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Jun 28th
Home Sections History Antonio Rodriguez as original settler discovered from Bill Mason
Antonio Rodriguez as original settler discovered from Bill Mason PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 23 September 2012 02:08
Antonio Miranda Rodriguez being Filipino was discovered by Bill Mason, a well known historian who specialized in the early Spanish history of California. He was also the former curator of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. But not just Bill Mason, other historians also have come across Antonio Miranda Rodriguez from Spanish documents. Why isn't Antonio Miranda on the Founders Plaque? Antonio Miranda y Rodriguez, along with his daughter, were among those chosen to be the original settlers of the City of Los Angeles in 1781. He did start the expedition with the other pobladores, but while en route his daughter got sick with small pox causing him to stop and delay to take care of her lingering illness. Miranda's name appears in the 1781 first census for Los Angeles, and in the 1782 census as well, however, in the census of 1783 his name was dropped and his allotment was re-assigned to someone else. His daughter eventually died of her illness, and Miranda subsequently arrived in Los Angeles, even though some stories erroneously say that he never arrived. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Miranda found that his allotment had already been assigned to another, but that the presidio in Santa Barbara wanted him. Miranda's highly valued skill as a gunsmith or armorer was desired for the Presidio of Santa Barbara. The Presidio in Santa Barbara was in charge of protecting the area missions and settlements, including San Gabriel and Los Angeles, as the closest other presidio was in San Diego. Miranda settled in Santa Barbara in 1783 and lived there until his death. He was buried in the chapel of this Presidio in Santa Barbara. Presidio life is an interetsing study of the soldiers in these garrisons. When in Southern California, go to the Presidio in downtown Santa Barbara and in the Presidio Chapel see the wall plaque by the chapel's main entrance, which lists him (Antonio Miranda) among those buried in the Presidio Chapel. Also, do not miss the commemorative tile at the foot of the altar, which was placed there by the Filipino Community of Santa Barbara. According to the research of William Marvin Mason, former curator of the History Division of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Antonio Miranda Rodriguez was not just a settler but also a soldier, a soldado de cuera, and was literate (unusual for that time), as at least one report has been found that was written by him. We owe a lot of what we know about Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, beyond Los Angeles, to William Mason, who had been doing this research until his untimely death in late 2000. Mason, who wrote an article about the Chinese in Mexico, found "chinos" (not Chinese, but Filipinos from the nao de china, or Manila Galleons) mentioned in church records of marriages in Mexico. His daughter will be donating his papers, hopefully to UCLA. In a tribute to Bill Mason, veteran California Historian, I compiled what he shared with me in regard to his research on Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, when I was requested to deliver the lecture for a special event held at the Santa Barbara Presidio on June 13, 2004. This "Historical Lecture on the Occasion of the Life of Antonio Miranda Rodriguez" was also published in 2004 in La Campana, the quarterly journal of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. ADDENDA: Antonio Miranda was not a Spaniard, and he was not Chinese; he was ethnically Filipino according to some leading and very respected academic historians. As your teachers warn you, question what you find on the Internet and judge them by the sources they cite for their information. Here are documented sources by men of great reputations as academic historian, provided by a librarian from a major university. Mason, William M. Los Angeles Under the Spanish Flag (So. California Genealogical Society, 2004. 116p) Page 15: "Antonio Miranda Rodriguez ... was listed as a chino on one of the lists of pobladores. ... But to people in Mexico, chinos were from Asia, irrespective of nationality. ... [Miranda] was from Manila, and was quite likely a Filipino." ________________ "The Founding Forty-Four", Westways, Vol. 68, No. 7, July 1976, pp. 20-23. Page 23: "Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, chino. Miranda, as he was usually called ... On Mexico's west coast chino was the term applied to natives from the Philippines, to distinguish them from Mexican Indians, since both were called indios. Miranda was a native of Manila, and apparently a Malayan Filipino." Bancroft, Hubert Howe History of California, Vol. I. 1542-1800, Vol.18 The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft Page 345: "Antonio Miranda, chino, 50 years, ... was not a Chinaman, nor even born in China, as has been stated by some writers, but was the offspring probably of an Indian mother by a father of mixed Spanish and negro blood." (While the term Filipino was used in the 17th century for full-blood Spanish born in the Philippines to differentiate them from the full-blood Spanish Peninsulares (Spanish in the New World who were born in Spain); because Miranda, as described above by academic historians, was not full-blood Spanish, this argument is irrelevant in Miranda's case.) • El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park - Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation • A Southern California Chronology - Historical Society of Southern California • Los Angeles Under the Spanish Flag by William M. Mason (So. California Genealogical Society, 2004). [First Census of Los Angeles (1781) appears on page 66] • The Garrisons of San Diego Presidio: 1770-1794 by Bill Mason - Journal of San Diego History

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