Skip to main content
Select Source:

Juan Bautista de Anza

Juan Bautista de Anza

The Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza (1735-1788) opened the overland route from Mexico to California and established the first settlement at San Francisco.

Juan Bautista de Anza was born in Fronteras, Sonora, Mexico, where his grandfather and father had served as commanders. In 1738 Anza's father submitted a plan for opening a route from Sonora to California, but in 1739 the elder Anza lost his life in a campaign against the Apaches and the plan was dropped.

When Anza was 18 he volunteered for military service and rapidly rose to the rank of captain. In 1759 he became commander of the presidio of Tubac (south of modern Tucson). He led numerous campaigns against the Apaches and achieved a notable reputation as a soldier and leader.

By 1770 the Spanish settlements in California were in desperate condition. Routes by sea and over the peninsula of Baja California could not supply their needs, and there was great fear that California would have to be abandoned. Remembering his father's ambitions, Anza volunteered to open a route from Sonora, and in 1773 Viceroy Antonio Maria de Bucareli granted him permission to attempt the journey. Setting out in January 1774 with 34 men, including the Franciscan Fray Francisco Garcés, Anza traveled to the Colorado River, where he established friendly relations with the Yuma Indians. Turning westward, he broke a trail across the southern desert to San Gabriel in Alta (upper) California.

Bucareli promoted Anza to lieutenant colonel and placed him in charge of recruiting colonists for a new California settlement. In 1775 he left Mexico with 240 colonists, including women and children. In March 1776 the group reached California with the loss of only one life, an almost unheard-of feat in those times.

Anza selected the site for the pueblo of San Francisco and then returned to Mexico, where Bucareli named him governor of New Mexico. Anza proved an excellent governor. His campaigns against the Apaches and Comanches brought peace to the northern frontier, and his reorganization of the defenses of the province strengthened Spanish domination in the area.

In 1781 the Yuma rose against the Spaniards, and Anza, who was unfairly blamed for the revolt, lost his post. However, he soon returned to office and served until 1786, when he requested transfer to a more healthful climate. He went to Tucson as commander and served there until his death in Arizpe in 1788.

Further Reading

An excellent account of Anza's California expeditions is Herbert E. Bolton, An Outpost of Empire (1930), the first volume in Anza's California Expeditions (5 vols., 1930), which includes the diaries and documents pertaining to Anza's journeys. Anza's career in New Mexico is presented in Alfred Barnaby Thomas, ed. and trans., Forgotten Frontiers: A Study of the Spanish Indian Policy of Don Juan Bautista de Anza (1932).

Additional Sources

Brumgardt, John R., From Sonora to San Francisco Bay: the expeditions of Juan Bautista de Anza, 1774-1776, Riverside, Calif.: Historical Commission Press, 1976. □

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Juan Bautista de Anza." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Jun. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Juan Bautista de Anza." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/juan-bautista-de-anza

"Juan Bautista de Anza." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved June 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/juan-bautista-de-anza

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Anza, Juan Bautista de

Juan Bautista de Anza (hwän boutēs´tä dā än´sä), 1735–88, Spanish explorer and official in the Southwest and the far West, reputed founder of San Francisco, b. Mexico. Accompanied by Father F. T. H. Garcés and a small expedition, he opened (1774) an overland road from Sonora through present-day Arizona to California, reaching San Gabriel and Monterey. Viceroy A. M. Bucareli, alarmed by the threatened encroachments of the Russians and the British on the Pacific coast, sent (1775) Anza on a new expedition to establish a colony. In 1776 he chose the site of San Francisco, where a presidio was founded by one of his lieutenants and a mission was founded by Father Francisco Palóu under the direction of Father Junípero Serra. Later, as governor of New Mexico (1777–88), Anza built up Spanish frontier defenses and established order. Journals of men on his California journey are in Anza's California Expeditions (ed. by H. E. Bolton, 5 vol., 1930, repr. 1966). For his diaries and a study of his administration, see A. B. Thomas, Forgotten Frontiers (1932, repr. 1969).

See F. Thurman, The Cahuillas and White Men of San Carlos and Coyote Canyon (1970).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Anza, Juan Bautista de." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Jun. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Anza, Juan Bautista de." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/anza-juan-bautista-de

"Anza, Juan Bautista de." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/anza-juan-bautista-de

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.