History of California to 1899

History of California to 1899

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This article covers in brief the history of California until the year 1899; for later events, see History of California 1900 to present
History of California 1900 to present
This article continues the history of California in the years 1900 and later; for events through 1899, see History of California to 1899. After 1900, California became an industrial power...

. For additional information and more notes and citations, see the
Main article links at the top of most sections.

Human history in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

begins with indigenous Americans first arriving in California some 13,000-15,000 years ago. Exploration and settlement by Europeans
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

 along the coast
Coast
A coastline or seashore is the area where land meets the sea or ocean. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the dynamic nature of tides. The term "coastal zone" can be used instead, which is a spatial zone where interaction of the sea and land processes occurs...

s and in the inland valley
Valley
In geology, a valley or dale is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.The terms U-shaped and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography to characterize the form of valleys...

s began in the 16th century. California's acquisition by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 under the terms of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

 following the defeat of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 in the Mexican-American War caused further American westward expansion
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

 into Mexico intensified with the California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

, beginning in 1849. California joined the Union as a free state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 in 1850, due to the compromise of 1850. By the end of the 19th century, California was still largely rural
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 and agricultural
Agrarian society
An agrarian society is a society that depends on agriculture as its primary means for support and sustenance. The society acknowledges other means of livelihood and work habits but stresses the importance of agriculture and farming, and was the most common form of socio-economic oganization for...

, but had a population of about 1.4 million.

Pre European settlement

Main: Native American history of California

The most commonly-accepted model of migration to the New World
Models of migration to the New World
There have been several models for the human settlement of the Americas proposed by various academic communities. The question of how, when and why humans first entered the Americas is of intense interest to archaeologists and anthropologists, and has been a subject of heated debate for centuries...

 is that peoples from Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 crossed the Bering land bridge to the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 some 16,500 years ago.

When human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s first arrived in present-day California has not been established.

The remains of Arlington Springs Man on Santa Rosa Island
Santa Rosa Island, California
Santa Rosa Island is the second largest of the Channel Islands of California at 53,195 acres . Defined by the United States Census Bureau as Block 3009, Block Group 3, Census Tract 29.10 of Santa Barbara County, California, the 2000 census showed an official population of 2 persons. It is part of...

 are among the traces of a very early habitation, dated to the Wisconsin glaciation
Wisconsin glaciation
The last glacial period was the most recent glacial period within the current ice age occurring during the last years of the Pleistocene, from approximately 110,000 to 10,000 years ago....

 (the most recent ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

) about 13,000 years ago. In all, some 30 tribes
Indian tribe
In the United States, a Native American tribe is any extant or historical tribe, band, nation, or other group or community of Indigenous peoples in the United States...

 or culture groups lived in what is now California, gathered into perhaps six different language family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

 groups. These groups included the early-arriving Hokan family (winding up in the mountainous far north and Colorado River basin in the south) and the recently-arrived Uto-Aztecan
Uto-Aztecan languages
Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a Native American language family consisting of over 30 languages. Uto-Aztecan languages are found from the Great Basin of the Western United States , through western, central and southern Mexico Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a Native American language family...

 of the desert southeast. This cultural diversity was among the densest in North America, and was likely the result of a series of migrations and invasions during the last 10,000-15,000 years. At the time of the first European contact, Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 tribes included the Chumash, Maidu
Maidu
The Maidu are a group of Native Americans who live in Northern California. They reside in the central Sierra Nevada, in the drainage area of the Feather and American Rivers...

, Miwok
Miwok
Miwok can refer to any one of four linguistically related groups of Native Americans, native to Northern California, who spoke one of the Miwokan languages in the Utian family...

, Modoc
Modoc
The Modoc are a Native American people who originally lived in the area which is now northeastern California and central Southern Oregon. They are currently divided between Oregon and Oklahoma. The latter are a federally recognized tribe, the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma...

, Mohave, Ohlone
Ohlone
The Ohlone people, also known as the Costanoan, are a Native American people of the central California coast. When Spanish explorers and missionaries arrived in the late 18th century, the Ohlone inhabited the area along the coast from San Francisco Bay through Monterey Bay to the lower Salinas Valley...

, Pomo
Pomo people
The Pomo people are an indigenous peoples of California. The historic Pomo territory in northern California was large, bordered by the Pacific Coast to the west, extending inland to Clear Lake, and mainly between Cleone and Duncans Point...

, Serrano
Serrano (people)
The Serrano are a Native American tribe of present day California, United States. They use the autonyms of Taaqtam, meaning "people"; Maarenga'yam, "people from Morongo"; and Yuhaviatam, "people of the pines." The Serrano historically populated the San Bernardino Mountains and extended east into...

, Shasta
Shasta (tribe)
The Shasta are an indigenous people of Northern California and Southern Oregon in the United States. They spoke one of the Shastan languages....

, Tataviam
Tataviam
The Tataviam , were called the Alliklik by their neighbors the Chumash , are a Native American group in southern California...

, Tongva, Wintu
Wintu
The Wintu are Native Americans who live in what is now Northern California. They are part of a loose association of peoples known collectively as the Wintun . Others are the Nomlaki and the Patwin...

 and Yurok.

Tribes adapted to California's many climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

s. Coastal tribes were a major source of trading beads, produced from mussel
Mussel
The common name mussel is used for members of several families of clams or bivalvia mollusca, from saltwater and freshwater habitats. These groups have in common a shell whose outline is elongated and asymmetrical compared with other edible clams, which are often more or less rounded or oval.The...

 shells using stone tools. Tribes in California's broad Central Valley and the surrounding foothills developed an early agriculture, burning the grasslands to encourage growth of edible wild plants, especially oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

 trees. The acorns from these trees were pounded into a powder, and the acidic tannin
Tannin
A tannin is an astringent, bitter plant polyphenolic compound that binds to and precipitates proteins and various other organic compounds including amino acids and alkaloids.The term tannin refers to the use of...

 leached out to make edible flour. Tribes living in the mountains of the north and east relied heavily on salmon and game hunting, and used California's volcanic legacy by collecting and shaping obsidian
Obsidian
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock.It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth...

 for themselves and for trade. The deserts of the southeast were home to tribes who learned to thrive in that harsh environment by making careful use of local plants and living in oases and along water courses.

The status of all these people remained dynamic, as the more successful tribes expanded their territories and less successful tribes contracted. Slave-trading and war among tribes alternated with periods of relative peace. The population of Native California
Population of Native California
Estimates of the Native Californian population have varied substantially, both with respect to California's pre-contact count and for changes during subsequent periods. Pre-contact estimates range from 133,000 to 705,000 with some recent scholars concluding that these estimates are low...

 in all, it is estimated by the time of extensive European contact in the 18th century, that perhaps 300,000 Native Americans were living within what is now California.

