In 1542 Juan Cabrillo set the flag of Spain on a beach near what was to become the Pueblo de Los Angeles while Natives crowded and watched as he named it the "Bay of the Smokes." An early smog indicator. They wondered why he spoke loudly to the winds, but not to them, as if they didn't exist.
In 1767 Gaspar de Portola led the expulsion of the Jesuits in Baja California and was assigned to lead the Spanish invasion forces into Alta California. The Franciscan replacements were now under Padre Junipero Serra.
Riding with Padre Juan Crespi. Portola and Crespi picked out the locations for Mission San Gabriel and the site for Pueblo de Los Angeles. The Mission began life in 1769. The first dozen families arrived for the Founding in 1781. The plan was to expand to the sea as The Cattle Capitol of the West and to keep the West Coast in isolation from the feared invasion of the British and Russians.
The effects on the Tongva (later "Gabrielino") Native Americans of the area are a major part of the story.All as seen through the eyes of the conflicted and ambitious Indian who was the first baptized as a Neophyte and named - Nicolas Jose.
He was adept at learning language and skills and became the main translator, organizer and spokesman for the Spanish. He became a powerbroker, womanizer and first "Alcalde" or mayor of the native population.
He became divided with power and shame. He searched for the person he had been as the conflict grew.
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About the Author
I had been a writer for the L.A. Free Press and Entertainment Weekly. At Warner Bros./Tamara Music I'd written over 300 songs and have had three plays produced.
Most of my life, 37 years, has been spent waiting behind the wheel of a car and writing on a portable tablet or synthesizer in the driver's seat while waiting for important passengers in driveways. Sometimes for 72 hours at a stretch.
I did some racing but I was primarily a chauffeur for the Department of State, Justice, Commerce, Senate, Saudi Royal Family, Brunai Royal Family and many celebrities and front pagers. There was plenty of seat time to write music and text. I'll add that I had well over one million miles with no tickets or accidents.
My father was a leading architect who had lived in Taliesin East and Taliesin West with his teacher Frank Lloyd Wright and had traveled with him to Japan to study earthquake damage there. He also went to Mexico in 1957 for DMJM to investigate their damage. He was instrumental in changing the L. A. building code to allow structures over thirteen stories IF they built to code. It became apparent that so many, through cost cutting, were below standard and are clearly dangerous.
My father's longtime friend was a teacher at the Sherman Indian School in Riverside. I spent many days playing with Mojave, Serrano, Navajo and Apache kids there. My fifth grade classmate, Socorro, was Tongva/Gabrielino and had challenged our teacher about their 'extinction.' She taught me a lot. My ex-wife, and still BFF, is Irish/Oglala Sioux, so my interest in the trials and survival of the Tongva Nation comes from within.
The books underway include two on Los Angeles tectonic plates, earthquake peril, nuclear plants, and a novel with very graphic automobile chases on identifiable L.A. streets and canyons.
"The Birth of Los Angeles - And the Genocide of the Tongva" The cover price for the 484 page paperback is: $19.95. The Kindle and E-books price is: $8.00
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very detailed history of the Spanish invasion of California, seen through the eyes of the Native Americans and the first settlers. I never knew how many had African backgrounds. The rebellion and trial of Toypurina and Nicolas Jose at San Gabriel was eye opening. The earthquake and Santa Ana river 'shook me up!' I used to live there and never knew its history. A long book! But worth it.