US San Juan - History

US San Juan - History

USS San Juan CL-54

San Juan II
(CL-54: dp. 6,000; 1. 541'6"; b. 53'2"; dr. 20'10"; s. 31.8 k.; cpl. 820; a. 16 5", 16 1.1", 8 20mm., 8 21"tt., 2 act., 6 dcp.; cl Atlanta)

The second San Juan (CL-54) was laid down on 15 May 1940 by the Bethlehem Steel Co. (Fore River), Quincy, Mass., launched on 6 September 1941; sponsored by Mrs. Margarita Coll de Santori, and commissioned on 28 February 1942, Capt. James E. Maher in command.

After shakedown in the Atlantic, San Juan departed from Hampton Roads, Va., on 5 June 1942 as part of a carrier task group formed around Wasp (CV-7) and bound for the Pacific. The group got underway from San Diego on 30 June escorting a large group of troop transports destined for the Solomon Islands where the Navy was about to launch the first major American amphibious operation of the war.

Following rehearsal in the Fiji Islands, San Juan provided gunfire support for the landings at Tulagi on 7 August 1942. On the night of 8 and 9 August, she was patrolling the eastern approaches to the transport area between Tulagi and Guadalcanal when gun flashes indicated that fighting was taking place in the western approaches. The action turned out to be the Battle of Savo Island, in which an enemy cruiser force sank four Allied cruisers. San Juan retired from the forward area with the empty transports on the 9th and escorted them to Noumea.

She then rejoined Wasp and operated with the carrier force for several weeks between the New Hebrides and the Solomons, on guard against a Japanese carrier attack. However, when this strike materialized on 24 August, San Juan had withdrawn to refuel and thus missed the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Enterprise (CV-6) was hit in the battle, and San Juan, which had damaged a gun mount off Guadalcanal, escorted the carrier to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 10 September 1942.

On 5 October, the cruiser again headed for the South Pacific, stopping first at Funafuti in the Ellice Islands to deliver a deck load of 20 millimeter guns to the marines who had just landed there. She then carried out a raid through the Gilberts sinking two Japanese patrol vessels on 16 October. Disembarking Japanese prisoners at Espiritu Santo, the cruiser joined Enterprise on the 23d. Three days later, after patrol planes had made contact with enemy carrier forces the Battle of Santa Cruz Island was fought, in which Hornet (CV-8) was lost and Enterprise damaged while the Japanese suffered severe losses in aircraft and pilots. During the last dive-bombing attack on the formation one bomb passed through San Juan's stern, flooding several compartments and damaging, though not disabling, her rudder. She arrived at Noumea with the task force on 30 October and then spent 10 days at Sydney Australia, receiving permanent repairs.

San Juan joined carrier, Saratoga (CV-3), at Nandi Viti Levu Island, in the Fijis on 24 November. From December 1942 to June 1943 the cruiser was based at Noumea and operated in the Coral Sea, both with carrier groups and alone. At the end of June 1943, during the occupation of New Georgia, San. Juan's carrier group patrolled the Coral Sea for 26 days to prevent enemy interference. Late in July, the force made a quick stop at Noumea and moved to the New Hebrides, first to Havannah Harbor, Efate, and later to Espiritu Santo.

On 1 November, the Saratoga group including San Juan, neutralized airfields on Bougainville and Rabaul while Allied forces landed on Bougainville. In the middle of November, the task group acted as a covering force for the occupation of the Gilberts. San Juan then joined Essex (CV-9) on a raid on Kwajalein in the Marshalls, fighting off persistent torpedo plane attacks on 4 and 5 December. Detached on 6 December, the cruiser returned to the United States for overhaul at Mare Island.

San Juan rejoined Saratoga off Pearl Harbor on 19 January 1944 and the force covered the occupation of Eniwetok in February. San Juan next escorted carriers, Yorktown (CV-10) and Lexington (CV-16), in strikes on Palau, Yap, and Ulithi between 30 March and 1 April. On 7 April, the cruiser joined the new carrier Hornet (CV-12), which covered the landings at Hollandia in April and then struck at Truk on 29 and 30 April. After returning to bases in the Marshalls, the Hornet group began support of the Marianas campaign in early June, striking at Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima in the Bonins while American troops landed on Saipan. San Juan helped guard her group during the Battle of the Philippine Sea when American naval air power decisively defeated a Japanese counterattack to save the Marianas; and, in doing so, all but wiped out Japanese naval air strength.

After a short stop at Eniwetok, San Juan escorted carriers, Wasp (CV-18) and Franklin (CV-13), during July as they covered the capture of Guam with strikes on Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima. After a strike on Palau and Ulithi, San Juan was ordered to San Francisco for overhaul, and departed from Eniwetok on 4 August escorting Yorktown.