European exploration (1530–1765)



The first European explorers, flying the flags of Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, sailed along the coast of California from the early 16th century to the mid-18th century, but no European settlements were established. The most important colonial power, Spain, focused attention on its imperial centers in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

. Confident of Spanish claims to all lands touching the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 (including California), Spain sent an exploring party sailing along the California coast. The California seen by these ship-bound explorers was one of hilly grasslands and wooded canyons, with few apparent resources or natural ports to attract colonists.

The other colonial states of the era, with their interest on more densely populated areas, paid limited attention to this distant part of the world. It was not until the middle of the 18th century, that both Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and British explorers and fur-traders began establishing stations on the coast.

Hernán Cortés



About 1530, Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán
Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán
Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán or sometimes Nuño de Guzmán was a Spanish conquistador and colonial administrator in New Spain. He was Governor of the province of Pánuco from 1525–1533, and of Nueva Galicia from 1529–1534, President of the first Audiencia from 1528-30. He founded several cities in...

 (president of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

) was told by an Indian slave of the Seven Cities of Cibola that had streets paved with gold and silver. About the same time Hernán Cortés was attracted by stories of a wonderful country far to the northwest, populated by Amazonish women
Amazons
The Amazons are a nation of all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia...

 and abounding with gold, pearls and gems. The Spaniards conjectured that these places may be one and the same.

An expedition in 1533 discovered a bay, most likely that of La Paz
La Paz, Baja California Sur
La Paz is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. The city had a 2010 census population of 215,178 persons, but its metropolitan population is somewhat larger because of surrounding towns like el Centenario, el Zacatal and San Pedro...

, before experiencing difficulties and returning. Cortés accompanied expeditions in 1534 and 1535 without finding the sought-after city.

On May 3, 1535, Cortés claimed "Santa Cruz Island" (now known as the peninsula of Baja California
Baja California Peninsula
The Baja California peninsula , is a peninsula in northwestern Mexico. Its land mass separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The Peninsula extends from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south.The total area of the Baja California...

), and laid out and founded the city that was to become La Paz later that spring.

Francisco de Ulloa


Also: Island of California
Island of California
The Island of California refers to a long-held European misconception, dating from the 16th century, that California was not part of mainland North America but rather a large island separated from the continent by a strait now known instead as the Gulf of California.One of the most famous...



In July 1539, moved by the renewal of those stories, Cortés sent Francisco de Ulloa out with three small vessels. He made it to the mouth of the Colorado, then sailed around the peninsula as far as Cedros Island
Cedros Island
Cedros Island is a Mexican island in the Pacific Ocean....

.

The account of this voyage marks the first-recorded application of the name "California". It can be traced to the fifth volume of a chivalric romance, Amadis de Gallia, arranged by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo
Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo
Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo was a Spanish author who arranged the modern version of the chivalric romance Amadis of Gaul, written in three books in the 14th century by an unknown author...

 and first printed around 1510, in which a character travels through an island called "California".

Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo


Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo is believed to be the first European to explore the California coast. He was either of Portuguese or Spanish background, although his origins remain unclear. He was a soldier, crossbowman, and navigator who sailed for the Spanish Crown
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

. In June 1542 Cabrillo led an expedition in two ships of his own design and construction from the west coast of what is now Mexico. He landed on September 28 at San Diego Bay, claiming what he thought was the Island of California
Island of California
The Island of California refers to a long-held European misconception, dating from the 16th century, that California was not part of mainland North America but rather a large island separated from the continent by a strait now known instead as the Gulf of California.One of the most famous...

 for Spain.

Cabrillo and his crew landed on San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island is the westernmost of California's Channel Islands, located across the Santa Barbara Channel in the Pacific Ocean, within Santa Barbara County, California. San Miguel is the sixth-largest of the eight Channel Islands at , including offshore islands and rocks. Prince Island, off...

, one of the Channel Islands, then continued north in an attempt to discover a supposed coastal route to the mainland of Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. Cabrillo could have sailed as far north as Pt. Reyes (north of San Francisco), but died as the result of an accident during this voyage; the remainder of the expedition, which could have reached as far north as the Rogue River
Rogue River (Oregon)
The Rogue River in southwestern Oregon in the United States flows about in a generally westward direction from the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean. Known for its salmon runs, whitewater rafting, and rugged scenery, it was one of the original eight rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act...

 in today's southern Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

 was led by Bartolomé Ferrelo
Bartolomé Ferrelo
Bartolomé Ferrelo, also known as Bartolomé Ferrer, born 1499 in Bilbao Spain, died 1550 in Mexico.He was the pilot for Juan Rodrigo Cabrillo, the Portuguese captain who was sent by the viceroy of Mexico, with two ships in 1542 to explore what is now Northern California...

.

Sir Francis Drake



On June 7, 1579, the English explorer Sir Francis Drake
Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the...

 saw an excellent harbor, on a land-mass
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 that he called Nova Albion and claimed for England. The location of Drake's port remains unknown and there was no follow-up. But subsequent English maps name the land above Baja California, New Granada, New Mexico and Florida "Nova Albion." Drake held the first Protestant Christian service
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 somewhere in what is now California.

Sebastián Vizcaíno



In 1602 the Spaniard Sebastián Vizcaíno explored California's coastline as far north as Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay is a bay of the Pacific Ocean, along the central coast of California. The bay is south of San Francisco and San Jose, between the cities of Santa Cruz and Monterey....

, where he put ashore. He ventured inland south along the coast and recorded a visit to what is likely Carmel Bay. His major contributions to the state's history were the glowing reports of the Monterey area as an anchorage and as land suitable for settlement, as well as the detailed charts he made of the coastal waters (which were used for nearly 200 years).

European exploration (1765–1821)


British seafaring Captain James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

, midway through his third and final voyage of exploration in 1778, sailed along the west coast of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 aboard the HMS Resolution
HMS Resolution (Cook)
HMS Resolution was a sloop of the Royal Navy, and the ship in which Captain James Cook made his second and third voyages of exploration in the Pacific...

, mapping the coast from California all the way to the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

. In 1786 Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse
Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse
Jean François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse was a French Navy officer and explorer whose expedition vanished in Oceania.-Early career:...

, led a group of scientists and artists on a voyage of exploration ordered by Louis XVI and were welcomed in Monterey. They compiled an account of the Californian mission system, the land and the people. Traders, whalers and scientific missions followed in the next decades.

