Imagens das páginas

ange originated in Southern Asia, and in that portion of the East Indies lying beyond the Ganges. Up to and including the earlier centuries of the Empire of the Caesars, these fruits had not been brought from those climates where they were indigenous. They grew without culture in the native groves, the hand of man not having yet appropriated them as ornaments for his garden. The fruit was even unknown to the Romans, a people who in the age of their triumph sought out every luxury which the world of their conquest afforded. Pliny, in the account of his Indian voyage, makes no mention of either orange or citron. Other writers on this region, such as Nearchus, one of Alexander's captains, and Arianus and Iambolus are equally silent on the subject of citrus fruits.

To the Arabs who, under the leadership of Mohammed, extended their conquests into Asia and Africa much faster than any people before them, belongs the credit of first disseminating the orange. They acclimatized the trees in Syria, Africa, Spain and some European islands. Occupying 'a position advantageous and favorable to the commercial spirit and love of luxury which succeeded the fury of conquest, the Arabs naturally learned of and appreciated many exotic plants peculiar to the regions they had conquered or to adjoining countries. They were fond of medicine and agriculture, in which they especially excelled. To them we owe the knowledge of many plants, perfumes and Oriental aromatics, such as musk, nutmegs, mace and cloves. In their medicines we for the first time hear of the chemical change known as distillation, which appears to have originated in the desire to steal from nature the perfumes of flowers and aroma of fruits. It is certain that the orange was known to their physicians from the commencement of the fourth century of the Hegira. The Damascene has given iu his Antidotary a recipe for making oil of oranges and their seeds (oleum de citrangala et oleum de citrangulorum seminibus). Another Arabian physician, Avicenna, employed the juice of the bigarade (bitter orange) in a medicinal syrup which he called alkedere. The orange was from the first valued not

alone for the beauty of its foliage and quality of its fruit and for its medicinal uses, but also for the aroma of its flowers, of which essences were made.

Abd-Allatif, an Arabian writer of the twelfth century of our era, says: "The round citron (otrodj modawar) was brought from India since the year 3O0of the Hegira (A. D. 922). It was first sowed in Oman (part of Arabia), from thence carried to Irok (part of old Persia) and Syria, becoming very common in the houses of Tarsus and other frontier cities of Syria, at Antioch, upon the coasts of Syria, in Palestine and in Egypt. One knew it not before, but it lost much of its sweet odor and fine color which it had in India, because it had not the same climate, soil and all that which is peculiar to that country." The lemon appeared perhaps a little later in these different countries, for we see no mention of it either in the Damascene or in Avicenna, but its description meets the eye in works of Arabian writers of the twelfth century, especially Ebn Beitar, who gave it an article in his dictionary of simple remedies.

The Arabs invaded Sicily about the beginning of the ninth century, and planted the orange tree in that island. The citrine apples of Leon d'Ostia date from 1002, and were regarded as objects rare and precious enough to be offered as gifts to princes. Nicolas Specialis, in his history of Sicily, written in the fourteenth century, recounting the devastation by the army of the Duke of Calabria, in 1383, in the vicinity of Palermo, says that it did not spare even the trees of sour apples (pommes acides), called by the people arangi, which had adorned, since old time, the royal palace of Cubba.

After the Arabians, the Crusaders were the next agency for the extension of citrus culture. They entered Asia Minor as conquerors, and thence spread themselves as traders into all parts of Asia. They were not mere soldiers, but brave men drawn from their families by religious enthusiasm, and who, in consequence, would hold fast to their country and their homes. They could not see without coveting these charming trees which embellish the vicinity of Jerusalem, with whose exquisite fruits nature had favored the climates of Asia.