Following refresher training at San Diego and Pearl Harbor, San Juan joined Lexington's task group at Ulithi on 21 November. In early December, she screened the carriers in strikes on Formosa and Luzon in support of landings on Mindoro. During this operation, she was sent alone within scouting range of Japanese airfields in an effort to draw out Japanese aircraft by radio deception, but none rose to the bait On 18 and 19 December' the force was battered by a typhoon, and returned to Ulithi on Christmas Eve. Underway again six days later, the carriers covered the occupation of Luzon with strikes on Formosa Okinawa, and Luzon from 3 through 9 January 1945, and then from, 10 to 20 January, raided ports and shipping in the South China Sea, particularly Saigon Cam Ranh Bay, and Hong Kong. After replenishing at Ulithi, San Juan escorted carrier Hornet in air strikes on Tokyo during the Iwo Jima operation in February and then returned to Ulithi on 1 March to prepare for the Okinawa invasion.

San Juan rejoined Hornet on 22 March and, until 30 April, operated with her to the north and east of Nansei Shoto, interrupting her regular occupation of supporting air strikes and replenishment at sea with a bombardment on 21 April of Minami Daito Shima, a small island about 180 miles from Okinawa. Planes from San Juan's group helped sink the giant Japanese battleship, Yamato, on 7 April. After nine days at Ulithi, the Hornet group was back on station off Nansei Shoto for strikes on targets in Japan. San Juan arrived in Leyte Gulf on 13 June for repairs and then joined carrier, Bennington, on 1 July for more strikes on the Japanese home islands. She was at sea when the news of the Japanese capitulation was received on 15 August, and, on the 27th, after 59 days at sea, she joined the van forces for the triumphal entry of the 3d Fleet into Sagami Wan, just outside Tokyo Bay.

San Juan's embarked unit commander, Commodore Rodger W. Simpson, was assigned responsibility for freeing, caring for, and evacuating Allied prisoners of war in Japan. On 29 August, the ship entered Tokyo Bay and landed parties which liberated prisoners at camps at Omori and Ofuna and the Shanagawa hospital. The former prisoners were transferred to hospital ships, Benevolence and Rescue. After evacuating camps in the Tokyo Bay area, San Juan moved to the Nagoya-Hamamatsu area to the south and then to the Sendai-Kamaishi area to the north. On completing her liberation duty, the cruiser moored on 23 September next to the last Japanese battleship, Nagato, at Yokosuka shifting to an outer anchorage there on 28 October. She sailed for the United States on 14 November, disembarked Commodore Simpson at Pearl Harbor, and continued to the U.S. with homeward-bound troops, arriving on 29 November. Three days later, she sailed on "Magic Carpet" duty to Noumea and Tutuila, returning to San Pedro, Calif., on 9 January 1946 with a full load of troops. The cruiser arrived at Bremerton, Wash., for inactivation on 24 January 1946, and was decommissioned and placed in reserve there on 9 November 1946. San Juan was redesignated CLAA-54 on 28 February 1949. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 March 1959 and sold on 31 October 1961 to National Metals and Steel Co., Terminal Island, Calif., for scrapping.

San Juan received 13 battle stars for her World War II service.


US San Juan - History

Farming along the San Juan River bottom was a chancy proposition, for the treacherous river either flooded or went dry too often for dependable irrigation. Early cattleman like the brothers Al and Jim Scorup did better in the rough canyon country than did farmers. After a decade of fighting the elements, many settlers discovered that life was somewhat easier in the high country around the Abajo Mountains, and the towns of Blanding and Monticello replaced Bluff as the main focal points of San Juan County life.

Mining has been an inconsistent but exciting part of the economy of the county. A gold rush on the San Juan River in the early 1890s was short-lived, but miners in Glen Canyon of the Colorado River eked out a better living from deposits along the river bars. Oil and gas exploration around the turn of the century was productive, and one can still see wells operating along the San Juan River. The uranium boom of the early 1950s, however, brought large numbers of people into the area and saw the creation of a few large fortunes.

At present, most residents see tourism as their most promising economic resource, particularly since the creation of Lake Powell in the early 1960s. Rainbow Bridge is the most popular tourist attraction in the county, but the marinas at Hite, Hall's Crossing, and Piute Farms draw large numbers of visitors, and river trips through Cataract Canyon and on the San Juan River are also popular.


US San Juan - History

San Juan II
(CL-54: dp. 6,000 1. 541'6" b. 53'2" dr. 20'10" s. 31.8 k. cpl. 820 a. 16 5", 16 1.1", 8 20mm., 8 21"tt., 2 act., 6 dcp. cl Atlanta)

The second San Juan (CL-54) was laid down on 15 May 1940 by the Bethlehem Steel Co. (Fore River), Quincy, Mass., launched on 6 September 1941 sponsored by Mrs. Margarita Coll de Santori, and commissioned on 28 February 1942, Capt. James E. Maher in command.

After shakedown in the Atlantic, San Juan departed from Hampton Roads, Va., on 5 June 1942 as part of a carrier task group formed around Wasp (CV-7) and bound for the Pacific. The group got underway from San Diego on 30 June escorting a large group of troop transports destined for the Solomon Islands where the Navy was about to launch the first major American amphibious operation of the war.

Following rehearsal in the Fiji Islands, San Juan provided gunfire support for the landings at Tulagi on 7 August 1942. On the night of 8 and 9 August, she was patrolling the eastern approaches to the transport area between Tulagi and Guadalcanal when gun flashes indicated that fighting was taking place in the western approaches. The action turned out to be the Battle of Savo Island, in which an enemy cruiser force sank four Allied cruisers. San Juan retired from the forward area with the empty transports on the 9th and escorted them to Noumea.