Spanish colonization and governance (1697–1821)



In 1697 the Jesuit missionary Juan María de Salvatierra
Juan María de Salvatierra
Juan María de Salvatierra was a Catholic missionary to the Americas.His family was of Spanish origin, the name being written originally Salva-Tierra. Born in Milan, Italy, he studied in the Jesuit college of Parma. It was there that he accidentally came across a book upon the "Indian missions,"...

 established Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó
Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó
Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó, or Mission Loreto, was founded on October 25, 1697 at the Monqui settlement of Conchó in the present city of Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico...

, the first permanent mission in Baja California peninsula
Baja California Peninsula
The Baja California peninsula , is a peninsula in northwestern Mexico. Its land mass separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The Peninsula extends from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south.The total area of the Baja California...

. California at this time was part of the Las Californias Province of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 and not divided as it is today. Jesuit control over the peninsula was gradually extended, first in the region around Loreto
Loreto, Baja California Sur
Loreto was the first Spanish settlement on the Baja California Peninsula. It served as the capital of Las Californias from 1697 to 1777, and is the current seat of the municipality of Loreto in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur...

, then to the south in the Cape region, and finally toward the north across the northern boundary of present day Baja California Sur
Baja California Sur
Baja California Sur , is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. Before becoming a state on October 8, 1974, the area was known as the South Territory of Baja California. It has an area of , or 3.57% of the land mass of Mexico and comprises...

.

During the last quarter of the 18th century, the first Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 settlements were established in the Las Californias
Las Californias
The Californias, or in — - was the name given by the Spanish to their northwestern territory of New Spain, comprising the present day states of Baja California and Baja California Sur on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico; and the present day U.S. state of California in the United States of...

 Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (colonial Mexico). Reacting to interest by Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and, later, Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 in the fur-bearing animals of the Pacific north coast, Spain further extended the series of Catholic missions, accompanied by troops and establishing ranches, along the southern and central coast of California. These missions were intended to demonstrate the claim of the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 to what is now modern-day California. By 1823 twenty one Spanish missions
Spanish missions in California
The Spanish missions in California comprise a series of religious and military outposts established by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order between 1769 and 1823 to spread the Christian faith among the local Native Americans. The missions represented the first major effort by Europeans to...

 had been established in Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

. Operations were based out of the naval base at San Blas
San Blas, Nayarit
San Blas is both a municipality and municipal seat located on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Nayarit.-City:San Blas is a port and a popular tourist destination, located about 100 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, and 40 miles west of the state capital Tepic. The town has a population of...

 and included not only the establishment and supply of missions in California, but a series of exploration expeditions to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

The first quarter of the 19th century showed the continuation of the slow colonization of the southern and central California coast by Spanish missionaries, ranchers and troops. By 1820 Spanish influence was marked by the chain of missions reaching from Loreto, north to San Diego, to just north of today's San Francisco Bay area and extended inland approximately 25 to 50 miles from the missions. Outside of this zone, perhaps 200,000 to 250,000 Native Americans were continuing to lead traditional lives. The Adams-Onís Treaty
Adams-Onís Treaty
The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty or the Purchase of Florida, was a treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819 that gave Florida to the U.S. and set out a boundary between the U.S. and New Spain . It settled a standing border dispute between the two...

, signed in 1819, set the northern boundary of the Spanish claims at the 42nd parallel, effectively creating today's northern boundary between California and Oregon.

First Spanish colonies


Spain had maintained a number of missions and presidios in New Spain since 1519. The Crown laid claim to the north coastal provinces of California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 in 1542. Excluding Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and is the seat of . Santa Fe had a population of 67,947 in the 2010 census...

 in New Mexico, settlement of northern New Spain was slow for the next 155 years. Settlements in Loreto
Loreto, Baja California Sur
Loreto was the first Spanish settlement on the Baja California Peninsula. It served as the capital of Las Californias from 1697 to 1777, and is the current seat of the municipality of Loreto in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur...

, Baja California Sur
Baja California Sur
Baja California Sur , is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. Before becoming a state on October 8, 1974, the area was known as the South Territory of Baja California. It has an area of , or 3.57% of the land mass of Mexico and comprises...

 were established in 1697, but it was not until the threat of incursion by Russian fur traders and potentially settlers, coming down from Alaska in 1765, that Spain, under King Charles III
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

, felt development of more northern installations were necessary. By then, the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 was engaged in the political aftermath of the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

 and colonial priorities in far away California afforded only a minimal effort. Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 was to be settled by Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 monks, protected by troops in the California Missions. Between 1774 and 1791, the Crown sent forth a number of expeditions to further explore and settle Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 and the Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

.

Gaspar de Portolà


In May 1768, the Spanish Visitor General, José de Gálvez
José de Gálvez
José de Gálvez y Gallardo, marqués de Sonora was a Spanish lawyer, a colonial official in New Spain and ultimately Minister of the Indies . He was one of the prime figures behind the Bourbon Reforms...

, planned a four-prong expedition to settle Alta California, two by sea and two by land, which Gaspar de Portolà
Gaspar de Portolà
Gaspar de Portolà i Rovira was a soldier, governor of Baja and Alta California , explorer and founder of San Diego and Monterey. He was born in Os de Balaguer, province of Lleida, in Catalonia, Spain, of Catalan nobility. Don Gaspar served as a soldier in the Spanish army in Italy and Portugal...

 volunteered to command.

The Portolà land expedition arrived at the site of present-day San Diego
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

 on June 29, 1769, where it established the Presidio of San Diego
Presidio of San Diego
El Presidio Reál de San Diego is an historical fort established on May 14, 1769, by Commandant Pedro Fages for Spain. It was the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the United States. As the first of the presidios and Spanish missions in California, it was the base of...

. Eager to press on to Monterey Bay, de Portolà and his group, consisting of Father Juan Crespi
Juan Crespi
Father Juan Crespí was a Majorcan missionary and explorer of Las Californias. He entered the Franciscan order at the age of seventeen. He came to America in 1749, and accompanied explorers Francisco Palóu and Junípero Serra. In 1767 he went to the Baja Peninsula and was placed in charge of the...

, sixty-three leather-jacket soldiers and a hundred mules, headed north on July 14. They reached the present-day sites of Los Angeles on August 2, Santa Monica
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, US. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is surrounded on three sides by the city of Los Angeles — Pacific Palisades on the northwest, Brentwood on the north, West Los Angeles on the northeast, Mar Vista on the east, and...

 on August 3, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California, United States. Situated on an east-west trending section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply-rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean...

 on August 19, San Simeon
San Simeon, California
San Simeon is a census-designated place on the Pacific coast of San Luis Obispo County, California. Its position along State Route 1 is approximately halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, each of those cities being roughly 230 mi away...

 on September 13 and the mouth of the Salinas River
Salinas River (California)
The Salinas River is the largest river of the central coast of California, running and draining 4,160 square miles. It flows north-northwest and drains the Salinas Valley that slices through the Coast Range south from Monterey Bay...

 on October 1. Although they were looking for Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay is a bay of the Pacific Ocean, along the central coast of California. The bay is south of San Francisco and San Jose, between the cities of Santa Cruz and Monterey....