It was at this time that Europe enriched its orchards by many of these trees, and that the French* princes carried into their country the damson, the St. Catharine (a pear), the apricot from Alexandria, and other species indigenous to those regions. Sicilians, Genoese and Provencals transported to Palermo, St. Remo and Hyeres lemon and orange trees. Jaques de Vitry, a historian of the thirteenth century, who had been in Palestine with the Crusaders, and who accordingly speaks ex cathedra, has this to say of the subject: "Besides many trees cultiyated in Italy, Genoa, France and other parts of Europe, we find here (in Palestine) species peculiar to the country, and of which some are sterile and others bear fruit. Here are trees bearing very beautiful apples—the color of citron—upon which is distictly seen the mark of a man's tooth. This has given them the common name of pomme d'Adam (Adam's apple); others produced sour fruit, of a disagreeable taste, which are called limons. Their juice is used for seasoning food, because it is cool, pricks the palate, and provokes appetite. * * * There is a species of cedar called cedre maritime, whose plant is small but productive, giving very fine fruits as large as a man's head. Some call them citrons, or pommes citrons. These fruits are formed of a triple substance, and have three different tastes. The first is warm, the second is temperate, the last is cold. Some say that this is the fruit of which God commanded in Leviticus: 'Take you the first day of the year the fruit of the finest tree.' We see in this country another species of citrine apples, borne by small trees, and of which the cool part is less of a disagreeable and acid taste; these the natives call orenges."

From Naples and Sicily the orange and lemon trees must have been carried into the Roman States, into Sardinia and Corsica and to Malta. The islands of the Archipelago first received them, because, belonging in great part to the Genoese and Venetians, it is probable they were the intermediate points whence the Crusaders of Genoa and "Venice transported the plants to their homes.

The use of the lemon as seasoning for food, brought from Palestine to Liguria, to Provence and to Sicily, penetrated to the interior of Italy and France. The taste for confections was propagated in Europe with the introduction of sugar, and this delicate food became at once a necessary article to men in easy circumstances, and a luxury upon all tables. It was above all as confections that the Agrumi (lemons) entered into commerce, and we see by the records of Savona that they were sent into cold parts of Italy, where people were very greedy for them.

After haying cultivated these species for the use made of their fruits, they soon cultivated them as ornaments for the garden. The monks began to fill with these trees the courts of their monasteries, in climates suited to their continual growth, and soon one found no convent not surrounded by them. Indeed, the courts and gardens of these houses show us now trees of great age, and it is said that the old tree, of which we now see a register in the court of the convent of St. Sabina at Rome, was planted by St. Dominick about the year 1200. This fact has no other foundation than tradition, but this tradition, preserved for many centuries, not only among the monks of the convent, but also among the clergy of Rome, is reported by Augustin Gallo, who, in 1559, speaks of this orange as a tree existing since time immemorial. If we refuse to credit its planting to St. Dominick, we must at least refer it to a period soon after—that is, to the end of the thirteenth century, at the latest.

In their spread among the most civilized peoples of the earth the orange and lemon finally penetrated into the colder latitudes, and perhaps we owe to the desire of enjoying their flowers and fruit the invention of hot-houses, afterwards called in France orangeries. This agricultural luxury was unknown in Europe before the introduction of the citron tree. In the fourteenth century people had begun to erect buildings designed to create for exotic plants an artificial climate. But at the beginning of the fifteenth century orangeries passed from king's gardens to those of the people, chiefly in countries where they were not compelled to heat them by fire. About the middle of the seventeenth century this luxury was very general, and we see distinguished by their magnificence and gradeur the orangeries of the ;Farnese family at Parma; of the Cardinal Xantes, Aldobrandini and Pio at Rome; of the Elector Palatine at Heidelberg; and of Louis XIII in France. In all the civilized parts of Europe the orangorie is now considered an embellishment necessary to all country seats, and houses of pleasure.

In nomenclature oranges and lemons had a most difficult time in establishing themselves. The lemon tree, first brought into Egypt as a variety of citron, was for a long time designated by European writers under the generic name of citrus, although in Italy and the south of France the people had known it from the beginning by the name of limon. We find in botanical works citiits limon or mala limonia and sometimes citrus medica.

In Arabia the word first applied to the orange was arindj. This in Syria was modified to narengi.

The orange appeared in Italy under the name of orenges, which the people modified, according to the pronunciations of the different sections, into aringo, naranzo, aranza, aranzo, citrone, cetrangolo, melaranco, melangolo, arancio. The Provencals also received this tree under the name of orenges, and have changed it from time to time, in different provinces,

into arrangi, airange, orenge, and finally,


During several centuries the Latin authors found themselves embarrassed in designating this fruit, which had no name in their language. The first who spoke of it used a phrase indicating its characteristics, accompanying it with the popular name of arangi, Latinized into orenges, orangias, arantium. Jaques de Vitry calls oranges poma citrina, adding, "The Arabs call them orenges." Nicolas Specialis designates them as acri pomorum arbores, observing that the people call them arangias. Mathews Silvaticus first gave to the orange the name of citrangulum. This last designation was received in the language of science for more than a century. Finally, little by little, were adopted the vulgar Latinized names in use among other writers, such as arangiwn, arancium, anarantium, nerantium, aurantium, pomen aureum.

