Talk:The Californias

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Article merged: See old talk-page here

Merge request: Copied from the California (province) discussion page[edit]

This article basically reproduces what is already said in the Las Californias article. "Las Californias" is the term I've seen used in Spanish for the territory/province before it's division in 1804 into Alta and Baja California, so I recommend that this article be merged into that article. Both articles do need more specifics, especially on the exact nature of the administration that they had, and the general history, such as the missions (I realize there is a separate article on that, but a quick summary would be in order). When were intendancies established? What was their relation to the Provinicas Internas Commandancy General? Etc. TriniMuñoz (talk) 05:08, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

This is a merge request; not a move. It would be better to combine the articles under this name, where English-speakers are likely to find it; see our guidelines for using English. But that is a matter which doesn't need an admin; just editors. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:36, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I merged California (province) into Las Californias, per AjaxSmack's first suggestion. (Sorry for the confusion between move and merge. Do realize some of us are new at this.) I completely understand, and previously have noted, the English usage policy, but I still have reservations about the title "California (province)" because it does not properly reflect the name or area of this province. "California (province) implies the current State of California, and not an area that included the two Mexican states to the south (and which for a century and a half, was the only settled part of the Californias). I reviewed the literature a bit, and found that some authors, but not all, such as Bancroft in the last century, simply translated the phrase into English. I followed this in the article, removing all "Las Californias" and replacing it with "the Californias." Others simply maintain a separate discussion for both areas and only use "Baja California" and "Alta California".TriniMuñoz (talk) 20:35, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Continuing (post-)Merge discussion[edit]

In doing the "What links here function" I've noticed that most authors of California, and even U.S.-related articles, overwhelmingly have chosen to Wikilink the original "Las Californias" article, not the oddly named "California (province)." Just something to consider.TriniMuñoz (talk) 20:58, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Big mistake[edit]

This article confuses two different things, a temporary title held by Gov. Portolá for one year and the later division of Baja California in 1804. The article creates a country that never existed. Baja and Alta always had separate governors and capitals from the beginning of Alta in 1768. This was quite an entertaining fiction, though. Wyeson 04:30, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

I did not write this article but I think that if you have the correct sources, please discuss and fix it. Thank you.--Fermín MX 05:10, 6 January 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ferminmx (talkcontribs)
There are no sources. The old article makes up all kinds of fantasies. US California was never part of Baja. But that is what the article pretends to say. The words "Las Californias" or "The Californias" means the two Mexican states of Baja. The two Californias of Baja were made in 1804. A small child thought that that meant that Alta and Baja California were divided in 1804. But the child was wrong. Only Baja was divided in 1804: norte y sur. Alta and Baja were never together. That is why Alta and Baja have two different names: Alta and Baja. They were never together. Alta and Baja were never married. They were always separate countries. I hope that helps you start understanding what Alta and Baja are: Alta is in the United States of America, and Baja is a peninsula in Mexico. They were always two different places. Alta + Baja = two. Be happy! Yo te quiero! Wyeson 09:52, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Whatever the errors in the article, deleting it is inappropriate. The phrase "the Californias" means the US state + Baja, whatever its history. — kwami (talk) 09:59, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
That is right, and I commit to add sources I know in the near future as soon as I have some time to improve this article. Current day US State of California was part of a greater Spanish/Mexican territory which included today's California peninsula. This territory was first called precisely "California", originally applied to the peninsula, later broadened to include territories north and east of the peninsula, and even later divided and called "The Californias" (divided first religiously, then civil and military) containing "Baja California" and "Alta California". Even more, although the eastern limit with the then USA was never clearly defined, "California" and later "Alta California" and "Las Californias" included at least the whole or parts of today's US States of Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. What Wighson says about the division of the Baja California territory itself into Baja California "Norte" and "Sur" did happen but much later well into the 20th century, so I think he is confusing the dates. Please if you make any such large modification to an article and such extraordinary claims as "Alta and Baja were never married", "They were always separate countries" I beg you to please discuss and present appropriate references in this or the corresponding talk pages. And yes, then and now "The Californias" is still understood on both sides of the border as at least the US state plus the peninsula (there's even a museum with that name in Tijuana).--Fermín MX 12:31, 6 January 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ferminmx (talkcontribs)
This article is in dire need of rewriting and may have spotty citations, but the 1804 division is not some small child's fantasy. Alta and Baja California were not always "separate countries"; that's not a division that happens until the end of the Mexican War! The initial missionary work and early settlements of Alta California at the end of the 18th-century were done under the auspices of the governors of (Baja) California. Once the settlements took root, it's only natural that a separate governorship was established. Thank you Fermín, for committing to fixing this article. It's something I've wanted to do, but haven't found time yet. TriniMuñoz (talk) 15:38, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Disputed[edit]

first, I commend editor TriniMuñoz for working on this article - it needs a lot of help. I think, however, that several statements in the article are incorrect and/or need reliable citations to back them up. We can discuss these questions here but, until they are resolved, I'm putting a "disputed" template at the top of the page. Some issues just in the first two sections:

  • "ceremonial title" What does that mean and is it true? Sourcing needed.
  • "...two separate regions of Alta and Baja California, which were never administered as one..." In fact, they were administered as one before 1804, and again after 1836. The article List of governors in the Viceroyalty of New Spain lists governors of Las Californias from 1768 to 1804. The article Siete Leyes describes the "Department of the Californias" established at that time.
  • "sometimes called 'Las Californias.' " (in image caption). Same objection as above.
  • "Portolà then [1770] returned to Baja California to continue his governorship there." According to the Portolà article, he returned to San Blas, not to Baja, and became governor of Puebla (that statement also lacks a source).
  • The Alvarado document is not a reliable source per WP:SOURCES ("reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy"). The same is true of the Bandini document.
  • "...often retroactively considered to be part of the original Californias in popular thought." In WP, these are considered "weasel words" per WP:WORDS, and also are not supported by the non-reliable citation.
  • "In 1768, when Portolà founded the province of Alta California, the Crown established two governorships for each of the two regions, one for Baja California and another for Alta California." Portolà did not have authority to "found" any province, and there were not two governorships in 1768. Portolà did not even enter lands that later became Alta California until 1769.
  • The three maps included in the article do not agree on Alta California borders. A recent expansion to the caption of the bottom-most of the three maps notes that it was "used during the negotiations of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo". The statement is unsourced but, if true, lends weight to the view that both Mexico and the U.S. considered Alta California to include lands far to the east of the Sierra Nevada.

That last edit was, obviously, mine. I did not source is because it was a quick edit—I will do more edits later on—and because it is mentioned both in the article on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and in the text of the treaty itself: Article V, "The southern and western limits of New Mexico, mentioned in the article, are those laid down in the map entitled 'Map of the United Mexican States, as organized and defined by various acts of the Congress of said republic, and constructed according to the best authorities. Revised edition. Published at New York, in 1847, by J. Disturnell,' of which map a copy is added to this treaty, bearing the signatures and seals of the undersigned Plenipotentiaries." It is clear that as the 19th century progressed and as other nations became interested in Mexico's northern territories—the US had already made an offer to buy California—Mexico referred to the entire north as "Alta California" and "New Mexico," so yes, by the Mexican-American War it referred to areas east of the Sierra Nevada. The negotiators used this map, because it was the best one they could use that was also readily available. It did not necessarily reflect official lines, save perhaps with regard to New Mexico. Being a much older and established province, it is likely that a western border was defined by statute, but I have not seen any. Alta California's was not, so it could be projected out to New Mexico, when the area needed to be addressed. However, I don't think that based on this map one can retroactively say that Alta California was always seen to include these areas by the Spanish and early Mexican authorities, a state which is reflected in the confused state of the various maps. The Colorado River served as a defining geographic border, if not a political one, ever since Eusebio Kino established that California was not an island. TriniMuñoz (talk) 01:22, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