, the group failed to recognize it when they reached it.

On October 31, de Portolà's explorers became the first Europeans known to view San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

. Ironically, the Manila Galleons had sailed along this coast for almost 200 years by then, without noticing the bay. The group returned to San Diego in 1770.

Junípero Serra



Junípero Serra was a Majorcan Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 who founded the first the Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 Spanish missions
Spanish missions in California
The Spanish missions in California comprise a series of religious and military outposts established by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order between 1769 and 1823 to spread the Christian faith among the local Native Americans. The missions represented the first major effort by Europeans to...

. After King Carlos III
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

 ordered the Jesuits
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

  expelled from New Spain on February 3, 1768, Serra was named "Father Presidente".

Serra founded San Diego de Alcalá
Mission San Diego de Alcalá
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, in San Diego, California, was the first Franciscan mission in the Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. It was founded in 1769 by Spanish friar Junípero Serra in an area long inhabited by the Kumeyaay Indians...

 in 1769. Later that year, Serra, Governor de Portolà and a small group of men moved north, up the Pacific Coast
Pacific Coast
A country's Pacific coast is the part of its coast bordering the Pacific Ocean.-The Americas:Countries on the western side of the Americas have a Pacific coast as their western border.* Geography of Canada* Geography of Chile* Geography of Colombia...

. They reached Monterey
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

 in 1770, where Serra founded the second Alta California mission, San Carlos Borromeo
Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, also known as the Carmel Mission, is a Roman Catholic mission church in Carmel, California. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and a U.S...

.

Alta California missions




The California Missions comprise a series of religious outposts established by Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 Catholic Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

s, Jesuits
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

, and Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

s, to spread the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 doctrine among the local Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, but with the primary benefit to Spain of confirming historic claims to the territory. The missions introduced Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

, fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

s, vegetables, agricultural industry
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

, along with invasive species
Invasive species
"Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

 of plants into the California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 regions. The labor supply for the missions was supplied by the forcible relocation of the Native Americans and keeping them in peonage.

Most missions were small, with normally two Franciscans and six to eight soldiers in residence. All of these buildings were built largely by the forced labor of unpaid native people, under Franciscan supervision. In addition to the presidio (royal fort) and pueblo (town), the misión was one of the three major agencies employed by the Spanish crown in an attempt to consolidate its colonial
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 territories. None of these missions were completely self-supporting, requiring continued (albeit modest) financial support. Starting with the onset of the Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

 in 1810, this support largely disappeared and the missions and their converts were left on their own. By 1827, the Mexican Government passed the General Law of Expulsion which exiled Spanish born people—decimating the clergy in California. Some of the missions were then nationalized by the Mexican government and sold off. It was not until after statehood that the US Supreme Court restored some missions to the orders that owned them.

In order to facilitate overland travel, the mission settlements were situated approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) apart, so that they were separated by one day's long ride on horseback along the 600-mile (966-kilometer) long el Camino Real
El Camino Real (California)
El Camino Real and sometimes associated with Calle Real usually refers to the 600-mile California Mission Trail, connecting the former Alta California's 21 missions , 4 presidios, and several pueblos, stretching from Mission San Diego de Alcalá in San Diego...

, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 for "the Royal Road," though often referred to today as the King's Highway, and also known as the California Mission Trail. Heavy freight movement was practical only via water. Tradition has it that the padres sprinkled the mustard
Mustard plant
Mustards are several plant species in the genera Brassica and Sinapis whose small mustard seeds are used as a spice and, by grinding and mixing them with water, vinegar or other liquids, are turned into the condiment known as mustard or prepared mustard...

 seeds along the trail in order to mark it with bright yellow flowers.

Four presidios, strategically placed along the California coast and organized into separate military districts, served to protect the missions and other Spanish settlements in Upper California.

A number of mission structures survive today or have been rebuilt, and many have congregations established since the beginning of the 20th century. The highway and missions became for many a romantic symbol of an idyllic and peaceful past. The Mission Revival style
Mission Revival Style architecture
The Mission Revival Style was an architectural movement that began in the late 19th century for a colonial style's revivalism and reinterpretation, which drew inspiration from the late 18th and early 19th century Spanish missions in California....

 was an architectural movement that drew its inspiration from this idealized view of California's past.

Ranchos



The Spanish (and later the Mexicans) encouraged settlement with large land grants which were turned into ranchos, where cattle and sheep were raised. Cow hides (at roughly $1 each) and fat (known as tallow, used to make candles as well as soaps) were the primary exports of California until the mid-19th century. The owners of these ranchos styled themselves after the Dons
Don (honorific)
Don, from Latin dominus, is an honorific in Spanish , Portuguese , and Italian . The female equivalent is Doña , Dona , and Donna , abbreviated "Dª" or simply "D."-Usage:...

 in Spain. Their workers substantially included Native Americans, some who had learned to speak Spanish and ride horses. Some ranchos, such as Rancho El Escorpión
Rancho El Escorpión
Rancho El Escorpión was a Mexican land grant in present day Los Angeles County, California given in 1845 by Governor Pío Pico to three Chumash Native Americans - Odón Eusebia, Urbano, and Mañuel....

, were land grants directly to Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

.

Russian colonization



Part of Spain's motivation to settle upper Las Californias
Las Californias
The Californias, or in — - was the name given by the Spanish to their northwestern territory of New Spain, comprising the present day states of Baja California and Baja California Sur on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico; and the present day U.S. state of California in the United States of...

 was to forestall Russian colonization
Russian colonization of the Americas
The Russian colonization of the Americas covers the period, from 1732 to 1867, when the Tsarist Imperial Russian Empire laid claim to northern Pacific Coast territories in the Americas...

 and British incursion in to their territory. In the early 19th century, fur trappers with the Russian-American Company
Russian-American Company
The Russian-American Company was a state-sponsored chartered company formed largely on the basis of the so-called Shelekhov-Golikov Company of Grigory Shelekhov and Ivan Larionovich Golikov The Russian-American Company (officially: Under His Imperial Majesty's Highest Protection (patronage)...

 of the tsarist Imperial Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 explored down the West Coast from trading settlements in Alaska, hunting for sea otter
Sea Otter
The sea otter is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg , making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals...

 pelts as far south as San Diego. In August 1812, the Russian-American Company
Russian-American Company
The Russian-American Company was a state-sponsored chartered company formed largely on the basis of the so-called Shelekhov-Golikov Company of Grigory Shelekhov and Ivan Larionovich Golikov The Russian-American Company (officially: Under His Imperial Majesty's Highest Protection (patronage)...

 set up a fortified trading post at Fort Ross, near present day Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay is a shallow, rocky inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the coast of northern California in the United States. It is approximately across and is located approximately northwest of San Francisco and west of Santa Rosa...

 on the Sonoma Coast of Northern California
Northern California
Northern California is the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. The San Francisco Bay Area , and Sacramento as well as its metropolitan area are the main population centers...

