Californios descendants
Californio descendants

Events Related to the Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition

May 2017
Read the California Frontier Project blog post for Podcast Episode 002
"You Have to Carry This On": What it Means to be a Californio

with host Damian Bacich and
guest Greg Bernal-Mendoza Smestad.


You are invited to the Peralta Adobe in Downtown San José, California and the Presidio of San Francisco

For dates, see the calendar at:
History San José
and the Presidio of San Francisco

photos from the 2017 San Jose birthday party, click to see more

Did you miss the 2017 celebration of the founding of San José?
Want to see pictures? Click above to see larger photos.

Scroll down to learn more about the Californios,
the Peralto Adobe-Fallon House, and San José history.

Peralta Adobe with new outdoor oven
Luis María Peralta Adobe
View a map for the Peralta Adobe-Fallon House Historic Site (175 West Saint John St. San José, CA).

What it's all about

Ceremonies will commemorate the founding of San José on November 29th 1777 and the Founding of the Presidio of San Francisco on June 27, 1776.

Background and history

Near what is today the airport, a gathering of 15 men and 51 women and children started a settlement that they called El Pueblo San José de Guadalupe, the first purely civilian non- American Indian settlement in California. San José was thus founded on Nov. 29, 1777.

The settlers, with their families, set out from the Presidio of San Francisco on the seventh day of November, 1777, accompanied by the lieutenant of the 1775-1776 Juan Bautista de Anza expedition, Josef Joaquin Moraga. In the Spring of 1776, Anza, Padre Pedro Font, Lt. Moraga, and a small group of Spanish soldiers had explored the area north of Monterey, including Santa Clara County, on their way to choose the sites for the Mission and Presidio in San Francisco. Lt. Moraga came through Santa Clara County again in June of 1776 with settlers (called pobladores) on their way from Monterey to San Francisco to found the Presidio. In November of 1777, he and some of those same settlers founded the Pueblo of San José near the Guadalupe River. They were all citizens of the Spanish empire, but most were of mixed American Indian, African, and Hispanic ancestry. They later came to call themselves Californios.

Arriving in San José in early November, Moraga gave the pobladores possession in the name of his Majesty King Carlos III of Spain, marking out for them the plaza for the houses and distributing the house-lots among them. He measured off for each one a piece of land for planting a Fanega (7 acres for 1.6 bushels) of corn, and for beans and other vegetables. They immediately set to work to build the houses of palisades covered with clay, with flat roofs, and, when these were finished, each began to clear and plough his piece of ground for the planting of corn and beans. They also proceeded to build a dam to take the water from the Guadalupe River. It is thus that San José began in an area already occupied for thousands of years by the native Ohlone peoples. Their village in the area was called Tamien, and the coming of the Spanish, and the founding of the Mission Santa Clara in January of 1777, marked the beginning of the end of their way of life. Ohlone and Californio descendants are still around today. Each year, there are commemorations in San José and San Francisco that allow people today to come together to look back on those days gone by.

Greg Smestad and Mayor Reed
Greg Smestad and Mayor Chuck Reed
at the 2007 San Jose Birthday Celebration

Peralta adobe oven
Plaque at Peralta Adobe
(Click for larger image in new window.)

Lucille Corcel
Lucille Corcel, descendant of San José founders and
past president of Los Californianos, bringing the
commemorative floral display to the 2007 event

The floor, walls and oven at the Peralta were restored September 2008 via an Adobe & Straw Bale Construction Workshop taught by Bill and Athena Steen, internationally respected adobe and staw bale builders and educators.

Peralta adobe oven
Peralta Adobe outdoor oven
(Click for larger image in new window.)

PDF Files related to these events

Media Alert

Names of the founding families

Peralta Adobe Fact Sheet

Santa Clara County - Rich in History and Culture

Pueblo San José map

News and Background

Luís María Peralta Adobe Timeline

Luís María Peralta Adobe Virtual Tour

Blog post by Damian Bacich, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor of Spanish

San José: City’s 239th birthday celebrated at San Pedro Square (2016)

History San José on Facebook

San José Office of Cultural Affairs

Learn more about Sol Ideas Technology Development and early California history.

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