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Retrograde's Journal
Retrograde's Journal
July 5, 2023

California's first permanent European civilian settlement

as opposed to missions or miltary bases, was San Jose, settled in 1777 (with Los Angeles shortly after). California was the back of beyond until gold was discovered.

New Mexico, OTOH, had active Spanish settlements well before the English decided to starve at Jamestown. A municipal building, the Governor's Palace, built in 1608, is still in use. And as someone else pointed out, New Mexico has Native American towns that have been inhabited continuously since before that.

Then there were the French colonies along the Mississippi/Ohio Valleys and in Canada. France didn't invest much in them, so except for New Orleans they didn't get very large or important, but if you look at a map you see placenames such as Fond du Lac, Eau Claire, Pass Christian, Detroit, Terre Haute, etc - even as far west as Couer d'Alene. Pittsburgh started out as Fort Dusquene, a French outpost. For the most part, the French came to trade rather than settle, but their relations with the Native Americans were more friendly than those of the British settlers, and they often married Native women - Sacajawea's husband was likely of mixed Native/French ancestry. And let's not forget Quebec and Acadia, now Nova Scotia, whose French-descended inhabitants were deported to Louisiana when the British took over.

What bothers me about the way I was taught American history - in New York - was that it it was both Anglo-centric and East Coast centric, focused on British settlers moving from the East Coast across the continent, as if the rest of what is now the US was sort of an empty place where nothing happened until the British arrived. I read a book a few years ago - and forgot the name - that proposed looking at US history as a tapestry instead, with the weft eing the Spanish settlers moving north and the warp being the British moving west, forming a strong fabric in the process. I think we're starting to improve in how we teach US history, but there's still a long way to go.

January 26, 2023

California has a jungle primary system

candidates for senator and representative all battle it out during the primaries for the respective seats. The top two in each contest go on to the finals in November. AFAIK, a person can only run in one primary race at a time. So this would effectively mean that anyone running for senate would have to give up their house seat.

But the proposition that put this in place was spearheaded by Republicans, so who knows.

Of course, if Feinstein were to step down sometime this year the current governor could appoint someone to the senate seat.

May 26, 2020

The Jeremiah O'Brien sailed to France in 1994

for the D-Day anniversary, with IIRC some of the original crew (or at least original Liberty Ship crew members), along with some young whippersnappers to help with the manual labor. The old-timers held their own, even in the engine rooms.

I'm glad it was saved: I think it's the only one still afloat. I've been on it when the engines were running: I can't imagine sailing across an ocean in it.

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