She then rejoined Wasp and operated with the carrier force for several weeks between the New Hebrides and the Solomons, on guard against a Japanese carrier attack. However, when this strike materialized on 24 August, San Juan had withdrawn to refuel and thus missed the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Enterprise (CV-6) was hit in the battle, and San Juan, which had damaged a gun mount off Guadalcanal, escorted the carrier to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 10 September 1942.

On 5 October, the cruiser again headed for the South Pacific, stopping first at Funafuti in the Ellice Islands to deliver a deck load of 20 millimeter guns to the marines who had just landed there. She then carried out a raid through the Gilberts sinking two Japanese patrol vessels on 16 October. Disembarking Japanese prisoners at Espiritu Santo, the cruiser joined Enterprise on the 23d. Three days later, after patrol planes had made contact with enemy carrier forces the Battle of Santa Cruz Island was fought, in which Hornet (CV-8) was lost and Enterprise damaged while the Japanese suffered severe losses in aircraft and pilots. During the last dive-bombing attack on the formation one bomb passed through San Juan's stern, flooding several compartments and damaging, though not disabling, her rudder. She arrived at Noumea with the task force on 30 October and then spent 10 days at Sydney Australia, receiving permanent repairs.

San Juan joined carrier, Saratoga (CV-3), at Nandi Viti Levu Island, in the Fijis on 24 November. From December 1942 to June 1943 the cruiser was based at Noumea and operated in the Coral Sea, both with carrier groups and alone. At the end of June 1943, during the occupation of New Georgia, San. Juan's carrier group patrolled the Coral Sea for 26 days to prevent enemy interference. Late in July, the force made a quick stop at Noumea and moved to the New Hebrides, first to Havannah Harbor, Efate, and later to Espiritu Santo.

On 1 November, the Saratoga group including San Juan, neutralized airfields on Bougainville and Rabaul while Allied forces landed on Bougainville. In the middle of November, the task group acted as a covering force for the occupation of the Gilberts. San Juan then joined Essex (CV-9) on a raid on Kwajalein in the Marshalls, fighting off persistent torpedo plane attacks on 4 and 5 December. Detached on 6 December, the cruiser returned to the United States for overhaul at Mare Island.

San Juan rejoined Saratoga off Pearl Harbor on 19 January 1944 and the force covered the occupation of Eniwetok in February. San Juan next escorted carriers, Yorktown (CV-10) and Lexington (CV-16), in strikes on Palau, Yap, and Ulithi between 30 March and 1 April. On 7 April, the cruiser joined the new carrier Hornet (CV-12), which covered the landings at Hollandia in April and then struck at Truk on 29 and 30 April. After returning to bases in the Marshalls, the Hornet group began support of the Marianas campaign in early June, striking at Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima in the Bonins while American troops landed on Saipan. San Juan helped guard her group during the Battle of the Philippine Sea when American naval air power decisively defeated a Japanese counterattack to save the Marianas and, in doing so, all but wiped out Japanese naval air strength.

After a short stop at Eniwetok, San Juan escorted carriers, Wasp (CV-18) and Franklin (CV-13), during July as they covered the capture of Guam with strikes on Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima. After a strike on Palau and Ulithi, San Juan was ordered to San Francisco for overhaul, and departed from Eniwetok on 4 August escorting Yorktown.

Following refresher training at San Diego and Pearl Harbor, San Juan joined Lexington's task group at Ulithi on 21 November. In early December, she screened the carriers in strikes on Formosa and Luzon in support of landings on Mindoro. During this operation, she was sent alone within scouting range of Japanese airfields in an effort to draw out Japanese aircraft by radio deception, but none rose to the bait On 18 and 19 December' the force was battered by a typhoon, and returned to Ulithi on Christmas Eve. Underway again six days later, the carriers covered the occupation of Luzon with strikes on Formosa Okinawa, and Luzon from 3 through 9 January 1945, and then from, 10 to 20 January, raided ports and shipping in the South China Sea, particularly Saigon Cam Ranh Bay, and Hong Kong. After replenishing at Ulithi, San Juan escorted carrier Hornet in air strikes on Tokyo during the Iwo Jima operation in February and then returned to Ulithi on 1 March to prepare for the Okinawa invasion.

San Juan rejoined Hornet on 22 March and, until 30 April, operated with her to the north and east of Nansei Shoto, interrupting her regular occupation of supporting air strikes and replenishment at sea with a bombardment on 21 April of Minami Daito Shima, a small island about 180 miles from Okinawa. Planes from San Juan's group helped sink the giant Japanese battleship, Yamato, on 7 April. After nine days at Ulithi, the Hornet group was back on station off Nansei Shoto for strikes on targets in Japan. San Juan arrived in Leyte Gulf on 13 June for repairs and then joined carrier, Bennington, on 1 July for more strikes on the Japanese home islands. She was at sea when the news of the Japanese capitulation was received on 15 August, and, on the 27th, after 59 days at sea, she joined the van forces for the triumphal entry of the 3d Fleet into Sagami Wan, just outside Tokyo Bay.


