de Anza expeditions
Gabriel Moraga was one of the first Europeans to see and explore the Central Valley of California (1806–1808). He led expeditions of soldiers to do the first Spanish explorations of the valley.
Moraga became the source of many place names in the region which are derived from the same names of the rivers that he named:
- San Joaquin County, and San Joaquin Valley after the San Joaquin River
- Sacramento and Sacramento, County after the Rio del Santissimo Sacramento ("River of the Most Blessed Sacrament")
- Merced County, and Merced after the Merced River, which he named El Río de Nuestra Señora de la Merced (The River of Our Lady of Mercy)
- Kings County and the Kings River, which he named Río de los Santos Reyes (River of the Holy Kings)
- Calaveras County and the Calaveras River or Río de las Calaveras named after skulls found there
- Mariposa County, Mariposa, Mariposa River and the old name of the Chowchilla River, Big Mariposa River, which was named after the swarms of butterflies Moraga found in the region of Chowchilla, California.
- Randolph B. Marcy, The Prairie Traveler: A Hand-book for Overland Expeditions, published by authority of the War Department, (1859), ITINERARY XXI--From Fort Yuma to Benicia, California. From Lieutenant R. S. WILLIAMSON'S Report.
- Barbara Marinacci, Rudy Marinacci, California's Spanish place-names: what they are and how they got here, Presidio Press, 1980, p.98
- Fernando Martínez Laínez, Carlos Canales, Banderas lejanas: la exploración, conquista y defensa por España del territorio de los actuales Estados Unidos, EDAF, Madrid, 2009. p.360
- The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft: History of California. 1884-90, Volume 2; Volume 19, Hubert Howe Bancroft, Henry Lebbeus Oak, William Nemos, Frances Fuller Victor, note 33, p. 5
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