The Greeks followed in the same steps. They have either Grecianized the name of narenge, which was in use among Syrian Arabs, or they received it from the Crusaders from the Holy Land; and have adopted it in their language, calling it neranzion.

In this day and age we are satisfied to call the fruit in English Orange and Lemon; in French, orange and citron; in German, orange, citrone; in Spanish, naranja, limon.



Father Palou, the historian of the early California Missions, says:

"On the 10th of August [1771] the Father Friar Pedro Cambon and Father Angel Somera, guarded by ten soldiers with the muleteers and beasts] requisite to carry the necessaries, set out from San Diego, and traveled northerly by the same route as the former expedition for Monterey had gone. After proceeding about forty leagues they arrived at the river called Temblores [the Los Angeles river], and while they were in the act of examin

ing the ground in order to fix a proper place for the mission, a multitude of Indians, all armed and headed by two captains, presented themselves, setting up horrid yells, and seeming determined to oppose the establishment of the mission. The Fathers, fearing that war would ensue, took out a piece of cloth with the image of our Lady de los Dolores, and held it up to the barbarians. This was no sooner done than the whole were quiet, being subdued by the sight of this most precious image; and throwing on th

ground their bows and arrows, the two captains came running with great haste to lay the beads which they brought about their necks at the feet of the sovereign queen, as proof of their entire regard; manifesting at the same time that they wished to be at peace with us. They then informed the whole of the neighborhood of what had taken place; and the people in large numbers, men, women and children, soon came t® see the Holy Virgin; bringing food which they put before her, thinking she required to eat as others. In this manner the Gentiles of the mission of San Gabriel were so entirely changed that they frequented the establishment without reserve, and hardly knew how much to manifest their pleasure that the Spaniards had come to settle in their country. Under these favorable auspices the Fathers proceeded to found a mission with the accustomed ceremonies; and celebrated the first mass under a tree on the nativity of the Virgin, the eighth of September, 1771."

In the order of establishment San Gabriel was fourth among the missions of Upper California. By reason of its rich soil and abundance of water, and its large number of neophytes brought into service, it soon advanced to the front rank in productiveness and wealth.

At San Gabriel Mission was formed the nucleus of California orange-growing. As to the time and circumstances of the first planting, history is silent. The archives of the Mission church, which alone could be accepted as absolute authority, are lost. Tradition even is not much to be relied upon among that class of people who have lived longest in and about the Mission. An old gardener, whom the writer found in, the Mission orchard on the occasion of a recent visit, shrugged his shoulders in the aggravating, non-committal way of his race when questioned as to the age of the trees.

"Tienen multos, 'uixiltos anos, Senorf" They are many, many years old, sir. I don't know how many. I think more than seventy. He underestimated their years.

Father Bot, the priest of the Mission, fixes the planting of the first orange orchard at about the year 1804. The present church building was erected in that year,

and, reasoning from analogy, he concludes that the site of the grove must have been, chosen with reference to the building. He thinks the trees were propagated from, seed brought from San Rafael in Lowerr California.

Col. J. J. Warner, our "oldest inhabitant," settled in Lios Angeles county in 1831. Ac the time of his coming the orange trees in the Mission garden were twenty-five or thirty years old and had long been in bearing. This agrees with Father Bot's calculation as to the time of their planting.

Three several Fathers Sanohcz administered the affairs of San Gabriel Mission at different periods, and to the first of these, Father Tomas, belongs the distinction of introducing the orange. That hehad an abiding faith in the success of his horticultural venture is attested by the fact that he imported iron with which toenclose the orchard. This iron, however,, was never used, owing probably to the death or removal of the enterprising Padre, and after rusting in uselessness for some years at the Mission, a portion of it was purchased by Don Luis Vigncs (1x34) and brought to the cily of Los AngelesHere it was used to enclose the second orange orchard in the State. It is said that Don Luis procured from the Mission, tlnrty-fiye large trees, which he transplanted to his place on Aliso street, near the historic Aliso (sycamore) tree, from which the street derives-its name, lie established at first a sort of exotic gardensenclosing his clump of oranges tightly and roofing the space with wire-netting. Within the enclosure he kept a flock of quail. Later, tne Don increased the number of his trees until he was the possessor of a considerable grove. But he did not follow his expensive method of fencing, and roofing throughout.

