HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF PLACER-MINING IN CALIFORNIA.
From the auriferous deposits of the State of California $1,100,000,000 have been extracted during the last thirty-five years.*
magnitude of the mining operations required to produce this enormous
yield is but little known to the general public. The continuous flow of
gold bullion has, however, made the State famous and attracted the
attention of political economists everywhere.
First Mention of California.—The
first mention of the name "California" occurs in connection with a
supposed great island where gold and precious stones were found in
abundance, described in a romance called " Las Sergus de Esplandian,"
published in Spain a.d. 1510.
The followers of Cortez had chimerical ideas of some hidden El Dorado,
and, strange to say, they applied the name California to that unknown
country north of Mexico with which they associated the notion of a
region of fabulous wealth.
Discovery of Lower California.—The
first expedition sent out by Cortez, in 1534, discovered what is now
called Lower California. According to Father Venegas, this expedition,
numbering some seven hundred souls, was fitted out at the port of
Tehuantepec in the year 1537, and sailed north to the head of the gulf
of California, but never reached the line which marks the southern
boundary of the State of California.
Contemporaneously with the departure of this party " four persons, named Alvarez Nunez, Cabeza de Vaca,
* Up to 1883. See Appendix A. 42