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San Francisco Bay 1800s.

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Aaron Arrowsmith. Carribbean.

In 1499, Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda arrived and claimed Arubafor for Queen Isabella. The Spanish found little use for the mostly barren island whose terrain was not suitable for plantations. Instead they transported the entire population to Hispaniola as slaves. However, most were allowed to return to Aruba where they were mostly left alone.

Over the years pirates often used the island as a shelter and a staging point for attacks against ships heading home to Europe.

Aruba changed when the Dutch took possession of the island in 1636. Spain gave up its claim to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao as the Eighty Years War ended. Other than a brief period under English rule during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800's, Arubahas remained under the Dutch flag.

The Capital City of Aruba is Oranjestad, situated on the west side of the island; not only does the name reflect the Dutch Colonial heritage of this city, so does the architecture. The buildings from 1600 to 1800 are of the Cape Dutch style and are gaily painted in pastel colors. It remind one very much of the kind of building found in Cape Town, which was also colonized by the Dutch during a similar time.

June 25, 1806, The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Miranda's Expedition.

In a Kingston paper of the 10th May, received by the ship Emeline,Captain Murdock, from Jamaica, we find the following interesting article.

Kingston, May 10, 1806
"Arrived his majesty's ship Echo, Captain Muddle, from Aruba.

Francisco de Miranda. Spanish Edition.

"The Echo sailed from Aruba with the expedition under General Don Francisco de Miranda, but parted from theLeander on the same evening in a squall, and fell to leeward of Curacao; she therefore returned to Aruba, and took in a cargo of mules for Kingston.

"A vessel arrived at Aruba on the 3rd inst. and brought intelligence that General Miranda had effected a landing at Porto Cavello, where the garrison, after discharging a few guns loaded with sand, opened the gates of the city, and received him; also that Caracas was ready to yield in the same way, to which province he had proceeded; and that the Leander after debarking the General, Staff and 150 soldiers, had returned on the 30th ult. to Bonaire.

"The force under the Duke of Kent, mentioned some time since as being expected in the West Indies, is reported to be destined against Caracas; it is supposed, with good reason, that Miranda's expedition was fitted out the auspices of Great Britain.

"The Leander we understand had 7000 stand of arms and 500 barrels of gun powder on board."

Gold was discovered in 1824, and Aruba's first industry was born; the name "Aruba" means red gold.

June 2, 1874, Independent, Helena, Montana, U.S.A.

The Island of Aruba.


Bushiribana Gold Mine Ruins in Aruba

In the 1400's and 1500's, adventurers traveled throughout the Caribbean in search of wealth and treasures. According to legend, one of these treasure islands was named "Oro Ruba," which means "red gold." In 1824, gold was finally discovered in Aruba, and eventually, the industry produced more than three million pounds of gold.

Before long the gold mines dried up and operations ceased in 1916 after 3 million pounds of gold ore had been taken from the Bushirinbana Gold Mines.

This little island bids fair to become quite famous for its gold product; mining operations having already been commenced there on a large scale. The island is situated just off the northwest coast of Venezuela, in lat 12 deg. 40 min N. and long 70 deg. 5 min. W. from Greenwich. It is about 20 miles in length and from five to seven miles in width. Syenite is its prevailing rock. Gianitc, greenstone and slates (borate and talcose) occur to some extent. A belt of limestone (coral) from five hundred feet to a mile in width surrounds this island. The surface of the island is mountainous or hilly, the greatest elevation being 600 feet. Aruba is sparsely wooded. The chief articles of export are aloes and peanuts. A species of corn called by the natives mice, much resembling broom corn, is grown for food. The climate is uniform, thermometer in the shade or at night time never falling below 78 degrees or rising above 92 degrees Fah. The trade winds blow from 15 to 20 miles an hour for nearly ten months in the year. Two hundred and upwards gold bearing quartz veins have been discovered on the island. These veins are well defined, some of them quite large. One is 23 feet in width. They prospect exceedingly well gold being found by panning nearly every time.

The mineral resources of Aruba have been conceded for a term of 35 years to the Aruba Island Gold Mining Company (Limited), the stock of which is owned in London and New York. The company have erected a California 20-stamp mill to run by six Empire windmills their wind-wheels being 35 feet in diameter each. Salt water is used for milling purposes. There is as yet but two stamps turning, which crush about 20 tons of rock per day the rock thus far has paid $20 per ton.

Prior to the concession of the mines to the company, some veins were worked by the natives with highly gratifying success. They treated none of the rock in which gold could not be seen by the unaided eye. The rock was broken to the size of wheat grains, then placed on a flat rock and mulled by hand, with a stone weighing thirty pounds or thereabout. The pulp was then washed in a calabash shell, (sort of a gourd shell). The amount of gold thus taken out was estimated to be nearly a million of dollars. There are about 5,000 inhabitants on the island. These consist of, say 200 whites of Dutch origin, 500 negroes, formerly slaves, (slavery was abolished about ten years ago), 500 Indians, and the balance of a mixture of various shades of color.

The standard wages are thirty cents a day without board. The inhabitants are a kindly disposed and docile people. We have gathered the above facts from a conversation with, and from the written reports presented to the company by Mr. P. M. Randall, a mining engineer, formerly of this city, but now of New York, and on a visit to San Francisco.

S. F. Engineering and Mining Journal.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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