User talk:WCCasey

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WikiProject Architecture[edit]

Hello and welcome to the WikiProject Architecture - here's the bulletin - if you don't like it just delete it from your talk page, otherwise, it automatically updates. Please give me or one of the other project members a shout if you need any help. Kind regards Elekhh (talk) 00:46, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

ODNB[edit]

Why this removal? ODNB is widely used as a reference on Wikipedia. DuncanHill (talk) 23:25, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

OK, I think I've spotted the problem - you need to put a space between the number which forms the end of the url and the comma which comes after it. Used to fox me when I started linking to ODNB! DuncanHill (talk) 23:28, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
Like this - [1]. DuncanHill (talk) 23:30, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
I tried the revised link and it still took me to a subscriber sign-in page. WP:ELNO policy guidelines discourage links to non-free websites; that's why I removed the link. WCCasey (talk) 23:47, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
It should take you to the index entry for the person. ODNB is accessible for free for anyone with a library card from their local authority in the UK, and is also available through many libraries and institutions worldwide. As I said, it's very widely used for references on Wikipedia, as it is something of an encyclopaedia of record. DuncanHill (talk) 23:54, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
That's the issue, isn't it? Access is not free for everyone (me, for instance). My earlier addition of an ODNB link was reverted for that reason. WCCasey (talk) 00:00, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry that an earlier addition by you got reverted - It's not happened to me, but I know there are some editors who seem to dislike ODNB links. Anyway - it's up to you what you add, personally I feel the ODNB links are beneficial. Best wishes, DuncanHill (talk) 00:07, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

I posted a question on the Wikipedia talk:External links page about policy on websites that are free for some, but not all. In future, I plan to use ODNB articles only as sources, with inline citation, rather than as simple external links. That conforms with current guidelines, and is (I think) better editing practice. WCCasey (talk) 01:06, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

New-York[edit]

Hi,

I found the info with some googling. [2] [3] [4]Alensha talk 21:26, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Interesting. You found three sources that all say New-York is the original, or at least an archaic spelling of New York. None of the three, however, give sources or historical examples. It seems to be one of those things people have heard, but can't remember exactly when or where. So far, I haven't found the hyphen in any of the WP New York history-related articles. An interesting little mystery in search of a citation. WCCasey (talk) 06:26, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

History of English sources[edit]

I'll see if I can find some ... probably not till a week from now as I'm about to go out of town. Benwing (talk) 11:48, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Jedediah Smith[edit]

Greetings! You may find this section of a local history book of use to you in editing the second trip to California section of Jedediah Smith,

" A glance at some of the conditions of the long ago, as revealed in the light of Elliott's oldest history, may not prove uninteresting. Many careful investigators now believe that the Jedediah Smith party were the first Americans who ever entered the limits of the great territory now known as Humboldt county. Smith was the first white man that ever led a party overland to California. It seems that in the spring of 1825 he led a band of more than forty men into the Sacramento valley, where he collected a large amount of furs and established his headquarters on the American river, not far from Folsom. He trapped in the San Joaquin in 1826. He started, early in 1827, with a bold band of explorers and trappers for the Columbia river, passing through what is now Yolo county, "up the Cachet creek, and arrived at the ocean near the mouth of the Russian river and followed the coast line as far as Umpqua river," near Cape Arago, when all of the company of forty except himself, Daniel Prior, and Richard Laughlin, were cruelly massacred by a band of Indians. All the stores and furs of the company were taken by the savages. The survivors escaped to Port Vancouver and told of their misadventure to Dr. John Loughlin, agent of the Hudson Bay Company. It was the policy of the Hudson Bay Company to punish native tribes whenever they committed flagrant crimes of this character, so the company readily listened to the survivors and acceded to their request when Smith, as leader, proposed to the agent that if he would send a party to punish the Indians and recover the stolen property he would conduct that party to the unusually rich trapping grounds in the country he had just left. After Smith took his leave on Lewis river, Ogden's party continued southwest to Utah and Nevada, and entered the San Joaquin valley through Walker's pass. They trapped up the valley and then passed over the coast and then up to Vancouver by the route which Smith had formerly traveled." <ref>Irving, Leigh H., [http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cagha/history/humboldt/humb1915-ch4.txt History of Humboldt County California], Historic Record Co., Los Angeles, 1915, Chapter 4, accessdate 17 February 2013, page 43</ref>