San Juan River

For 5,000 years, archaic cultures occupied the area. By 500 B.C., early Ancestral Puebloans, the basket makers, began farming and weaving. By 700 A.D., they had became masons, linking homes together as Pueblos, a style that can still be seen today in New Mexico. Basket making gave way to ceramics, and a culture of pottery was born. By 900 A.D. civilizations were flourishing, and trade routes linked distant cultures. Skill sets were refined and art work became more intricate. By 1150, pueblos continued to grow, but the Puebloans had moved their homes to alcoves and under cliffs. The River House Ruin, easily found from the San Juan River, is from this period.

America’s pioneers moved through the area: Mormon settlers, gold rushers and oil boomers. They brought their hunt for natural resources with them, the by-products of which can be seen along the banks.

Ecology

As the river creates a winding oasis of life, the biodiversity is strong, from the giant catfish of local lore to the colorful songbirds that call the canyon home, the spiny lizards that hunt waiting in the bushes to the collared lizard that dashes across the sand on its hind legs. On the cliffs are the desert bighorn sheep that can jump 20-foot gaps and climb incredibly steep rock faces.


San Juan Boundary Dispute

The American army officer knew that the odds against him were overwhelming. The three warships set at anchor in the bay below his camp mounted a total of 61 guns and carried nearly a thousand men, including a contingent of Royal Marines. Manned by just 66 soldiers, his own recently occupied position was fortified by earthworks and protected only by a single six-pounder gun and two mountain howitzers. The orders that Captain George Edward Pickett of the U.S. Army had received from his commanding general had been clear, however, and he was determined to hold his position.

Pickett had served with valor in the Mexican War right after his graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and he had subsequently seen duty at several frontier posts. Now, on August 3, 1859, the man whose name would be forever linked to the most famous of all Civil War charges was the American commander on the scene as the United States and Great Britain again stood on the brink of war. The issue dividing the two countries this time was the ownership of the often fog-shrouded San Juan Islands that dot the strait between what is today the state of Washington and British Columbia’s Vancouver Island.*

The San Juan Islands constituted the last bit of disputed territory along the border between the United States and the British colonies to the north–today’s Canada. An 1818 treaty had extended the international border westward along the forty-ninth parallel, from Lake of the Woods, at what is today the far western tip of the province of Ontario, as far as the Rocky Mountains. Beyond that lay a vast, little-explored region between Spanish California to the south and Russian Alaska to the north, which was vaguely referred to as the ‘Oregon Country.’

By failing to agree on the partitioning of the territory, the two countries had left it open to exploration and occupation by nationals of both. But on June 15, 1846, after many years of conflicting claims, the United States and Great Britain signed the Oregon Treaty, establishing the boundary at the forty-ninth parallel west from the Rocky Mountains ‘to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver’s Island and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel and of Fuca’s Straits to the Pacific Ocean.’

Remaining to be resolved was the exact location of the boundary through that channel, in the middle of which lay the San Juan Islands. The Haro Strait to their west separated the islands from Vancouver’s Island it was this channel that the Americans claimed as the boundary. For its part, Britain insisted that the international boundary ran down the eastern, Rosario Strait, and that the San Juan Islands therefore belonged to the Crown.

Because its territory north of the forty-ninth parallel and west of the Rockies had not yet attracted an abundance of permanent settlers, the British government in 1849 leased all of Vancouver’s Island to the Hudson’s Bay Company for seven shillings a year, with the proviso that the company take over efforts at colonization. In 1851, James Douglas, formerly chief factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company on Vancouver’s Island, was appointed governor of that colony.

By the end of 1853, the British presence on the 24-mile-long and 8-mile-wide San Juan Island itself included a Hudson’s Bay Company’s fishing station and Bellevue Farm, a 4,500-head sheep ranch. The following year, a United States customs collector, Isaac N. Ebey, landed on San Juan Island with his deputy, Henry Webber, and attempted to collect duties from the farm manager, who swore out a warrant for the deputy’s arrest for trespassing on British soil. Nothing further came of this incident, and the dispute was allowed to simmer.

In March 1855, American sheriff Ellis Barnes of Whatcom County, the northernmost county in Washington Territory,* supported by a party of ten armed men, rounded up 35 sheep belonging to the Hudson’s Bay Company, intending to sell them as payment for back taxes. This action generated protests from Governor Douglas to his counterpart, Governor Isaac I. Stevens of Washington, and to the British Colonial Office and led to the submission of a claim for $15,000 in damages by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

* The mainland west of the Rocky Mountains, from the forty-ninth parallel to Alaska, was known as New Caledonia until 1858, when it became the colony of British Columbia. Vancouver Island–until 1861 known as ‘Vancouver’s Island’–was a separate British colony. The two former colonies together joined the Canadian confederation as the province of British Columbia in 1871.

The situation created enough concern in Washington, D.C., that Secretary of State William L. Marcy wrote to Governor Stevens to recommend that the officials of the Washington Territory do nothing that might provoke conflict in the area. He further urged that neither the Americans nor the British should attempt to exercise exclusive sovereign rights until the ownership of the islands could be settled. Marcy requested that the British Colonial Office send a similar message to Governor Douglas, which they did.