Other orchards followed. The most notable was that of William Wolfskill, planted in the city of Los Angeles, seven years after that of Don Luis Vignes. There was another four or five miles north,- of the Mission, known as La lluerla del Cuale, The Garden of the Twin, which, with one or two intermediate transfers, finally passed into t-lie* hands of Don Benito Wilson,, by whom it was carefully nurtured and extended by new plantations.

But between the planting of the original orchard at the Mission San Gabriel and the several groves above mentioned a long period must have transpired — perhaps twenty or twenty-five years, during which the Mission orchard was the sole representative of this fruit in California. Even after the extension of the industry, for many years oranges held no place among the recognized products of the country. Mr. Alexander Forbes, who wrote one of the earliest works on California—a book printed in England in 1835—cites wheat, maize, barley, pease, beans, potatoes, hemp, grapes, olives and grasses as the principal crops, but makes no mention of oranges.

Ex-Governor John G. Downey, writing of the early cultivation of the orange, says:

"In those days, though there was plenty of energy and intelligence among the Spanish pioneers, it was a difficult undertaking for the ranchero to build a fence to protect his orchard from the multitude of wild stock that surrounded him, even to the door of his pueblo home. * * *

"The orchard of orange trees at San Gabriel was scarcely in bearing when Don Luis Vignes planted his orchard in Los Angeles. Next followed that of William Wolfskill, and next, that of Don Manuel Requena. These little orchards were enclosed by an adobe wall, as were those of the Missions of San Gabriel and San Fernando. Many of the old families followed these examples by planting a few trees in their respective court-yards. I can safely say there was not a tree planted with a view to profit, and not an orange sold until long after the advent of the Americans. The fruit was cultivated for home use, and for the use of friends less fortunately situated.

"In the year 1853 Matthew Keller and . Dr. Halsey obtained seeds from Central America and Hawaii, and planted nurseries. Dr. Halsey's nursery was the most extensive. While this plantation was very young, the doctor was crossed in some love matters, studied Andrew Jackson Davis more thoroughly than he did Downing, and went off on a spiritual mission East, leaving his nursery in care of

Judge I. 8. K. Ogier. The latter sold the nursery for a song to William Wolfskill, whose place was adjoining, and the orchard now the property of Miss Francisca Wolfskill is the result. It is a very pretty property—perhaps the largest bearing orange orchard in the United States. At least I have not seen any as large in Florida, Louisiana or Cuba. It is a pleasure to look at, is a source of great profit, and could not be in better hands.

"The orchard of Mr. Wilson was once a portion of the Mission of San Gabriel. In the unconstitutional sale of the missions this portion fell to Hugo Reed. Mr. Wilson bought it in 1852 of Reed's widow. There were then on the place several fruitful trees, which are still in vigorous bearing, and will be for several generations. Mr. Wilson has industriously and intelligently added to them; not at any great cost, for ho raised his trees in his own nursery, and continues to raise them, so that he has them always on hand without expense."

The orchard of William Wolfskill, alluded to above, was no doubt the first that was planted in California with an idea of profit. Mr. Wolfskin's neighbors ridiculed him, saying that he would get no fruit in his lifetime. It was a severe trial of patience to maintain the trees through all the years requisite to bring them into bearing, and all that for a mere experiment. At the same time vineyards of three or four years' growth were paying handsomely, with no more labor. This fact came near tipping the balance against the trees, but Mr. Wolfskill's German tenacity finally ptevailed, and the trees were brought to fruition. He lived to enjoy his oranges for twenty years, and they gave him, some years, an income of a thousand dollars an acre. The last crop disposed of in his lifetime from about twenty-eight acres sold on the trees for f25,000.

From 1857 to 1862 orange-growing was greatly checked by the insects, which caused an almost total failure of the fruit, But in 1862 this pest abated, and there was a good crop. There were then in the whole State only about 25,000 trees, twothirds of which were in the Wolfskill orchard.

« AnteriorContinuar »