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Pablo de la Portilla Journal

 Item — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-11

Scope and Contents

The journal entries, dated June 4 - June 22, 1824, describe the expedition led by Captain Pablo de la Portilla. The expedition left the Santa Barbara Presidio on June 4, 1824 for the Central Valley in the Tulare region to find and return neophyte Indians who had left Mission Santa Barbara earlier that year. The reason for their running away was the February 21 Chumash revolt at Mission La Purisima Concepcion after one of the neophytes was flogged by a soldier. (The Chumash revolt has been documented in many other sources. For an excellent account, see bibliography.)

Accompanying Portilla were Fathers Vicente de Sarria and Antonio Ripoll and 63 soldiers. On June 10, the Indians were found at a place called Mitochea. After several days of discussions and pardon by the government, the Indians agreed to go back home. The document is signed by Pablo de la Portilla and dated June 27, 1824.


  • 1824-06-27


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to qualified researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Director for Historic Resources. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Biographical / Historical

Pablo de la Portilla was captain of the Mazatlan cavalry from 1819 to 1838 and was stationed for most of those years in San Diego, becoming comandante of the San Diego presidio in 1831. In May 1824, Portilla was ordered by Governor Luis Antonio Argüello to lead a group of soldiers from the Matzatlan squadron along with soldiers from both presidios from Santa Barbara to the Tulares. In 1833 he was appointed administrator of Mission San Luis Rey after it became secularized. After serving briefly under Carlos Carrillo in his attempt to take the governorship from Governor Alvarado in 1837, Portilla returned to Sonora where he became captain of the post at Guaymas in 1846. He returned to California once more in 1849 with a group of gold seekers.


1 Folder

Language of Materials

Spanish; Castilian


Handwritten pages dated June 27, 1824 from a journal created by Captain Don Pablo de la Portilla, describing an expedition that left the Santa Barbara Presidio on June 4, 1824 to find and return neophyte Indians who had left Mission Santa Barbara earlier that year.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase at auction, 5/14/1987

Related Materials

Transcript and translation of the document by Sasha Honig (copy in Richard Whitehead Papers).


Cook, S.F. “Expeditions to the Interior of California, Central Valley, 1820-1840,” Anthropological Records 20(5), 1962. Additional translation of the journal.

Geiger, Maynard. Fray Antonio Ripoll’s Description of the Chumash Revolt at Santa Barbara in 1824. Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Mission Archive Library.

Physical Description

8 leaves bound

Pablo de la Portilla journal
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Presidio Research Center Repository

215 East Canon Perdido St.
Santa Barbara CA 93101 USA
(805) 961-5369