It appeared that officials in the seats of government in London and Washington, D.C., believed that the dispute over the ownership of the islands would be decided in due course. A Joint Boundary Commission, with Archibald Campbell as the head of the American delegation and Royal Navy Captain James C. Prevost leading the British, met in the disputed area several times during 1857 but settled nothing.

The matter rested uneasily through both the Indian uprising that threatened the Washington Territory in the mid- 1850s and the Fraser River gold rush of 1857-58 in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s territory of New Caledonia. The uprising brought a greatly increased American military presence to the Pacific Northwest, and the gold rush led Britain to establish New Caledonia as a formal colony, known as British Columbia, with James Douglas–already governor of Vancouver’s Island–as its governor.

By 1859, 18 Americans, unsuccessful in the gold fields of the Fraser River valley, had settled on San Juan Island. In June of that year, one of them, Lyman A. Cutlar, shot a pig that he saw rooting in his garden. Realizing that the animal was from the Hudson’s Bay Company farm, Cutlar offered to compensate the farm manager. But when informed that the pig was a prize breeder with a value of $100, Cutlar refused to pay. His stance occasioned a visit by A. G. Dallas, president of the board of the Hudson’s Bay Company and son-in-law of Governor Douglas, and several other gentlemen to Cutlar’s farm to inform him that he was trespassing on British soil and would be subject to arrest by British authorities if he did not pay what was owed.

This already volatile situation was exacerbated by the arrival on the scene of Brigadier General William Selby Harney, the recently appointed commander of the United States’ Military Department of Oregon. The 58-year-old Harney was well known in the army for his bravery in battle, his foul temper and vividly vulgar tongue, his frequent insubordination, and his disposition to overlook or avoid both the military chain of command and the prerogatives of other government departments in order to achieve what he considered necessary ends.

Based at Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory, General Harney sailed to San Juan Island in July 1859 aboard the USS Massachusetts. Upon his arrival, he met some of the American residents of the island and learned about Indian attacks on the settlement and the incident with the pig, as well as the American islanders’ fear and dislike of the British. Harney immediately pledged his support and suggested that they draft a petition–for which he provided the wording–requesting that he station a military force on the island.

Without consulting either civil territorial authorities or his superiors in the War Department, Harney then ordered Captain Pickett and Company D of the Ninth Infantry to proceed from Fort Bellingham on the mainland to San Juan Island and establish a post, ostensibly to protect the inhabitants from hostile Indians and ‘to resist all attempts at interference by the British authorities residing at Vancouver’s Island, by intimidation or force….’ Although he issued the order on July 11, Harney did not send a report of his action to the War Department in Washington, D.C., until July 19 that report did not arrive there until September.

When James Douglas heard of Harney’s action, he issued orders to Captain Geoffrey Phipps Hornby of the British man-of-war Tribune, which had been dispatched from Hong Kong to the Pacific coast of North America, to land a force of Royal Marines on the island. Although the governor was fully within his rights to issue these orders, he was approached on July 29 by British naval officers who advised him against this course of action because it was contrary to Royal Navy policy in the Pacific. Douglas then dispatched a second set of orders to Hornby, countermanding his original instructions. Nonetheless, Hornby decided to invite Pickett to parlay with him aboard the Tribune on August 3. The American officer suggested that they meet in the American camp instead.

Hornby acquiesced and came ashore accompanied by Captains James Prevost and G. H. Richards, the two British boundary commissioners. The meeting, held in Pickett’s tent, was polite, but not cordial. Hornby opened by producing an extract of Secretary of State Marcy’s communication of four years earlier, and Pickett countered by citing the age of the letter.

When Hornby asked on what terms Pickett had occupied the island, the American captain declared that he had done so on orders from the general commanding the territory in order to protect the lives of American citizens. Pickett added that he believed General Harney was acting under orders of the government in Washington. But such was not the case news of General Harney’s orders to Pickett would not even reach the capital for more than a month.

Captain Hornby then handed Pickett a letter dated the previous day. It was a copy of a formal protest that Governor Douglas of British Columbia had filed with General Harney. Pickett responded that, as an officer in the United States Army, he would follow his general’s orders, not those of a British governor.

His patience nearly exhausted, Hornby stated that, as the United States had occupied a disputed island with a military force, it was incumbent on Britain to take similar action. ‘I am under orders from my government,’ Pickett answered. ‘I cannot allow any joint occupation of the island before I communicate with, and hear from, General Harney.’

With that, the meeting concluded, and Pickett requested that Hornby compose a letter covering the main points of their conversation, which the British naval officer agreed to do. When the letter arrived that afternoon, Pickett wrote a careful acknowledgment, reiterating that he was on the island at the orders of his government and urging that no further action be taken until he had the opportunity to communicate with General Harney. In response to a statement in Hornby’s letter that put the blame for any future confrontation on the Americans, Pickett artfully replied: ‘Should you see fit to act otherwise, you will then be the person who will bring on a most unfortunate and disastrous difficulty, and not the United States’ officials.’

