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Gateway to Alta California: The Expedition to San Diego, 1769

The story of this journey through northern Baja California’s unexplored wilderness to San Diego is actually two stories, crafted by artful and incisive historian Harry Crosby. The first begins well before the expedition commences and involves world events, politics, and the characters who were destined to forge this momentous march. The second is a daily record of the trek itself, told through first-person diary excerpts and the author’s own comments as he followed in their footsteps, mapping this historic route for the first time. Together, they show not only the hardships and victories of blazing the difficult trail, but the resolve of this company of fifty heroic men.

Gateway to Alta California contains the author’s color maps, which provide a graphic statement of the journey into terra incognita, as well as his black-and-white photos of the largely unchanged terrain. Also included are lists of all Hispanic members of the expedition party—many identified here for the first time—plus pertinent information on their backgrounds and future lives (including those who continued on in July of 1769 with Gaspar de Portolá, seeking the port of Monterey).

“Having set the stage in his masterly Antigua California, Crosby now takes us northward—via primary sources and personal exploration—as Spain makes its final push into the Alta California that had for so long remained an unattainable goal. Like Herbert Eugene Bolton before him, Harry W. Crosby is at his most insightful and convincing when functioning at the intersection point of on-the-ground exploration and archival research. Here is a major contribution to the story of California and the larger history of the Spanish borderlands.”
- Dr. Kevin Starr
State Librarian of California

"Harry Crosby’s 'Gateway to Alta California' is a brilliant book—brilliantly conceived, brilliantly executed, and beautifully produced…a masterwork of scholarship and writing…Both scholars and lay persons will find it spellbinding. Crosby’s literary style is compact, concise, and compelling. (And his) accumulated firsthand and onsite knowledge is reflected in the superb full-colored maps of the trail overlayed on present-day topographical maps—a tour de force. Finally, Crosby’s research is impressive: he has ploughed through archival and published sources with meticulous attention and care. This magisterial book…will prove timeless as a definitive source."
- Doyce B. Nunis, Jr.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

History, $39.95
Hardcover Only

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