, sixty miles north of San Francisco on land claimed, but not occupied by, the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. This colony was active until the Russians departed in 1841. In 1836 El Presidio de Sonoma
Presidio of Sonoma
El Presidio de Sonoma, or Sonoma Barracks, was a military outpost established in Alta California in 1836. It was built to house troops under General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, the Commandant of the Northern Frontier, as part of Mexico's strategy to subdue the Native Americans of the Sonoma Valley...

, or Sonoma Barracks, was established by General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo
Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo
Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo was a Californian military commander, politician, and rancher. He was born a subject of Spain, performed his military duties as an officer of Mexico, and shaped the transition of California from a Mexican district to an American state...

, the Commandante of the northern frontier of Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

. It was established as a part of Mexico's strategy to halt Russian incursions into the region, as the Mission San Francisco de Solano (Sonoma Mission) was for the Spanish.

Mexican era (1821–1846)



General


Substantial changes occurred during the second quarter of the 19th century. The victory in Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

 from Spain in 1821 marked the end of a European power ruling California; the missions faded in importance under Mexican control while ranching and trade increased. By the mid-1840s, the increased presence of Americans made the northern part of Alta California diverge from the southern part, where the Spanish-speaking "Californios" dominated.

By 1846, Alta California had a Spanish-speaking population of under 10,000, tiny even compared to the sparse population of states in the rest of northern Mexico. The "Californios," as they were known, consisted of about 800 families, mostly concentrated on large ranchos
Ranchos of California
The Spanish, and later the Méxican government encouraged settlement of territory now known as California by the establishment of large land grants called ranchos, from which the English ranch is derived. Devoted to raising cattle and sheep, the owners of the ranchos attempted to pattern themselves...

. About 1,300 American citizens and a very mixed group of about 500 Europeans, scattered mostly from Monterey to Sacramento dominated trading as the Californios dominated ranching. In terms of adult males, the two groups were about equal, but the American citizens were more recent arrivals.

Secularization


First, the Mexican Congress passed the 'General Law of Expulsion' in 1827. This law declared all persons born in Spain to be "illegal immigrants" and ordered them to leave the new country of Mexico. Many of the missionary clergy were Spanish and left. Next, the Mexican Congress passed An Act for the Secularization
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

 of the Missions of California
on August 17, 1833. Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano was a Spanish mission in Southern California, located in present-day San Juan Capistrano. It was founded on All Saints Day November 1, 1776, by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order...

 was the very first to feel the effects of this legislation the following year. The Franciscans soon thereafter abandoned the missions, taking with them most everything of value, after which the locals typically plundered the mission buildings for construction materials.

Other nationalities

  • The Russian-American Company
    Russian-American Company
    The Russian-American Company was a state-sponsored chartered company formed largely on the basis of the so-called Shelekhov-Golikov Company of Grigory Shelekhov and Ivan Larionovich Golikov The Russian-American Company (officially: Under His Imperial Majesty's Highest Protection (patronage)...

     established Fort Ross in 1812 as their southermost colony in North America, intended to provide Russian posts farther north with agricultural goods. When this need was filled by a deal between the RAC and the Hudson's Bay Company
    Hudson's Bay Company
    The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

     for produce from Fort Vancouver
    Fort Vancouver
    Fort Vancouver was a 19th century fur trading outpost along the Columbia River that served as the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company in the company's Columbia District...

     on the Columbia River
    Columbia River
    The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, flows northwest and then south into the U.S. state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state...

     and other installations, the fort's intent was derailed although it remained in Russian hands until 1841, and for the duration had a small population of Russians and other nationalities from the Russian Empire.
  • In this period, American and British traders began entering California in search of beaver
    Beaver
    The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

    . Using the Siskiyou Trail
    Siskiyou Trail
    The Siskiyou Trail stretched from California's Central Valley to Oregon's Willamette Valley; modern-day Interstate 5 follows this pioneer path...

    , Old Spanish Trail
    Old Spanish Trail (trade route)
    The Old Spanish Trail is a historical trade route which connected the northern New Mexico settlements near or in Santa Fe, New Mexico with that of Los Angeles, California and southern California. Approximately long, it ran through areas of high mountains, arid deserts, and deep canyons. It is...

    , and later, the California Trail
    California Trail
    The California Trail was an emigrant trail of about across the western half of the North American continent from Missouri River towns to what is now the state of California...

    , these trading parties arrived in California, often without the knowledge or approval of the Mexican authorities, and laid the foundation for the arrival of later Gold Rush era
    California Gold Rush
    The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

     Forty-Niners, farmers and ranchers.

  • In 1840, the American adventurer, writer and lawyer Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
    Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
    Richard Henry Dana Jr. was an American lawyer and politician from Massachusetts, a descendant of an eminent colonial family who gained renown as the author of the American classic, the memoir Two Years Before the Mast...

     wrote of his experiences aboard ship off California in the 1830s in Two Years Before the Mast
    Two Years Before the Mast
    Two Years Before the Mast is a book by the American author Richard Henry Dana, Jr., published in 1840, having been written after a two-year sea voyage starting in 1834. A film adaptation under the same name was released in 1946.- Background :...

    .

  • The leader of a French scientific expedition to California, Eugene Duflot de Mofras
    Eugène Duflot de Mofras
    Eugène Duflot de Mofras was a nineteenth-century French diplomat and explorer. In 1839 Duflot de Mofras was dispatched from his post in Mexico City and spent the next four years exploring the western coast of North America. He was to access the region for French business interests...

    , wrote in 1840 "...it is evident that California will belong to whatever nation chooses to send there a man-of-war and two hundred men." In 1841, General Vallejo wrote Governor Alvarado that "...there is no doubt that France is intriguing to become mistress of California," but a series of troubled French governments did not uphold French interests in the area. During disagreements with Mexicans, the German-Swiss francophile
    Francophile
    Is a person with a positive predisposition or interest toward the government, culture, history, or people of France. This could include France itself and its history, the French language, French cuisine, literature, etc...