Remaining with his ship in the harbor for several more weeks, Captain Hornby made no attempt to land a party of marines. On his return to Vancouver’s Island, he endured the wrath of Governor Douglas, whose temper worsened when Rear Admiral Robert L. Baynes, commander of British naval forces in the Pacific, arrived and informed the impatient and bellicose civilian functionary that he had no intention of precipitating a war with the United States in the absence of express instructions from the British Admiralty and the government in London. Baynes suggested that both he and the governor write to their superiors and await their responses before proceeding further. He did agree, however, to keep at least one ship of war stationed in the bay at San Juan Island below the American camp until further orders had been received.

Pickett’s report of his encounter with the commander of the Tribune pleased General Harney, who was, however, concerned by the captain’s assessment that his forces were too weak to repel any full-scale attack by the British. Harney, therefore, dispatched reinforcements to San Juan Island, over the continued protests of Governor Douglas, until the American garrison there numbered 461. By the end of August, the British contingent assigned to the San Juan Islands included five warships, mounting 167 guns and carrying complements of more than two thousand, including Royal Marines and engineers.

When President James Buchanan learned on September 3, 1859, of the confrontation with the British through newspapers in the American capital, he was shocked. After receiving General Harney’s July 19 report on that same day, the president took swift action. He directed the acting secretary of war, W. R. Drinkard, to send an urgent message to General Harney stating that ‘the President was not prepared to learn that you had ordered military possession to be taken of the Island of San Juan or Bellevue. Although he believes the Straits of Haro to be the true boundary between Great Britain and the United States, under the Treaty of June 15, 1846, . . . he had not anticipated that so decided a step would have been resorted to without instructions.’ Secretary of State Lewis Cass assured the British ambassador, Lord Lyons, that General Harney was not acting on the instructions of his government, and Buchanan dispatched the general in chief of the army, 73-year-old Winfield Scott, to the Pacific Northwest to order Harney to desist.

In spite of his poor health, Scott left New York City on September 20 on the steamer Star of the West for the long sea voyage to the west coast, arriving in San Francisco on October 17. Scott immediately continued on to Fort Vancouver, where he met with General Harney on October 21 and with Captain Pickett the following day. Scott concluded from these meetings that both men were quite proud of their actions, and he set about at once to defuse the situation they had created.

In negotiating with Governor Douglas, Scott resurrected the offer of joint military occupation of San Juan Island, which Britain’s Captain Hornby had made to Captain Pickett at their meeting in August. Scott also unilaterally reduced the American garrison stationed there to a single company under the command of Captain Lewis C. Hunt. Governor Douglas accepted the arrangement, on the condition that Pickett not be reinstated at that post. This being agreed to, General Scott thought the matter resolved and began to plan his return to the District of Columbia. Before leaving, however, he attempted to persuade General Harney to relinquish his command in Oregon and transfer to the Department of the West, whose headquarters was in St. Louis, but the troublesome general flatly refused.

Returning to the nation’s capital, General Scott reported on the matter to Secretary of War John B. Floyd and expressed grave doubts about the wisdom of leaving Harney in command. ‘The highest obligation of my station,’ Scott stated, ‘compels me to suggest a doubt whether it be safe in respect to our foreign relations, or just to the gallant officers and men of the Oregon Department, to leave them longer, at so great a distance, subject to the ignorance, passion, and caprice, of the present headquarters of that Department.’

Even after the joint-occupation agreement was reached, the British naval personnel on the scene continued to act with remarkable restraint. When Governor Douglas told Admiral Baynes that he had received word from the British government that such an occupation should now take place, he demanded that marines be landed on the island immediately. But Baynes resisted, preferring to wait until clear instructions had been received from the Admiralty. Those orders arrived in March of the following year, and shortly afterward, a Royal Marine detachment of 84 men, under the command of Captain George Bazalgette, landed and set up camp on the opposite end of the island from the American troops.

On April 10, 1860, General Harney–furious that he had not been advised about the joint-occupation agreement and that his man, Pickett, had been replaced as commander on the island–committed a final act of insubordination. In spite of the agreement reached by General Scott and the British, and in violation of Scott’s direct orders, Harney sent Company D under Captain Pickett back to San Juan Island to relieve Captain Hunt’s Fourth Infantry company.

When this news–and the flurry of protests from the British government that it caused–reached Washington, reaction was swift and coordinated. The departments of state and war being of one mind, Secretary of State Cass reported to the president that, on June 8, the adjutant general sent a dispatch to Harney, ordering him to turn over command to the officer next in rank and to ‘. . . repair without delay to Washington City, and report in person to the Secretaries of State and War.’

Harney avoided court-martial but received a reprimand from Secretary of War Floyd for his actions ‘. . . which might have been attended by disastrous consequences.’ Given command of the Department of the West, he traveled to St. Louis, but after reporting difficulties with his officers, he was recalled from that post in May 1861. He held no further command and was retired in 1863.

General Harney’s departure from the Northwest mollified the British, who withdrew their objection to Captain Pickett commanding on San Juan Island. Pickett, a Virginian, left that post on June 25, 1861, and soon after, he resigned his commission and traveled to Richmond, where he was appointed a colonel in the army being formed by the Confederate States of America.

