Episodios chilenos en California is just what its title signifies. It is not a history of the Chilenos in California, which still needs to be written, but a series of somewhat isolated incidents detailing some episodes in California history which add a good deal to our knowledge of the comparatively little-known story of the Chileans in California.
Professor Carlos López Urrutia, Chilean-born professor at Menlo College, has busied himself in research for many years. He is best known for his History of the Chilean Navy, but more recently he has spent much time in digging out facts, stories, names and feats of Chileans in California, particularly during the Gold Rush decade. He has investigated the census records, has edited several short books on the Chilean navy in Mexican waters (Bouchard) and Pérez Rosales’ diary. The results of these researches are included in the volume under review.
Among the episodes he describes is the well-known attack on “Little Chile” in San Francisco in 1849, and the Chilean War of Calaveras and Moquelomne Hill. His chief contributions in this volume are his publishing in readable form the obscure Recuerdos of Pedro Isidoro Combet and three “Letters of an Outlaw,” both taken from nearly inaccessible Chilean periodicals, the latter of which is a somewhat exaggerated account of California in 1862. A chapter on Chilean bandits is interesting and informative, but the writer will of course be taken to task by Chileans for his contention that Joaquín Murietta is not a Chilean despite the work of Pablo Neruda and a host of Chilean poets and writers.
Profusely illustrated, clearly written in readable Spanish, Carlos López Urrutia has done himself, his compatriots, and California a service in this little volume printed in Chile.