I believe there is also a journal of the expedition where this massacre happened which they recovered although it's author did not survive. If I find that typescript in my huge pile of stuff I will pass that along too, but you might try Googling for it as I am certain I found it on the internet. Cheers! Ellin Beltz (talk) 19:16, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Ellin, for the reading suggestion. Some of the statements in the excerpt you posted, however, do not agree with Smith's own journal, so I wouldn't use it as a source. I'm presently reading Smith's journal in The Southwest Expedition of Jedediah Smith, edited by George R. Brooks, which is an account of the first trip (1826). Smith was not in California before 1826. And, while he was the first American and the first English-speaker to travel overland to California, he was not the first "white man". The Ogden party did not reach California until 1828-9, and they did not enter through Walker Pass. WCCasey (talk) 01:23, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I totally agree that Irving isn't always the most accurate or p.c. ("savages" etc.) but it might be a good idea to specifically refute his statements to prevent editing conflicts for people who haven't your experience with the topic. I've refrained from editing that page because there's so much I don't know and so much that is confusing, but I do remember reading the journal and wondering if the party's taking of the local people's house to use for a raft had anything to do with their subsequent misfortunes. There were so many stories in that journal of how entitled the explorers felt and how little they credited the people who were there before them. Do you think Smith ever got into Humboldt County as Irving suggests? Ellin Beltz (talk) 09:43, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Irving's statement that Smith "arrived at the ocean near the mouth of the Russian river" also appears to be false. Maps of the 1827 journey show that Smith stayed in the Sacramento River Valley well to the north of the Russian River, before cutting west and descending the river that now bears his name (through north-eastern Humboldt County), to reach the Pacific near present-day Orick. WCCasey (talk) 05:52, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

All good points to address in the article so that no one tries to revert it based on Irving's say so. Ellin Beltz (talk) 06:06, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
One of the most valuable contributions we can make as editors is simply to keep an eye on articles we have an interest in - partly to prevent vandalism, but also to catch well-meaning but incorrect/unsourced/biased/badly written edits. The Jedediah Smith article will remain on my watchlist, and I won't let anything bad happen to it. Maybe, as I read more about Smith, I can expand the sections describing his route. WCCasey (talk) 07:16, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

The Smith journal has proven to be a rich source to cite in WP articles (concentrating on the California portions of his travels in 1826-7). Then it's on to another book for a description of Smith's second visit to California (1827-8), which included travels in Northern California and Oregon. First-trip-related articles expanded/linked/sourced include:

That's quite a list of articles to add to from only one source. WTG! Ellin Beltz (talk) 03:58, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

As always happens with Wikipedia, an addition to one article leads to others, often far removed from the first source. The editor's footnotes to the Smith journal led me to Moraga, and to his naming of many Central Valley rivers. I was then able to expand and add links to San Joaquin River and Stanislaus River. WCCasey (talk) 06:51, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

To continue the Smith story, I found the book Men Against the Mountains, by Alson J. Smith (1965). I would have preferred Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West, by Dale L. Morgan (1953), but my local library didn't have it. Because both books were written prior to the 1967 discovery of the "lost" journal, they both contain some errors in particulars of the 1826-27 travel route that were corrected in Brooks' book (1977). Facts were established earlier, however, for J. Smith's 1827 return to California and the completion of the expedition at Fort Vancouver.