The important words there are "defining geographic border, if not a political one". This article is about a political unit, is it not? Geographic borders are only relevant when they are also political borders. At this point, the 1847 Disturnell map seems to be the most authoritative source we have that shows political borders for Alta California (and seems to be the basis for the simple maps used in other WP articles). So, until something earlier and equally authoritative is produced showing or describing different political borders, I think we have to stick with the Disturnell map (thanks to User:TriniMuñoz for establishing its authority). Editors should all feel free to qualify all statements about borders to whatever extent we feel necessary, but we can't just say that the Disturnell map is wrong. WCCasey (talk) 01:18, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo doesn't establish boarders for Alta California; it establishes a new one between the republics of Mexico and the United States. It uses the Disturnell map only for these purposes. (Read all of Article V which deals with the boundary.) The only California boundary it addresses is a simplified one between Alta California and Baja California, ignoring the one in the Disturnell map. Furthermore, the map contained errors, which were to be addressed in the future (see the Bartlett-Garcia Conde Compromise and the eventual Gadsden Purchase), but it was the map the negotiators had to work with. Finally, it must be kept in mind that the Mexican government negotiating this is one that came to power quickly after the destabilizing effects of Mexico effectively having been conquered. They were under pressure to finalize a treaty. But yes, I do see now that for the Mexican authorities, Alta California extended beyond the Sierra Nevada. (And by the way, upon rereading the Bandini quote, he does effectively say as much. I had mistakenly read his "or" to mean "and": a line from the Sierras to the lower Colorado.) However, I don't think we can take the Distrunell map as the "official" Mexican one: it's only being used exactly in the very act in which they have to give up their claim to Alta California! I reiterate, that I believe Alta California's eastern boundary was never finally defined. And I also think that we should take into consideration the maps produced by official Mexican institutions, such as the Mexican Society of Geography and Statistics, founded in 1833, like the one published in 1857—and not just American ones—to show the evolution of the what was considered Alta California. After all, it was looking through their map collection this week, that I came to realize that the Distrunell map was used in the Guadalupe Hidalgo negotiations. TriniMuñoz (talk) 02:29, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
We're getting away from the disputed text. There has been no discussion here or in the article about what the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo says or doesn't say about borders prior to the Treaty. To improve clarity, I'll take up each of the disputed points separate sub-sections. WCCasey (talk) 03:55, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Dispute #1[edit]

  • "ceremonial title" What does that mean and is it true? Sourcing needed.

Unless a reliable source can be added to back up that language, I propose to remove it. WCCasey (talk) 04:59, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Do it. This goes too for most of the other points. I don't know what "ceremonial title" even means. The edit came from an unregistered person—not that someone like that could do excellent contributions—and I just corrected his or her grammar as a courtesy. TriniMuñoz (talk) 18:37, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Disputes #2 & 3[edit]

  • "...two separate regions of Alta and Baja California, which were never administered as one..." In fact, they were administered as one before 1804, and again after 1836. The article List of governors in the Viceroyalty of New Spain lists governors of Las Californias from 1768 to 1804. The article Siete Leyes describes the "Department of the Californias" established at that time.
  • "sometimes called 'Las Californias.' " (in image caption). Same objection as above.

I propose to correct those statements as noted above. WCCasey (talk) 04:59, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Dispute #4[edit]

  • "Portolà then [1770] returned to Baja California to continue his governorship there." According to the Portolà article, he returned to San Blas, not to Baja, and became governor of Puebla (that statement also lacks a source and I've tagged it).

Alvarado is not a reliable source (see Dispute #5) WCCasey (talk) 04:59, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Dispute #5[edit]

  • The Alvarado document is not a reliable source per WP:SOURCES ("reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy"). Also, we can't use the original Spanish versions of any document as a source here, except to clarify original Spanish wording.

The same is true of the Bandini document, so the footnoting of Bandini's statement is appropriate. The Alvarado statement (a translation must be retrieved from a reliable source) should be treated the same way. Better yet would be to move the Alvarado statement to the Portolà article - it's not important to this article (especially because its accuracy is disputed). WCCasey (talk) 04:59, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Dispute #6[edit]

  • "...often retroactively considered to be part of the original Californias in popular thought." In WP, these are considered "weasel words" per WP:WORDS, and also are not supported by the non-reliable citation.

This dispute was resolved to my satisfaction by the "Revision as of 06:49, 14 August 2014". WCCasey (talk) 04:59, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Dispute #7[edit]

  • "In 1768, when Portolà founded the province of Alta California, the Crown established two governorships for each of the two regions, one for Baja California and another for Alta California." Portolà did not have authority to "found" any province, and there were not two governorships in 1768. Portolà did not even enter lands that later became Alta California until 1769.

The "Revision as of 22:22, 12 August 2014" added the text above, and removed the following paragraph, with the explanatory note "(removed original research and historical fictions)". I believe the earlier version to be accurate, supported by the linked article:

"Administratively, the Province was part of the Commandancy General of the Provincias Internas in the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Las Californias was a single province from 1768 to 1804, when the Alta California (Upper California) province/territory was created."

I propose a return to that language. WCCasey (talk) 04:59, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Follow-up: I went to leave a note inviting User:204.130.172.16 to join this discussion, but that is apparently a shared computer at The Master's College that has been repeatedly cited for destructive edits. WCCasey (talk) 05:33, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Resolved?[edit]

I've attempted to clean up all the disputed points in the "Revision as of 06:59, 22 August 2014". Also, I replaced one of the 3 maps - one that seemed redundant - with a 1763 map. If there are further disagreements about any of this, let's work it out here rather than getting into any more edit wars. WCCasey (talk) 07:06, 22 August 2014 (UTC)