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Photographed 20 October 2013.
Changing Lands, Changing Hands
The Spanish established nearby Mission Santa Clara in 1777.
They used the surrounding land as pastures for cattle and sheep,
a move that had profound ecological effects.
Native grasslands were soon overgrazed, so ranchers seeded the
pastures with fast-growing exotic (non-native) grasses.
Native grasses soon disappeared from the landscape.
With their lands and lifestyles disrupted by the mission, many
native people left the area.
Others who remained were lured into the mission system and were
forced into hard labor and a complete cultural change.
Disease, unknown to the Indians before European arrival, ravaged
the dwindling local population.
California passed from Spanish to Mexican to American rule
between 1822 and 1846.
Likewise, ownership of Rancho Ulistac passed from the church to
Native American and then to European American hands. Farming
and grazing continued here during that time.
The Guadalupe River was used to transport goods to market until
the mid-1800s, when Alviso, at the mouth of the river, was made
into a seaport.
Native people were believed to have been involved in this
commerce both during and after the mission period.
This 1845 map of Rancho Ulistac identifies several Indian
dwellings and a garden along the Guadalupe. The Native American
owners, Marcello, Pio, and Cristobal, stayed in the area after the
mission system was abolished and built three houses and a sweat
lodge. Their garden produced corn, beans, and wheat.
(Note that the map orientation is upside down. North is to the
bottom right of the map.)
Location records that use this photograph:
Article records that use this photograph:
Other photos about Geography - Santa Clara County or Ulistac Natural Area.
Date and time this page was prepared:
4/29/2022 4:13:56 PM