COSTANSO, MIGUEL. 1741-1814. Diario Histórico de los viages de mar, y tierra hechos al norte de la California ... Executados por la Tropa destinada a dicho objecto al mando de Don Gaspar de Portola.... Mexico: de orden del Excmo. Sr. Virrey, en la Imprenta del Superior Gobierno, [1770].

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Lot 3
COSTANSO, MIGUEL. 1741-1814.
Diario Histórico de los viages de mar, y tierra hechos al norte de la California ... Executados por la Tropa destinada a dicho objecto al mando de Don Gaspar de Portola.... Mexico: de orden del Excmo. Sr. Virrey, en la Imprenta del Superior Gobierno, [1770].

Sold for US$ 125,000 inc. premium
COSTANSO, MIGUEL. 1741-1814.
Diario Histórico de los viages de mar, y tierra hechos al norte de la California ... Executados por la Tropa destinada a dicho objecto al mando de Don Gaspar de Portola.... Mexico: de orden del Excmo. Sr. Virrey, en la Imprenta del Superior Gobierno, [1770].
Folio (290 x 198 mm). [2], 56 pp. Last leaf supplied in facsimile. Modern wrappers. Custom folding box. Few marginal repairs to title, light soiling to L2.
Provenance: early manuscript correction to p 1; Dorothy Sloan, Oct 26, 2007, lot 43.

THE SUPPRESSED REPORT OF THE PORTOLA EXPEDITION, PROBABLY THE RAREST OF ALL CALIFORNIANA, INCLUDING ACCOUNTS OF THE FOUNDING OF MONTEREY AND SAN DIEGO AND THE DISCOVERY OF SAN FRANCISCO BAY. The expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá was the first exploration by land of Alta California. A major part of its mission was to establish the Franciscans in California under Father Junipero Serra. This report covers the founding of the first two presidios and missions in what is now the state of California, that of San Diego in July of 1769 and of Monterey in June of 1770. The expedition missed Monterey in their northward journey from San Diego and did not return until the following year. It was only on the discovery of San Francisco Bay that they agreed among themselves that they had overshot. Although they identify the Bay as the "Puerto de San Francisco," known from prior sea voyages, this was the earlier name for what is now known as Drake's Bay, 30 miles to the north. San Francisco Bay is of course much larger but the Golden Gate was not discovered until 1775 by Captain Ayala.
"It is believed that the work was suppressed by the Spanish government immediately upon its appearance, as it contained certain information that might be of use to navigators of other nationalities, and Spain distrusted England. Subsequently a manuscript copy was translated into English by William Reveley, and published in London in 1790. A copy of each of these works is known to be in this state—probably the rarest of all Californiana" (Cowan I).
This work further bears the distinction of being THE FIRST BOOK DEVOTED ENTIRELY TO CALIFORNIA. Barrett Baja California 591; Cowan I pp 56-57; Cowan II p 144, Graff 884; Howes C795 ("dd"); Mathes 55; Medina 5363; Pilling 902; Sabin 17019; Streeter sale 2437; Wagner Cartography of the Northwest Coast p 164; Spanish Southwest 149; Zamorano 80 22.

Footnotes

  • "El dia ultimo de Octubre llegó la Expedicion de Tierra á vista de la Punta de los Reyes, y Farallones del Puerto de San Francisco, cuyas señas confrontadas con las que refiere el Derrotero del Piloto Cabrera Bueno, se hallaton exactas...."
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