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Historical Eras:

The Spanish

(Spanish Explorers)

A gay fandango

Deserters from the army were the first Spanish to enter the Mojave Desert. They were rumored to be living with the small bands of Indians living in the western Mojave. Pedro Fages, an officer whose destiny was to become the first Governor of California, was placed in charge of a detail to track these criminals down. He left the presidio of San Diego and rode north through the San Bernardino Valley and into the Cajon Pass. He followed along the edge of the desert at the northern base of the Sierra Madre and then through the Antelope Valley and over the Tehachapis and into the immense San Joaquin Valley beyond. He never found them.

Padre Francisco Garces was the first Anglo to enter the interior of the Mojave. In 1776 he traveled from the Mojave village near what is now Needles, on an Indian trail up Piute Creek and on toward Kelso Dunes. His journal tells of traveling across Soda Lake and up the intermittant Mojave River. His route, used by the Mojave for trade, became known as the Mojave Indian Trail.

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Spanish names in Mojave History


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