I found that J. Smith visited San Jose, Monterey and Yerba Buena, California before heading north up the Sacramento Valley. The Alson Smith book doesn't give the exact route of travel from San Jose to Monterey, but it seems unlikely that the expedition passed through my home turf in Santa Cruz County (my original question). They probably used the more established El Camino Real by way of Mission San Juan Bautista.

Helped by the Alson Smith book, I was able to expand several more articles, including:

WCCasey (talk) 23:46, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Californios[edit]

Hi, and thanks for all your work on the history of California! Just to let you know, I reverted two places where you changed "Californios" to "Californians". Californio is actually the correct term for the Spanish/Mexican settlers of pre-statehood California. In fact the name continued to be used for a while in the US state of California, referring to the long-established, Spanish-speaking residents of the state. Thanks and see you around Wikipedia! --MelanieN (talk) 21:22, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

According to the Californio article, only those Spanish-speaking residents born in California are properly called Californios. In addition, a number of naturalized Europeans and Americans became involved in the trade, e.g. Abel Stearns. WCCasey (talk) 22:51, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
OK, I have no problem with the clarifications you have inserted into both articles. However, I suspect that the "born in California" clause is too limiting; other sources such as this one give a broader definition. But I'll take that up on the Californio talk page. Thanks. --MelanieN (talk) 19:11, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

I find several problems with this Californio definition, from the San Diego History website:

"It is occasionally necessary to consider a Californio as any non-Indian with a Spanish surname, and born in California, Spain, or Latin America. Strictly speaking, however, Californios were those Mexicans who inhabited California prior to the American conquest, and the term also refers to their descendants."

Reasons why the first definition are ever "necessary" are not given. The second def: "those Mexicans who inhabited California prior to the American conquest", conflicts both with the first and with "Anglo-American" in at least one important respect. By 1846, many of those "Mexicans" were "Anglos" who had been naturalized. Their "Spanish surnames" were simply Spanish versions of their original surnames, whether English, French, Russian or whatever.

The narrower definition of "Californio" used in the WP article was arrived at after considering and finding problems with broader alternatives. Having said that, there are a few people I would consider making "honorary Californios". One such is Gabriel Moraga, who spent nearly his entire life in California, and whose father did, also. WCCasey (talk) 00:13, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Disambiguation link notification for February 7[edit]

Hi. Thank you for your recent edits. Wikipedia appreciates your help. We noticed though that when you edited Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, you added a link pointing to the disambiguation page Neophyte (check to confirm | fix with Dab solver). Such links are almost always unintended, since a disambiguation page is merely a list of "Did you mean..." article titles. Read the FAQ • Join us at the DPL WikiProject.

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Note to self: The link to the disambiguation page was intentional. The disambig page contains the definition of "neophyte" I wanted. That may not be good WP style for a disambig page, but it works in this case. WCCasey (talk) 17:58, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Update: now linking to Wiktionary for the definition. WCCasey (talk) 19:57, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Joseph John Chapman[edit]

Another result of Jedediah Smith reading: California pioneer Joseph John Chapman is mentioned in Smith's journal. He sounded like an interesting character deserving his own WP article. WCCasey (talk) 23:40, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

California explorers[edit]

New 2014 project - better identify the routes of the earliest (mostly Spanish) California (land) explorers, the routes they traveled, places they visited and names they left. Include new categories. Explorers (in chronological order):

  • Portola-Crespi-Constanzo 1769-70 (Category: Places of the Portola expedition)
  • Fages-Crespi 1770-72
  • de Anza-Font 1774-76

Category:Places of the Portola expedition[edit]

Category:Places of the Portola expedition, which you created, has been nominated for possible deletion, merging, or renaming. If you would like to participate in the discussion, you are invited to add your comments at the category's entry on the Categories for discussion page. Thank you. BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:50, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

I confess that I am mystified by this objection. I created the category merely as a place to find links to all of these articles on one page. As with all categories, it's just a shared attribute. It has nothing to do with any "explorer's worldview". Does anyone suppose that Portola chose where he was going based on a "worldview"? "Systemic bias"? Really? WCCasey (talk) 06:56, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

