From WikiName
Jump to: navigation, search

Lama [Llama] (1837-1838), an two-masted commercial American brig of 145 tons with six guns built in 1826 at Boston by Bryant and Sturgis shipyards and owned by Captain Eliab Grimes (1780-1848) of Boston in the first half of the 19th century. Lama purchased by the Hudson’s Bay Company in Hawaii in 1832; and sold in 1837 to Captain John Bancroft.

In November, 1838, Captain John Bancroft, on the ship Lama, was anchored off San Miguel and Santa Rosa islands while his 25 Aleut hunters sought the valuable sea otter. On December 23, 1838, while hunting sea otters off Santa Rosa Island, under the command of Captain John Bancroft, Lama was commandeered by his Pacific Northwest Indian otter hunters after a fight. Bancroft was killed, his wife was wounded, and the was vessel taken to Honolulu where Mrs. Bancroft died.

Allen Light [aka Black Steward] probably never had the opportunity to exercise his commission. Unbeknown to either Governor Alvarado or Allen Light, the Llama had already left the area under tragic circumstances. On December 23, 1838, while cruising near Santa Rosa Island, Bancroft's Indian hunters from the Pacific Northwest mutinied, murdered Bancroft and pillaged the ship. The Llama then sailed west and by January 13, 1839, it had reached Hawaii.

Four years earlier, in 1835, Allen Light had arrived on the California coast as a foreigner. Within four years this black man had at some point become a Mexican citizen and a trusted agent of Governor Alvarado's. Yet, Allen Light's acceptance in Mexican California is not as remarkable as it might seem. Although discrimination on the basis of skin color existed in California, it was less pronounced than in the United States at the same time. Indeed, perhaps twenty percent if the so-called "Spanish" pioneers of California were part negro in 1790. Despite considerable racial mixture, negro characteristics still remained evident in the 1830s among some of California's most prominent citizens. Pío Pico is, perhaps, the best known example.