Otter Hunters on Catalina

The Pimungans began to feel the Spanish influence shortly after a series of Missions were built along the coast, starting in 1769, when Spain began to fear the encroachment by the Russians and English. No mission was built on the Island itself, but the Pimungans began to have other visitors. A staunch believer in the prevailing Mercantilist Theory, Spain did not allow its colonies to trade with foreigners. However, sea otter were plentiful around the Channel Islands and Russian and American sea otter hunters were eager to obtain their pelts, which brought high prices in China. By 1805, Russian, American, and Aleut otter hunters began appearing in Island waters in defiance of the Spanish government. The Spaniards did not have enough ships to patrol their territory, so the hunters were able to camp undetected and hunt.

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