California Republic (talk) - California a Mexican 'province' or 'department'[edit]

Hello. Thank you for your contributions to the California Republic article. Rather than changing your last edit regarding California being a Mexican 'department', I've started a discussion on the article's talk page. I'd appreciate any comments and hope to find language the works for both of us. Also, Pio Pico made Los Angeles California's capital when he became governor in 1844. Thanks. Dean95452 (talk) 17:30, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks to Dean95452 (Kenwood?) for directing my attention to Siete Leyes and other points of Alta California history. The WP articles on early California history need a lot of help from knowledgeable editors, so I hope many well-sourced edits will follow. WCCasey (talk) 05:54, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
Even more new (to me) info - according to the map accompanying the Siete Leyes article; not only did Alta California change from a 'territory' to a 'department' in 1836, but its name reverted from Alta California back to the old Spanish 'Las Californias', which included both Alta and Baja California. I need to do some reading. WCCasey (talk) 06:20, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to recommend 'California Under Spain and Mexico: 1535-1847' by Irving Berdine Richman. It can be downloaded (free - my favorite price) as a pdf from Google books. Here is a paragraph from page 261 on our topic.
By the Constitution of 1836 - the Constitution of the Seven Laws - the Constitution to which Alvarado with vivas had bidden Californians subscribe - the two Californias, Alta and Baja, were converted from two territories into a single department, entitled to a governor, an assembly, and one congressional delegate. The department was required to be subdivided into districts and partidos under prefects and sub-prefects, the former to be appointed by the Governor and approved in Mexico; and the latter to be appointed by the prefects and approved by the Governor. On February 27, 1839, three prefectures were designated, - two for Alta, and one for Baja California; the respective capitals being at San Juan Castro (late Mission of San Juan Bautista), Los Angeles, and La Paz. The two Alta California prefectures were divided each into two partidos, with head towns (cabecras) at San Juan Castro, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara. No partido division was as yet attempted for Baja California. Dean95452 (talk) 15:26, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

As I said, I need to do some reading. I added Richman's book to my Google library some time ago, but haven't yet read it. Why "vivas" from Alvarado, I wonder? Also, I'm familiar with Juan Castro, but I've never seen "San Juan Castro" before, so I'm inclined to use this book as a source only when corroborated by a second, newer book (the same way I use Bancroft and other early histories).

Coincidentally, a biography of Vallejo I'm currently reading (by Myrtle M. McKittrick) casually refers to California as a 'department' - in one sentence of a chapter set in 1838, without explanation. I've previously seen references to 'prefects', but didn't know the political context. It's hard for scholars to remember all the things their readers don't yet know. As non-expert WP editors, it's equally hard for us to realize how many things we don't yet know. Thanks for the recommendation, Dean95452. WCCasey (talk) 00:42, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

My experience is that Richman is quite reliable - if you are interested in the official Spanish or Mexican perspective. He worked primarily from archival sources. San Juan de Castro was the name of the original pueblo following the secularization of Mission San Juan Batista according to the current city's website. My guess is that Alvarado received his vivas for first rebelling in defense of the 1824 constitution then enthusiastically selling the 1836 constitution to California as part of a political deal with the central government that confirmed him as governor. Richman did not practice NPOV writing. Dean95452 (talk) 03:28, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, I've learned another new thing today - "San Juan de Castro". That makes it officially a good day. Thanks, Dean95452. I bet a lot of the post-mission pueblos were given names that didn't last long. The pueblo at Mission Santa Cruz was dubbed "Figueroa", but it never caught on with the residents. WCCasey (talk) 06:18, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Follow-up editing[edit]

This conversation has opened up a new avenue of needed article improvements - so many that it's hard to know where to begin. I'm starting a list here, for my own reference, of articles edited with new info relating to this subject:

