In the late eighteenth century, the Mojave River and a portion of the central Mojave Desert lying
to the east formed a major native travel corridor between the Colorado River and points east
and the Pacific Coast. The Desert or Vanyume division of the Serrano occupied the Mojave River
portion of this corridor, while the Chemehuevi branch of the Southern Paiute had settled the
desert region to the east of the Sinks of the Mojave, and Desert Kawaiisu ranged to the north of
the Mojave River. Mojaves' from the Colorado River villages traveled via this corridor to the
San Joaquin Valley and coastal southern California. The late eighteenth-century political
geography of this area appears to have reflected the importance of this travel corridor to longdistance
exchange, and particularly to the exchange involving Pacific coast shell beads, which
were circulated far to the east of desert California. Ethnographic information on the local role
of Pacific coast shell beads in facilitating intergroup exchange within this desert area is discussed.
The settlement geography and inter-ethnic interactions within this central Mojave Desert region
are also reviewed. This includes the apparent expulsion of the mysterious "land Mojaves" or
"like-Mojaves" from the region before 1776, as well as the later displacement of desert Vanyume
Serrano by Chemehuevis during the 1820s and later New information on the fate of remnant
Vanyume Serranos found on the Mojave River in the 1830s is also presented.