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California-Sonora Road

Following the successful revolution against Spanish rule and the establishment of the Mexican state in 1821, attention was directed once again to the northern frontier regions. The security of California was seen by the new republic as its most urgent problem. Russia increasingly appeared to pose a threat to California, and trappers of the English Hudson's Bay Company pushed southward ever deeper into Mexico's territory. When it was decided that California's future as a Mexican possession required strengthening their presence there, the immediate opening of an overland route between California and Mexico became necessary.

The first concrete step in re-establishing a California-Sonora road was motivated by a need for a mail route. In 1823, Father Feliz Caballero traveled from his missions in Baja California to Sonora via the region near the mouth of the Colorado and the Gila River. The same year, Captain Jose Romero, commandant of the Tucson presidio, returned to Baja California over roughly the same route, but not before being robbed by Indians near the mouth of the Colorado. His later investigations into the feasibility of a trail that would pass through San Bernardino and San Gorgonio Pass and strike the Colorado north of the junction with the Gila were no more encouraging.

When Romero returned to Sonora in late 1825, Romualdo Pacheco, an engineer, accompanied the expedition as far as the Colorado river, then marched back to the coast by way of the southern, or Yuma, route. This last, the San Diego-Yuma route via Warner's Pass, eventually was recognized as the official California segment of the California-Sonora road. Although the route was dangerous, it did in fact become a road of sorts as private persons began to use it in traveling from Sonora.


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These items are historical in scope and are intended for educational purposes only; they are not meant as an aid for travel planning.
Copyright ©Walter Feller. 1995-2023 - All rights reserved.
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