Articles will be added to this list as the work progresses. WCCasey (talk) 19:50, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

A barnstar for you![edit]

Civility Barnstar Hires.png The Civility Barnstar
Thank you for your consistently positive approach while helping me learn. Dean95452 (talk) 14:00, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Timeline of the Portola expedition[edit]

Hi, following the close at Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2014_May_12#Category:Places_of_the_Portola_expedition, I've started a draft for a timeline article at User:Ricky81682/sandbox/Timeline of the Portola expedition. I've coded in all the articles that were previously in the category (before the bot removes them and it'll have to be figured out by hand). If you're interested in taking it on, I can move the draft to your userspace and work on it there. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 22:29, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Wow, good start, Ricky81682! I cleaned out my Sandbox, so feel free to move the draft over to User:WCCasey/sandbox. Thanks for taking an interest in this. WCCasey (talk) 01:47, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
I went ahead and copied the draft over to my sandbox. All of the category deletions showed up in my watchlist, so there's a record to work from. WCCasey (talk) 03:49, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
No worries. I figure if I make a suggestion, I should at least make a first pass at it. I moved and overwrote your version so the history is intact. I did a bad job of keeping track of the sources for the first pieces (each article tends to have a little bit of information). The alternative of course is to review the three diaries page by page but either way I think this could be a very good article that provides a lot of detail. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 07:06, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

I just wanted to pass back to say the draft looks amazing. I'm wondering what you're going to suggest at DYK when you move it to article space as a new article. I'll join back in at some point but the only issue may be sourcing, are you working off the original diaries? If we keep track of the details, we may be able to take these facts and add to maybe even 100 other articles at one time. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 07:24, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

The sourcing for the timeline is almost entirely the four diaries - mostly the free online English translations (which are also the standard accepted translations everyone else quotes) available through Google Books and others. I've already gone through most of the linked articles and expanded/corrected/linked/cited based on the diaries. The daily timeline entries follow the daily diary entries, so it should be pretty easy to find and verify the information. I've run into a couple of cases where there's a dispute about the exact English translation, and a number of other cases where the exact campsite and/or trail locations are disputed, so I'm trying to stay general and/or note alternative interpretations. WCCasey (talk) 05:26, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Alta California borders[edit]

All of the maps of Mexico I've found in Wikimedia Commons (and used in WP article) show a southern border for Alta California that is now the US-Mexico border. The first dividing line between Alta and Baja California, established in 1773 to demarcate missionary jurisdictions, was about 30 miles south of the current US-Mexico border. A map image used in that same article, however, shows the Palou border still current in 1850. That is almost certainly incorrect.

In a discussion about some southern ranchos (see the opening text of List of Ranchos of California, I was convinced that the border changed sometime after 1829 when the last of those grants was made - but before 1836 when the two Californias were recombined into a single department. After seeing all those maps, however, I'm not so sure: when exactly did the line change? WCCasey (talk) 03:37, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

This is a follow-up on a different border, the eastern one. I realize it's long-standing tradition here at Wikipedia to state that "California" for the Spanish and Mexicans meant the entire American southwest, save Arizona and New Mexico, but I've seen no such evidence either from the histories (including the 19th-century ones like Chapman, Bancroft, etc., nor the contemporary ones like Starr), nor do I see such evidence from the documentation from the period. A few maps printed in the US are the only exceptions. The Spanish did claim this area, but as best I can see they were content to consider it unorganized territory best referred to by the names of the inhabitants. If anything needed to be dealt with in these areas, those issues would have come under the purview of the captain-general of the Internal Provinces, rather than the governor of California. So the claim for the "greater California" seems to me to be just a self-perpetuating Wikipediaism. Am I missing something?TriniMuñoz (talk) 23:58, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