     John Sutter
    John Sutter
    Johann Augus Sutter was a Swiss pioneer of California known for his association with the California Gold Rush by the discovery of gold by James W. Marshall and the mill making team at Sutter's Mill, and for establishing Sutter's Fort in the area that would eventually become Sacramento, the...

     threatened to raise the French flag over California and place himself and his settlement, New Helvetia
    New Helvetia
    New Helvetia , meaning "New Switzerland", was a Mexican-era California settlement.The Swiss pioneer John Sutter arrived in Mexican Alta California with other settlers in August 1839. He established the agricultural and trading colony and stockade Sutter's Fort as "Nueva Helvetia" in 1840...

    , under French protection.

American interest and immigrants



Although a small number of American traders and trappers had lived in California since the early 1830s, the first organized overland party of American immigrants was the Bartleson-Bidwell Party
Bartleson-Bidwell Party
In 1841, the Bartleson–Bidwell Party led by Captain John Bartleson and John Bidwell, became the first American emigrants to attempt a wagon crossing from Missouri to California.-The trail:...

 of 1841. With mules and on foot, this pioneering group groped their way across the continent using the still untested California Trail
California Trail
The California Trail was an emigrant trail of about across the western half of the North American continent from Missouri River towns to what is now the state of California...

. Also in 1841, an overland exploratory party of the United States Exploring Expedition
United States Exploring Expedition
The United States Exploring Expedition was an exploring and surveying expedition of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding lands conducted by the United States from 1838 to 1842. The original appointed commanding officer was Commodore Thomas ap Catesby Jones. The voyage was authorized by Congress in...

 came down the Siskiyou Trail
Siskiyou Trail
The Siskiyou Trail stretched from California's Central Valley to Oregon's Willamette Valley; modern-day Interstate 5 follows this pioneer path...

 from the Pacific Northwest. In 1844, Caleb Greenwood
Caleb Greenwood
Caleb Greenwood was a Western U.S. fur trapper and trail guide. Born in Virginia, Greenwood took part in trapping expeditions organized by associates of John Jacob Astor in 1810 and by Manuel Lisa in 1812-1813...

 guided the first settlers to take wagons over the Sierra Nevada. In 1846, the misfortunes of the Donner Party
Donner Party
The Donner Party was a group of American pioneers who set out for California in a wagon train. Delayed by a series of mishaps, they spent the winter of 1846–47 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada...

 earned notoriety as they struggled to enter California.

By 1846, the province had a non-Native American population of about 1500 Californio adult men (with about 6500 women and children), who lived mostly in the southern half. About 2,000 recent non-Californio
Californio
Californio is a term used to identify a Spanish-speaking Catholic people, regardless of race, born in California before 1848...

, non-indigenous immigrants (almost all adult men) lived mostly in the northern half of California.

Bear Flag Revolt and American conquest



After the United States declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846, it took almost two months (mid-July 1846) for definite word of war to get to California. Upon hearing rumors of war, U.S. consul Thomas O. Larkin
Thomas O. Larkin
Thomas Oliver Larkin was an early American emigrant to Alta California and a signer of the original California Constitution. He was the United States' first and only consul to the California Republic.-Early years:...

, stationed in Monterey
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

, tried to keep peace between the Americans and the small Mexican military garrison commanded by José Castro. American army captain John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
John Charles Frémont , was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, that era's penny press accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder...

, with about 60 well-armed men, had entered California in December 1845 and was making a slow march to Oregon when they received word that war between Mexico and the U.S. was imminent.


On June 15, 1846, some 30 non-Mexican settlers, mostly Americans, staged a revolt, seized the small Mexican garrison in Sonoma
Sonoma, California
Sonoma is a historically significant city in Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA, surrounding its historic town plaza, a remnant of the town's Mexican colonial past. It was the capital of the short-lived California Republic...

, and captured Mexican general Mariano Vallejo. They raised the "Bear Flag" of the California Republic
California Republic
The California Republic, also called the Bear Flag Republic, is the name used for a period of revolt against Mexico initially proclaimed by a handful of American settlers in Mexican California on June 14, 1846, in Sonoma. This was shortly before news of the Mexican–American War had reached the area...

 over Sonoma. The so-called California Republic lasted one week until the U.S. Army, led by Frémont, took over on June 23. The California state flag today is based on this original Bear Flag, and continues to contain the words "California Republic."

Commodore John Drake Sloat, on hearing of imminent war and the revolt in Sonoma, ordered his naval forces to occupy Yerba Buena (present San Francisco) on July 7 and raise the American flag. On July 15, Sloat transferred his command to Commodore Robert F. Stockton
Robert F. Stockton
Robert Field Stockton was a United States naval commodore, notable in the capture of California during the Mexican-American War. He was a naval innovator and an early advocate for a propeller-driven, steam-powered navy. Stockton was from a notable political family and also served as a U.S...

, a much more aggressive leader. Commodore Stockton put Frémont's forces under his command. Frémont's "California Battalion
California Battalion
The first California Volunteer Militia was commonly called the California Battalion was organized by John C. Fremont during the Mexican-American War in Alta California, present day California, United States.-Formation:...

" swelled to about 160 men with the addition of volunteers recruited from American settlements, and on July 19 he entered Monterey
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

 in a joint operation with some of Stockton's sailors and marines. The official word had been received — the Mexican-American War was on. The American forces easily took over the north of California; within days, they controlled Monterey, San Francisco, Sonoma, and Sutter's Fort.

In Southern California, Mexican General José Castro and Governor Pío Pico
Pío Pico
Pío de Jesús Pico was the last Governor of Alta California under Mexican rule.-Origins:...

 fled from Los Angeles. When Stockton's forces entered Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 unresisted on August 13, 1846, the nearly bloodless conquest of California seemed complete. Stockton, however, left too small a force (36 men) in Los Angeles, and the Californios, acting on their own and without help from Mexico, led by José Mariá Flores
José Mariá Flores
General José María Flores was an officer in the Mexican Army and was a member of la otra banda. He was appointed Governor and Comandante General pro tem of Alta California from 1846 to 1847.-Mexican-America War:...

, forced the small American garrison to retire in late September. Two hundred reinforcements were sent by Stockton, led by US Navy Capt William Mervine
William Mervine
William Mervine was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, whose career included service in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.-Biography:...

, but were repulsed in the Battle of Dominguez Rancho
Battle of Dominguez Rancho
The Battle of Dominguez Rancho or The Battle of the Old Woman's Gun was a military engagement of the Mexican-American War...

