Hope on the Horizon
What would make a family leave their home for an unfamiliar land on a distant frontier? For the nearly 300 men, women, and children on the Anza Expedition, it was the chance for a fresh start. In 1775, life in northern Mexico was hard and people were poor. They hoped for prosperous opportunities along the San Francisco Bay.
New Life on the Spanish Frontier
Commander Juan Bautista de Anza understood the needs of these families as well of those of the Spanish Crown. By leading hard working settlers north to the temperate grasslands of the San Francisco Bay, Anza knew these families would build the forts and communities that would sustain their new life.
For six months, Anza led the expedition members from the deserts and mountains of northern Mexico to Alta (upper) California. Their encounters with native communities and the few births during the journey provided welcome changes from their daily hard work.
Creating a New California
On June 27, 1776, the families arrived in San Francisco and set in motion tremendous changes. Within a year, they had built a presidio (fort) and established small farms. Soon their children were raising their own families would transform the West, creating a better life for themselves while preparing the way for new immigrants.