8.8.4 Plan diseño del Ferreno de la Purisima Concepcion en la comprehension de la Ex Mision de Sta. Clara [Calif.] : salicitado pr. Gorgono y Suliyi Rama
From: U.S. District Court. California, Northern District. Land Case 130 ND, page 172. Juana Briones, claimmant. Claimant's name taken from label attached to map. Plan for Rancho La Purisima Concepcion in Santa Clara County. Oriented with north toward lower right corner. Relief shown pictorially. Land Case Map A-280.
This map shows the boundaries of Juana Briones’s land in today’s Santa Clara County, land she purchased from two Ohlone men who had lived at Mission Santa Clara. Briones also received a grant from the Mexican government for land in today’s San Francisco. From 1834 until 1846, the Mexican government granted over 500 such land awards to people living in California. These land grants could be extremely large — most up to 50,000 acres, which is larger than many cities in California today. Most ranchers used their land to raise cattle. Before the Spanish and Mexican eras, this land had been occupied by California’s Native peoples. In the case of Juana Briones’s land, Ohlone peoples once lived independently here before the Spanish arrived. In the mid-1800s these Native people had to negotiate a way to live and work when land was bounded off into private ownership. The new government under the United States in California made this even more complicated for both Native Americans and Mexican Americans. What do you notice about this map? How is it different from maps you see today?
Of the 500 land grants made by the Mexican government in California, only 66 went to women. Most of these women were either widowed or single, as Mexico allowed these women to own property of their own. Briones received a land grant and purchased property of her own, and she was married. This map shows the informal boundaries of Mexican land grants that often used natural features rather than longitude and latitude to denote boundary lines. The lack of precise boundaries caused problems in the American era when the owners of the ranchos wanted to prove land ownership and new American settlers were looking to establish themselves on parts of these large land parcels. This source allows for a discussion of the 1851 California Land Act, which required Mexican American land grant owners to prove title to their land. After extensive legal proceedings and lengthy appeals, most Mexican American ranch owners lost their lands
Plan diseño del Ferreno de la Purisima Concepcion en la comprehension de la Ex Mision de Sta. Clara [Calif.] : salicitado pr. Gorgono y Suliyi Rama, undated; Land case map A-280; UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library