100 kilometers off the coast of California is Channel Islands (not to be confused with those of the English Channel with the same name), also known as the Islands of Santa Barbara, represent a series of five islands that have been isolated from the rest of the world for thousands of years. The island of San Nicolas was the home of the Nicoleño people, a tribe of natives who only had contact with the tribes on the other islands. This changed in the nineteenth century, which led to the story of the tribe’s last survivor.
In 1811, a group of Russian fur traders arrived at the island looking for raw material, because the islands were abundant in seals and in seagrass, reports The Vintage News .
The merchants and the Nicoleño tribe entered into conflict, but the tribe was overtaken technologically.If it was not the intervention of the Spaniards – who had an interest in the island‘s resources – Nicoleño could disappear completely.
However, the male population was decimated, and the tribe was left vulnerable to Catholic missions , which took advantage of the opportunity to convert the population. In the 19th century, this was done by taking local people and distributing them to the mission system, where they were used as cheap labor.
In 1835, the island‘s population was just a few hundred, and the Santa Barbara Mission sent a ship to evacuate the island, bringing the last natives to the mainland as a hand.
Here begins the story of the woman named Juana Maria. There are two theories about how he stayed on the island : either he was left out of the accident or fled from the ship to return. In any case, the end is the same: it was left on the island, and the ship did not return after it.
People were impressed by her strength
The official version was that the island was completely deserted. Often there were stories from the crews of the ships that passed near the island, according to which there was an “appearance” on the blurred island.
Because of these stories, interest in the island has increased. In 1853, 18 years after evacuating the island, Captain George Nidever wanted to find this appearance, and in the first two voyages he walked over footsteps on the beach.
On the third voyage, he found three huts made of whale bones. In front of them was Juana Maria, and from the first moment, the crew knew what she had done to survive.
According to Carl Dittman, a crew member, “the woman stood on the ground and separated the fat from the skin of the seal.”
The crew was amazed that somebody survived a deserted island for so long. Trying to communicate with it, they noticed they could not understand it. In the last 18 years he has been alone on the island, and his language has deteriorated to the point where he could barely articulate words.
However, sailors stayed on the island for several weeks while Juana Maria showed them how she survived, how she hunted, sang, and they were impressed by her strength.
When it was time to leave, the woman joined them, reaching Santa Barbara. Juana Maria, a name she received from the Catholic mission, remained with Captain Nidever for about seven months until the woman’s death, most likely caused by a trivial disease that the immune system could not reject.
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