Gabriel Moraga

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Gabriel Moraga (1765 – June 14, 1823) was a Spanish army officer in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, an Alta California explorer, and son of the pioneer José Joaquín Moraga.[1] Although born in Fronteras, Sonora, Mexico, Moraga spent most of his life in Alta California. He died in Santa Barbara.

De Anza expeditions[edit]

Moraga was a member of both expeditions of Juan Bautista de Anza to explore and consolidate the north-western limits of Spain's colonial claims in Alta California. The first expedition in 1774 established a new overland route from Mexico. The second, in 1775-6, included numerous colonists for settlement of the area.

Central Valley[edit]

Gabriel Moraga was one of the first Europeans to see the Central Valley of California. He led the first official Spanish expeditions to explore the valley in 1806–1808. Many of the names which Moraga gave to places in the region (especially rivers) have survived, often in shortened and/or anglicized form:

Not all of Moraga's place names have survived. Today's Stanislaus River was named Rio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe by Moraga. Even at the early date of Moraga's expedition, the name was redundant. Today's Guadalupe River was named in 1776 by the Portolà expedition.

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