For the next decade, the boundary location for the still jointly occupied San Juan Islands remained in dispute. Finally, the United States and Great Britain submitted the matter to Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany for arbitration. On October 21, 1872, he ruled that the boundary should be drawn through the Haro Strait, which made the San Juan Islands part of the United States. Britain withdrew its garrison of Royal Marines a month later.

Peaceful negotiations won out, ending a confrontation that could have escalated into war, a conflict that, as Admiral Baynes remarked, would have involved ‘two great nations in a war over a squabble about a pig.’ *

* The United States divided the Oregon Territory in 1853. The northern portion became known as the Washington Territory. The San Juan Islands were considered by the U.S. to be part of that territory’s Whatcom County. The southern section of the former Oregon Territory was admitted into the Union as the state of Oregon in 1859.

This article was written by Michael D. Haydock and originally published in the February 2001 issue of American History Magazine.

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‘We Just Changed History’: Cheers and Tears in San Juan

SAN JUAN, P.R. — All day, the drums and the chants had blared through the streets outside La Fortaleza, the governor’s residence in San Juan, the Puerto Rican capital.

But just before midnight on Wednesday, a silence fell over the crowd.

For nearly seven hours, Puerto Ricans had gathered to protest their embattled governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló, in hopes that days of demonstrations and political unrest would culminate with his resignation.

But as the night dragged on, many had begun to worry their activism would not be rewarded. Some believed he might not resign, perhaps plunging the country into further political divisions. And how would the crowds react if he did not step aside? A hot night. Mounds of empty beer cans. Weeks, months, years of pent-up energy.

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When the governor finally began to speak, in a statement delivered on Facebook, hundreds of protesters huddled together to listen to their phones.

Some loud cursing, as he spoke at length about his accomplishments as governor.

Then, the sound of exultation pierced through the crowd: “RENUNCIÓ!”

A flurry of Puerto Rican flags flew into the air, strangers clasped arms and friends began jumping in circles, singing “¡Oé! ¡Oé! ¡Oé!” Cars from all over the city began to honk and, as people danced, fireworks erupted overhead.

Some cried, the emotion of recent days overcoming them as they realized something historic had happened. Their dissent mattered.

“We just changed history in Puerto Rico,” said Andrea Fanduiz, 25, a pharmacy technician who was among those celebrating. “Ricky the pig is gone,” she added, referring to the governor, “and whoever comes next had better listen to the streets.”

Throughout the night, the celebrations took on the feel of a music festival in parts of the old city, as some motorists blasted music from their car stereos. Some street corners resembled spontaneous dance parties as protesters celebrated the shift in Puerto Rico’s politics.

Over several days, the walls of Calle Fortaleza, the street leading to the governor’s residence, had gradually grown more and more covered with political graffiti that read like a wish list, with phrases like “Resign now!” and others too impolite to print.

But what would happen in the coming days remained unclear. Mr. Rosselló said his resignation would not take effect until Aug. 2, and many have already said his possible successor, Wanda Vázquez, is not a suitable replacement.

During a protest the night before the governor’s announcement, Alejandro Santiago Calderón, 30, had wondered if resignation would be enough. Would it be enough to convince him that the island was on a better path?

“This has to change, and it has to change from the top all the way to the bottom,” he said.


US San Juan - History

National Park Service job opportunities on San Juan Island are announced on USAJobs. Applicants must submit a specific application, within a specific time frame, for every position available. There is not a "generic" application for positions, nor is there a "standing file" for positions. Only United States citizens may be considered for government positions with the NPS. All applicants receive consideration without regard to race, color, sex, religion, age, or national origin. Generally, employees must be 18 years of age.

Volunteer

San Juan Island NHP participates in the National Park Service's Volunteers in Parks (VIP) program. Each year more than 85,000 volunteers donate more than 3,000,000 hours of service in the US national parks. The program uses voluntary help in a way that is mutually beneficial to the National Park Service and the volunteer. Volunteer applications can be submitted directly to the park.

Youth Conservation Corps

The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is a summer employment program for people ages 15 through 18. Youth Conservation Corps, through work projects done in the park, provides enrollees with a better understanding of their environment and management of parks. Applications for 2018 YCC are being accepted until May 4, e-mail us for an application.

Deliver completed application by May 4, to:
San Juan Island NHP Headquarters
Attn: Julie Cowen
650 Mullis St. Suite 100
Friday Harbor, WA 98250


US History

The Spanish American War was fought between the United States and Spain in 1898. The war was fought largely over the independence of Cuba. Major battles took place in the Spanish colonies of Cuba and the Philippines. The war began on April 25, 1898 when the United States declared war on Spain. The fighting ended with a U.S. victory three and a half months later on August 12, 1898.


Charge of the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill
by Frederic Remington

Leading Up to the War

Cuban revolutionaries had been fighting for the independence of Cuba for many years. They first fought the Ten Year's War between 1868 and 1878. In 1895, Cuban rebels rose up again under the leadership of Jose Marti. Many Americans supported the cause of the Cuban rebels and wanted the United States to intervene.

