In this lesson, students evaluate the strengths and limitations of a set of historical documents about Juana Briones. As a Californiana who was not an elite, Briones’s presence in the archival record is exceptional. Her history offers an opportunity to learn about life for women colonists in the California frontier during the late Spanish, Mexican, and early American periods. Students read from a novel, church petition, local history account, and blog post.
Image: 1863 land survey commissioned to support Briones’s legal claim to Rancho la Purísima Concepción. From the Online Archive of California.