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Two Years Before the Mast - Study Guide Chapters 21-24 Summary & Analysis

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By summer's end, Dana's Spanish is quite good and he has learned the history of California. Discovered in 1534 by Ximenes or in 1536 by Cortes, it is first developed and exploited by Jesuit missionaries, whose wealth is protected by the presidios. When the Jesuits are expelled from Spanish lands, the Franciscans take over. The missions' lot declines after Mexican independence, but the Indians remain virtual serfs to the harder, civil administradores sent from Mexico City, desperate to make their fortunes. Trade diminishes; credit is destroyed, and the missions decay.

Civil government is capricious, revolutions frequent, and justice swift and brutal—particularly when the accused is an Indian. Males are lazy, vain, and given to gambling; women are uneducated and not virtuous but closely controlled by their jealous fathers and husbands. Indians often risk harsh punishment to sell their women to sailors and are...

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This section contains 645 words
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