Sinking of the Battleship Maine

When conditions in Cuba worsened in 1898, President William McKinley sent the U.S. battleship Maine to Cuba to help protect American citizens and interests in Cuba. On February 15, 1898, a huge explosion caused the Maine to sink in Havana Harbor. Although no one was sure exactly what caused the explosion, many Americans blamed Spain. They wanted to go to war.

President McKinley resisted going to war for a few months, but eventually public pressure to act became too great. On April 25, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain and the Spanish American War had begun.

The first action of the United States was to attack Spanish battleships in the Philippines to prevent them from going to Cuba. On May 1, 1898, the Battle of Manila Bay occurred. The U.S. navy led by Commodore George Dewey soundly defeated the Spanish navy and took control of the Philippines.

The United States needed to get soldiers to help fight in the war. One group of volunteers included cowboys, ranchers, and outdoorsmen. They earned the nickname the "Rough Riders" and were led by Theodore Roosevelt, future president of the United States.


Teddy Roosevelt
Photo by Unknown

US San Juan - History

San Juan County is a part of the Colorado Plateau, a geologic region formed mostly of sandstone and limestone that includes two-thirds of the state of Utah as well as parts of Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Mighty rivers like the Colorado and the San Juan have carved deep canyons and unusual erosional forms through the colorful sedimentary rock, and many people find the area to be spectacularly beautiful on a grand scale.

In prehistoric times, the San Juan country was the home of the Anasazi, whose cliff houses, pictographs, and petroglyphs have baffled and fascinated visitors to the country since their disappearance shortly after A.D. 1300. The Basketmakers, the earliest phase of the Anasazi Culture, were first identified and studied in Grand Gulch. The Navajo Indians, who were perhaps a cause of the disappearance of the Anasazi, now occupy a large part of San Juan County--from the San Juan River to the Arizona border.

Although there were a few white residents along the San Juan River before 1879, the Mormon scouts who planned the famous Hole-in-the-Rock Trail that year began the full-scale settlement of San Juan County. The 230 pioneers who left Escalante in the fall of that year arrived at the present site of Bluff on 6 April 1880.

Farming along the San Juan River bottom was a chancy proposition, for the treacherous river either flooded or went dry too often for dependable irrigation. Early cattleman like the brothers Al and Jim Scorup did better in the rough canyon country than did farmers. After a decade of fighting the elements, many settlers discovered that life was somewhat easier in the high country around the Abajo Mountains, and the towns of Blanding and Monticello replaced Bluff as the main focal points of San Juan County life.

Mining has been an inconsistent but exciting part of the economy of the county. A gold rush on the San Juan River in the early 1890s was short-lived, but miners in Glen Canyon of the Colorado River eked out a better living from deposits along the river bars. Oil and gas exploration around the turn of the century was productive, and one can still see wells operating along the San Juan River. The uranium boom of the early 1950s, however, brought large numbers of people into the area and saw the creation of a few large fortunes.

At present, most residents see tourism as their most promising economic resource, particularly since the creation of Lake Powell in the early 1960s. Rainbow Bridge is the most popular tourist attraction in the county, but the marinas at Hite, Hall's Crossing, and Piute Farms draw large numbers of visitors, and river trips through Cataract Canyon and on the San Juan River are also popular.


Puerto Rico - History and Heritage

Christopher Columbus arrived at Puerto Rico in 1493. He originally called the island San Juan Bautista, but thanks to the gold in the river, it was soon known as Puerto Rico, or "rich port" and the capital city took the name San Juan. Soon, Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony on its way to becoming an important military outpost.

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Puerto Rico began to produce cattle, sugar cane, coffee and tobacco, which led to the importation of slaves from Africa. As a result, Puerto Rican bloodlines and culture evolved through a mixing of the Spanish, African, and indigenous Taíno and Carib Indian races that shared the island. Today, many Puerto Rican towns retain their Taíno names, such as Utuado, Mayagüez and Caguas.

Over the years numerous unsuccessful attempts were made by the French, Dutch, and English to conquer the island. To guard against these incursions, the Spanish constructed the many forts and ramparts still found on the island. Puerto Rico remained an overseas province of Spain until the Spanish-American war, when U.S. forces invaded the island with a landing at Guánica. Under the Treaty of Paris of 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico (along with Cuba, the Philippines and Guam) to the U.S.

As a result, the turn of the century saw Puerto Rico under United States sovereignty. At that time, Puerto Rico's economy relied on its sugar crop, but by the middle of the century, an ambitious industrialization effort, called Operation Bootstrap, was underway. Cheap labor and attractive tax laws attracted American companies, and soon the Puerto Rican economy was firmly grounded in manufacturing and tourism. Today, Puerto Rico is a leading tourist destination and manufacturing center the island produces high-tech equipment and many top-selling American pharmaceuticals.


San Juan County, Colorado

San Juan County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 699, [1] making it the least populous county in Colorado. The county seat and the only incorporated municipality in the county is Silverton. [2] The county name is the Spanish language name for "Saint John", the name Spanish explorers gave to a river and the mountain range in the area. With a mean elevation of 11,240 feet (3426 meters), San Juan County is the highest county in the United States.


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