, October 7–9, 1846, near San Pedro, where 14 US Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 were killed. Meanwhile, General Kearny
Stephen W. Kearny
Stephen Watts Kearny surname also appears as Kearney in some historic sources; August 30, 1794 October 31, 1848), was one of the foremost antebellum frontier officers of the United States Army. He is remembered for his significant contributions in the Mexican-American War, especially the conquest...

 with a much reduced squadron of 100 dragoon
Dragoon
The word dragoon originally meant mounted infantry, who were trained in horse riding as well as infantry fighting skills. However, usage altered over time and during the 18th century, dragoons evolved into conventional light cavalry units and personnel...

s finally reached California after a grueling march across New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, and the Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which straddles part of the United States-Mexico border and covers large parts of the U.S. states of Arizona and California and the northwest Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is one of the largest and hottest...

. On December 6, 1846, they fought the Battle of San Pasqual
Battle of San Pasqual
The Battle of San Pasqual, also spelled San Pascual, was a military encounter that occurred during the Mexican-American War in what is now the San Pasqual Valley community of the city of San Diego, California. On December 6 and December 7, 1846, General Stephen W...

 near San Diego, where 18 of Kearny's troop were killed—the largest number of American casualties lost in battle in California.

Stockton rescued Kearny's surrounded forces and, with their combined force, they moved northward from San Diego. Entering the present-day Orange County
Orange County, California
Orange County is a county in the U.S. state of California. Its county seat is Santa Ana. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,010,232, up from 2,846,293 at the 2000 census, making it the third most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County and San Diego County...

 area on January 8, they linked up with Frémont's northern force. With the combined American forces totaling 660 troops, they fought the Californios in the Battle of Rio San Gabriel
Battle of Rio San Gabriel
The Battle of Rio San Gabriel fought on January 8, 1847 was a decisive action of the California campaign of the Mexican-American War and occurred at a ford of the San Gabriel River, at what are today parts of the cities of Whittier, Pico Rivera and Montebello, about ten miles south-east of downtown...

. The next day, January 9, 1847, they fought the Battle of La Mesa
Battle of La Mesa
The Battle of La Mesa of the Mexican-American War occurred on January 9, 1847, in present-day Vernon, California, the day after the Battle of Rio San Gabriel during the California Campaign.-Background:...

. Three days later, on January 12, 1847, the last significant body of Californios surrendered to American forces. That marked the end of the war in California. On January 13, 1847, the Treaty of Cahuenga
Treaty of Cahuenga
The Treaty of Cahuenga, also called the "Capitulation of Cahuenga," ended the fighting of the Mexican-American War in Alta California in 1847. It was not a formal treaty between nations but an informal agreement between rival military forces in which the Californios gave up fighting...

 was signed.

On January 28, 1847, Army lieutenant William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War , for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched...

 and his army unit arrived in Monterey, as American forces continued to stream into California. On March 15, 1847, Col. Jonathan D. Stevenson
Jonathan D. Stevenson
Jonathan Drake Stevenson was born in New York; won a seat in the New York State Assembly ; was the commanding officer of the First Regiment of New York Volunteers during the Mexican-American War in California; entered California mining and real estate businesses; and died in San Francisco on...

’s Seventh Regiment of New York Volunteers of about 900 men began to arrive. All of these troops were still in California when gold was discovered in January of 1848.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

, signed on February 2, 1848, marked the end of the Mexican-American War. In that treaty, the United States agreed to pay Mexico $18,250,000; Mexico formally ceded California (and other northern territories) to the United States; and the first international boundary was drawn between the U.S. and Mexico by treaty. The previous boundary had been negotiated in 1819 between Spain and the United States in the Adams-Onís Treaty
Adams-Onís Treaty
The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty or the Purchase of Florida, was a treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819 that gave Florida to the U.S. and set out a boundary between the U.S. and New Spain . It settled a standing border dispute between the two...

, which established the present border between California and Oregon. San Diego Bay is one of the few natural harbors in California south of San Francisco, and to claim this strategic asset the southern border was slanted to include the entire bay in California.

Gold Rush



In January 1848, gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 was discovered at Sutter's Mill
Sutter's Mill
Sutter's Mill was a sawmill owned by 19th century pioneer John Sutter in partnership with James W. Marshall. It was located in Coloma, California, at the bank of the South Fork American River...

 in the Sierra Nevada foothills about 40 miles east of Sacramento
Sacramento, California
Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. It is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California's expansive Central Valley. With a population of 466,488 at the 2010 census,...

 – beginning the California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

, which had the most extensive impact on population growth of the state of any era http://www.learncalifornia.org/doc.asp?id=1934 http://americanhistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa090901a.htm.

The miners and merchants settled in towns along what is now State Highway 49, and settlements sprang up along the Siskiyou Trail
Siskiyou Trail
The Siskiyou Trail stretched from California's Central Valley to Oregon's Willamette Valley; modern-day Interstate 5 follows this pioneer path...

 as gold was discovered elsewhere in California (notably in Siskiyou County). The nearest deep-water seaport was San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

, and San Francisco became the home for bankers who financed exploration for gold.

The Gold Rush brought the world to California. By 1855, some 300,000 "Forty-Niners" had arrived from every continent; many soon left, of course—some rich, most not very rich. A precipitous drop in the Native American population occurred in the decade after the discovery of gold.

Statehood: 1849–1850


In 1847–49, California was run by the U.S. military; local government continued to be run by alcaldes (mayors) in most places; but now some were Americans. Bennett C. Riley, the last military governor, called a constitutional convention to meet in Monterey in September of 1849. Its 48 delegates were mostly pre-1846 American settlers; 8 were Californio
Californio
Californio is a term used to identify a Spanish-speaking Catholic people, regardless of race, born in California before 1848...

s. They unanimously outlawed slavery and set up a state government that operated for 10 months before California was given official statehood by Congress on September 9, 1850 as part of the Compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

. After Monterey, the state capital was variously San Jose
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

 (1850–1851), Vallejo
Vallejo, California
Vallejo is the largest city in Solano County, California, United States. The population was 115,942 at the 2010 census. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area on the northeastern shore of San Pablo Bay...

 (1852–1853) and Benicia
Benicia, California
Benicia is a waterside city in Solano County, California, United States. It was the first city in California to be founded by Anglo-Americans, and served as the state capital for nearly thirteen months from 1853 to 1854. The population was 26,997 at the 2010 census. The city is located in the San...

 (1853–1854) until Sacramento
Sacramento, California
Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. It is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California's expansive Central Valley. With a population of 466,488 at the 2010 census,...

 was finally selected in 1854.