This is a good question, and I agree that hard evidence seems to be lacking. The first problem is that the Spanish/Mexicans seem to have preferred leaving frontier boundaries fuzzy - I suppose so that future expansion of colonization would happen within territory they already "owned". It was only the Americans who wanted clearly defined borders, beginning in 1819. That fuzziness cuts both ways, however. If we can't say for sure that areas east of the Sierra Nevada were definitely part of Alta California, neither can we say that those areas definitely were not in Alta California. The Wikipedia custom seems to be to assume that all of the territory ceded to the U.S. in 1948 had previously been part of either Alta California or Nuevo Mexico. Most of the WP maps support that view, except for the Mexican map used with The Californias. That map, however, seems to be an after-the-fact (1857) academic effort - not a government document, and the eastern Alta California boundary shown on that map also seems entirely arbitrary.

If someone can find an official Mexican government map from that time showing an eastern boundary, then we could have a lively discussion. Lacking that, I think we're just looking at a semantics issue. I wouldn't object if someone wants to insert clarification language about the fuzziness of the Mexican borders into the Alta California article (to replace the "clarification needed" tags). A look at the limits of the most northern and eastern rancho grants might be helpful, and I may do that at some point.

The truth is probably that, in 1848, Mexico only signed away the right to claim a lot of Native American land they had never even seen, let alone colonized. The U.S didn't immediately do anything with those remote areas, either, but trappers and explorers like Jedediah Smith and John C. Fremont had already seen a lot of it. WCCasey (talk) 04:38, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

