The California Explorer Did
Not, It Is True, Have To Fight His Way Through Hordes Of Fierce Natives.
Indians, as a rule, received the white adventurers
gladly, and entertained them with such hospitality as they had to offer,
But the Indians north of the Santa Barbara Channel were but a poor lot.
In a country abounding in game of all kinds, a sea swarming with fish, a
soil capable of growing every character of foodstuff, these miserable
natives lived in a chronic state of starvation.
As in heroic qualities, so also in skill and judgment, Portola upholds
the best traditions of Spain. The success of an expedition depends upon
the character of the leader. Panfilo de Narvaez landed on the coast of
Florida in April, 1528, with a well-equipped army of three hundred men
and forty horses, just half the force he sailed with from Spain the
previous June, and of the three hundred men whom he led into Florida,
only four lived to reach civilization - the rest perished. That is but
one example of incompetent leadership. When Portola organized his
expedition for the march from San Diego Bay to Monterey, many of his
soldiers were ill from scurvy, and at one time on the march the sick
list numbered nineteen men, including the governor and Rivera, his chief
officer. Sixteen men had to be carried, and to three, in extremis, the
viaticum was administered; but he brought them all through, and returned
to San Diego without the loss of a man.
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