American Immigration to La Baja California

In the twenty years since then there have been organized several colonization enterprises, of which the principal were as follows: The Peninsula Plantation and Homestead Association, which obtained a large, fertile tract along the Muleje Bay, offering to actual settlers 30,-000 shares at $16, in 1870; the Gulf of California Commercial Company, a second Muleje colony association, formed at San Francisco in 1871; the Colorado Hemp Company, which in 1874 sent down a party to cultivate hemp with the aid of the Indians; the Guaymas and Muleje Trust Company, formed at San Francisco in 1880, to plant sugar-cane, for which 36,000 hectares were granted to Keely & Co. These and a number of minor projects’ bring the record down to the period since Mexico’s colonization act of December 15, 1883, which invites citizens of friendly nations to settle in Mexico and share in the advantages of its rich resources. The Government has also offered to colonize companies certain subsidies, mostly taking the form of large land grants, accompanied with exemptions, to induce the immigration of a desirable class of foreigners. The law in question also provides liberally for the partition and distribution of the public lands.

In view of these favorable conditions, the International Company of Mexico has acquired a complete and perfect title to 18,000,000 acres of land in Lower California, all of which has been duly surveyed by the company, for which service it obtained without further cost one-third of the tract, the remaining two-thirds having been acquired by purchase. The International Company’s territory begins at the national boundary, fifteen miles south of San Diego, and extends southward for 300 miles, covering the entire region between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California. The average breadth of the district is 100 miles.

These lands were acquired as follows: Three contracts with the Mexican government, in the form of concessions, were, with the consent and approval of said government, transferred to the International Company by the respective concessionaires, T. Garcia, A. Bulle, Louis Huller, et al. By these transfers the immense domains of these parties in Lower California were acquired by the corporation, duly incorporated under the laws of Connecticut, April 3, 1883, with the name of “The International Company of Mexico,” and with a capital of $500,000 actually paid in. To this company the Mexican government, on July 21, 1884, made a concession be-stowing ample powers; under which the company is now acting. Under the terms of the contract the company is bound to settle a given number of colonies within a determined period, and seventy per cent. of the settlers may be foreigners. The Mexican government is under no obligation to forward the enterprise by subsidies or privileges other than those already cited. Money expenditures must be met by the company or by the settlers. The company has been offering its lands to the public, either for cash or on time. The town of Ensenada is to be the base of operations, and the headquarters of the peninsular railways and of the steamship lines. One railway is projected from San Diego to Ensenada and San Quintin, and another to San Jose de Guatemala. A telegraph line has been built between San Diego and Ensenada, in which city extensive irrigation works have been begun, a fine hotel built, and other preparations made for the expected large immigration.

Owing to some errors of administration, the company was for a time placed in a false position, involving temporary difficulties. There has been made recently a change of management, by which the affairs of the company rest in the hands of experienced parties, backed by ample capital, who. are rapidly adjusting their concerns upon a safe and satisfactory plan. The company’s resident manager or agent is Captain B. Scott (of the Royal Engineers), Ensenada, Lower California.

There are in La Baja various Americans outside of those introduced by the companies, who have acquired individual possessions of land, which they find worthy of enthusiastic praise, and of whose future profits they have great expectations.

There is, moreover, another colonization project in contemplation, the colony to be established on land controlled by General Eli H. Murray, ex-Governor of Utah. This land, which is known as Palm valley, lies near the northern frontier line, inland, but a few miles from San Diego County.

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