The Spanish (and their successor states, in this case Mexico) did leave their borders fuzzy until they needed to be defined, but they did not create provinces that projected out into infinity like the Portuguese or English did. I've studied the Spanish in other areas and they would rather define areas by the inhabitants that lived there—for example the "Pimería Alta" or note the description of the provinces covered by the Audiencia of Charcas—especially since they considered these peoples subjects of the crown/future citizens of the republic. As these areas would be colonized and incorporated into the polity, these provinces and names would be regularized. It is precisely because it was "land they had never even seen" (except, of course, when it was surveyed by the Domínguez-Escalante expedition), that it was left undefined. I doubt you'll find a "government" map showing that eastern border, because they never defined it. Only the Americans did.
Anyway, I don't see how the 1857 map, published in Mexico, is less valid than the ones made in the U.S. with the acquisitions of the Mexican War in mind. Of course it's an "academic effort": but that's what Wikipedia is! And by someone who was part of a government-established institution and handled the corresponding documentation just decades after the fact. After all, we're not supposed to be doing "original research," we're supposed to be using the established historiography. Nevertheless, as to the eastern limits of California, I did put in a published citation from the period by Juan Bandini, a member of the territorial legislature, to Echeandía, the governor of the territory. At the same time, I haven't put into the footnotes yet, but I've scoured Bancroft's History of Utah and in the Spanish- and Mexican-era chapters, he never refers to it as part of Alta California. Again Bancroft would have been personally familiar with the Californios and with larger Spanish colonial history and practices in North America. His contemporary, Chapman, concurs with this assessment. So I don't think it's semantics. TriniMuñoz (talk) 16:22, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
If it wasn't important to the Mexican government to define an eastern border for Alta California, then it probably shouldn't be that important to WP editors, either - in other words, it's just semantics. Bandini is not a reliable source on Alta California borders - first because he's a primary source, and second because he had nothing to do with the creation or definition of borders.
Decisions about Alta California borders were made in Mexico City, and Californios had no voice in those decisions. The opinions of Bancroft and Chapman are worth noting, but are not any better than those of modern historians. The last time borders were altered was in 1836 with the Siete Leyes, decades before Bancroft and Chapman. If any border definitions exist, they would be in 1836-7 Mexican legislative documents.
As I said before, if someone can find an official map that defines all of the frontier areas, then we should use it. If such a thing doesn't exist, then it would be original research for WP to create one. The maps already in use, that show Alta California extending all the way east to Nuevo Mexico, may also be original research that should be removed (to be replaced by what?). In such cases, my general rule is qualify. Try to make it clear in article text that there is disagreement, and include reliable citations of differing opinions (not primary sources).
One other note: I used the phrase "academic effort" to distinguish the 1857 map from an official government map. The map can't be cited as a reliable source. Another point: an academic effort is allowed (even expected) to employ original research, and is conducted under the auspices of an academic institution. Wikipedia is not an academic effort in the sense I was using the term. WCCasey (talk) 07:00, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Here's my point, all the arguments you make are relevant for not stating that Alta California extends to the Great Plains with a qualification that the eastern boarder is not defined and that some—especially in the U.S—considered it to include the entire American southwest save the areas of New Mexico and Texas. This is the edit I did, with the supporting documentation and which you removed. ("If it wasn't important to the Mexican government to define an eastern border for Alta California, then it probably shouldn't be that important to WP editors.") The Bandini quote is from a modern source—published in 1976—which is attempting to define Alta California. Bandini is not a government official, but he is responding to a request on information on the boarders by government officials, since they most likely did not receive a definition from Mexico City. Second, by your definition, the 1857 map is a very "academic" source: it's created under the auspices of the Mexican Society of Geography and Statistics, specifically for use in educational institutions. This is akin to dismissing a document put out by the Smithsonian or an issue of National Geographic because they are not put out by Congress. By contrast, the 1838 Britannica map doesn't show borders nor even the mountains correctly; it's clearly guesswork. And finally, insisting on solely government laws, or government maps from the period is original research. Which modern, American historians—those from the 20th or 21st century—state that Alta California extended beyond the Sierra Nevada? I've read Starr, I've read Beebe, I've read many of the historians in the references in this article and the California's article and they don't claim this. This was the reason I made my first edit: there was no documentation for the claim save two 1847 maps published on the East Coast. I think the balance is on the more conservative border, with an explanation that it might have been defined more largely later under the Mexican Republic. I will re-review the literature, but I will most likely do this edit in a few days or week, while preserving your language. TriniMuñoz (talk) 07:48, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
We seem to be talking past each other now, so it's time to drop the subject. I don't want to discourage any editor, so go for it. I always look forward to seeing more accurate California history articles in WP. WCCasey (talk) 16:39, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. Sorry if I was harsh. Following up on your questions, the Mexican law establishing the departments as called for by the Siete Leyes (Law of June 30, 1838, "Division of the Territory of the Republic into Twenty-four Departments") does not define borders. It simply transforms the previous territories and states into departments. Mexico, Basilio José Arrillaga, Recopilación de leyes, decretos, bandos, reglamentos, circulares y providencias de los supremos poderes y otras autoridades de la República Mexicana. Formada de orden del Supremo Gobierno, 284-285.
The issue of internal boundaries of the northern territories does not seem to be—for obvious reasons—the most pressing issue for the central government. The earliest government attempt at establishing these borders is reflected in Pedro García Conde's map of 1845, printed in London and based on the manuscript map he made on request from the Mexican government. Only a few copies seemed to have been printed. They were hand-colored. Copies exist in the British Library, the Yale library and for sale. An introductory background on García Conde can be found here: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgakg, http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/969840?uid=3739560 and here http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/nbb02. A copy and detailed description of the printing history can be seen here: http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/15146. Note the role of the Sociedad Mexicana de Geografía y Estadística and Antonio García Cubas after García Conde's death. Note, also, the role of gathering information from local residents in the plans to create an official map: "Rather than gathering the information by formal survey, García Conde prepared and distributed a questionaire throughout the Republic, in which he sought information on the towns, villages, mines, mountains, rivers and other cartogaphic features of the country. With the responses to his questionaire, he prepared a large scale manuscript map, with the intention of producing the first printed map of the Republic." Best, TriniMuñoz (talk) 06:20, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

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Coin945 (talk) 12:24, 10 September 2014 (UTC)