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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Siskiyou Trail

Californians know the Sacramento River Valley as central to the scene of the great gold strike of 1848 and as the location of their capital city. They know that many cites located on or near te river sprang-up during the Gold-Rush. They know that Sacramento is the largest of those cites. They may even know that the river springs from the slopes of Mount Shasta.

Few Californians know much of the history of the Sacramento River Valley before 1884. Their knowledge beings with the '49ers.'

They might be interested, even delighted, to learn that it was an important part of the Siskiyou Trail. The Siskiyou stretched, from the Willamette Valley of Oregon, south until it reaced the California Central Valley and then followed the Sacramento to San Francisco Bay.

The Siskiyou Trail was important to the development of the Far West and to the trade of native Americans. By the 1820s it was central to the Hudson Bay Company's search for pelts. It was part of the inland way from Russian Alaska to Mexican California. That trail followed a portion of the waters of the

What we call the Sacramento River has had other names. For example, the French and Spanish sometimes called it the Bonaventura.

Part of the inland route from Fort Vancouver, in what is now Washington State, to San Francisco Bay followed the San Francisco River Valley. I fact, there may have been those who thought of it as a route from Moscow to Madrid via Mexico City.

You need not imagine that Native Americans found travelers of that route a novelty, for accounts are available. By the time of the Gold-Rush they had found the Chiese, Chileans, and Connecticut Yankees trampling their land more than a novelty. Even the Hudson Bay people had walked more softly than these 49ers.

The coastal route along the west coast of what was to become the western states of California, Oregon, and Washington was, perhaps, more important than the inland route. Along the sea route traveled Aleuts, Kanakas, Chinese, Spanish, Russians and many others. Among the Russians was a certain Veniaminow who later became Metropolitan of Moscow and Koloma, and was ultimately canonized as "Sviatoy Innokenty" or Saint Innocent! That is another story.

Pleases use "Comments" to correct my errors, to add to the story, to ask questions, to comment.


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