to making you aware that the mapping of the campsites is not all that difficult because a good number of them are fixed points, i,e, the missions, the rivers, towns, and other landmarks. We also spoke on how they would only travel to about 3 in the afternoon to allow use of daylight hours for setting up the campsite.
8. I mentioned the material you would need to get the job done, i.e, Anza to California by Bolton and others which I saw there at the office. These will suffice in doing the job. At this juncture we spoke about culture and I mentioned that you would be one up on everyone else if you read the Spanish diaries.
Campsites of the 1775-76 Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition
Last updated: March 13, 2018