Californios (dissatisfied with inequitable taxes and land laws) and pro slavery Southerners in lightly populated, rural Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

 attempted three times in the 1850s to achieve a separate statehood or territorial status separate from Northern California. The last attempt, the Pico Act of 1859, was passed by the California State Legislature
California State Legislature
The California State Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of California. It is a bicameral body consisting of the lower house, the California State Assembly, with 80 members, and the upper house, the California State Senate, with 40 members...

, signed by the State governor, approved overwhelmingly by voters in the proposed Territory of Colorado and sent to Washington D. C. with a strong advocate in Senator Milton Latham
Milton Latham
Milton Slocum Latham was an American politician, and served as the sixth Governor of California and as a member of the federal U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Latham holds the distinction of having the shortest governorship in California history, lasting for five days between...

. However the secession crisis in 1860 led to the proposal never coming to a vote.

The Civil War



Because of the distance factor, California played a minor role in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Although some settlers sympathized with the Confederacy, they were not allowed to organize and their newspapers were closed down. Former Senator William M. Gwin
William M. Gwin
William McKendree Gwin was an American medical doctor and politician.Born near Gallatin, Tennessee, his father, the Reverend James Gwin, was a pioneer Methodist minister under the Rev. William McKendree, his son's namesake. Rev. James Gwin also served as a soldier on the frontier under General...

, a Confederate sympathizer, was arrested and fled to Europe. Powerful capitalists dominated in Californian politics through their control of mines, shipping, and finance controlled the state through the new Republican party. Nearly all the men who volunteered as soldiers stayed in the West to guard facilities, suppress secessionists or fight the Indians. Some 2,350 men in the California Column
California Column
The California Column, a force of Union volunteers, marched from April to August 1862 over 900 miles from California, across the southern New Mexico Territory to the Rio Grande and then into western Texas during the American Civil War. At the time, this was the longest trek through desert terrain...

 marched east across Arizona in 1862 to expel the Confederates from Arizona and New Mexico. The California Column then spent most of the remaider of the war fighting hostile Indians in the area.

Labor


In his maiden speech before the United States Senate, California Senator David C. Broderick stated, "There is no place in the Union, no place on earth, where labor is so honored and so well rewarded..." as in California. Early immigrants to California came with skills in many trades and some had come from places where workers were being organized. California's labor movements began in San Francisco, the only large city in California for decades and once the center of trade-unionism west of the Rockies. Los Angeles remained an open-shop stronghold for half a century until unions from the north collaborated to make California a union state. Because of San Francisco's relative isolation, skilled workers could make demands that their counterparts on the East coast could not. Printers first attempted to organize in 1850, teamsters, draymen, lightermen, riggers and stevedores in 1851, bakers and bricklayers in 1852, caulkers, carpenters, plasterers, brickmasons, blacksmiths and shipwrights in 1853 and musicians in 1856. All these efforts required several starts to become stabilized, they did earn better pay and working conditions and began the long efforts of state labor legislation. Between 1850 and 1870, legislation making provisions for payment of wages, the mechanic's lien and the eight hour day. It was said that during the last half of the nineteenth century more of San Francisco's workers enjoyed an eight hour day than any other American city. The molders' and boilermakers' strike of 1864 was called in opposition to a newly formed iron-works employers association which threatened a one thousand dollar a day fine on any employer who granted the strikers' demands and had wired for strikebreakers across the country. The San Francisco Trades Union, the city's first central labor body sent a delegation to meet a boatload of strikebreakers at Panama and educated them. They arrived in San Francisco as enrolled union members.

After the Civil War ended in 1865, California continued to grow rapidly. Independent miners were largely displaced by large corporate mining operations. Railroads began to be built, and both the railroad companies and the mining companies began to hire large numbers of laborers. The decisive event was the opening of the transcontinental railroad in 1869; six days by train brought a traveler from Chicago to San Francisco, compared to six months by ship. The era of comparative protection for California labor ended with the arrival of the railroad. For decades after, labor oppressed the Chinese and politicians pushed anti-Chinese legislation.

Importation of slaves or so-called "contract" labor was fought by miners and city workers and made illegal through legislation in 1852.

The first statewide federated labor body was the Mechanics' State Council that championed the eight-hour day against the employers' 1867 "Ten Hour League". The Council affiliated with the National Labor Union
National Labor Union
The National Labor Union was the first national labor federation in the United States. Founded in 1866 and dissolved in 1873, it paved the way for other organizations, such as the Knights of Labor and the AF of L . It was led by William H...

, America's first national union effort. By 1872 Chinese workers comprised half of all factory workers in San Francisco and were paid wages far below white workers. "The Chinese must Go!" was the slogan of Denis Kearney, a prominent labor leader in San Francisco. He appeared on the scene in 1877 and led sandlot vigilantes that roamed the city beating Chinese and wrecking their businesses.

Twice the seamen of the west coast had tried to organize a union, but were defeated. In 1875, the Seaman's Protective Association was established and began the struggle for wages and conditions on ships. The effort was joined by Henry George
Henry George
Henry George was an American writer, politician and political economist, who was the most influential proponent of the land value tax, also known as the "single tax" on land...

, editor of the San Francisco Post. The legislative struggle to enforce laws against brutal ship's captains and the requirement that two-thirds of sailors be Americans was proposed and the effort was carried for thirty years by Andrew Furuseth
Andrew Furuseth
Andrew Furuseth of Romedal, Norway was a merchant seaman and an American labor leader. Furuseth was active in the formation of two influential maritime unions: the Sailors' Union of the Pacific and the International Seamen's Union, and served as the executive of both for decades.Furuseth was...

 and the Sailors' Union of the Pacific
Sailors' Union of the Pacific
The Sailors' Union of the Pacific founded on March 6, 1885 in San Francisco, California is an American labor union of mariners, fishermen and boatmen working aboard U.S. flag vessels....

 after 1908, and the International Seamen's Union of America. The Coast's Seamen's Journal was founded in 1887, for years the most important labor journal in California.

Concurrently, waterfront organizing led to the Maritime Federation of the Pacific.

see: History of California 1900 to present
History of California 1900 to present
This article continues the history of California in the years 1900 and later; for events through 1899, see History of California to 1899. After 1900, California became an industrial power...

.

Labor politics and the rise of Nativism


Thousands of Chinese men arrived in California to work as laborers, recruited by industry as low wage workers. Over time, conflicts in the gold fields and cities created prejudices between white and Chinese laborers. During the decade long depression after the rranscontinental railroad was completed, white workers began to lay blame on the Chinese laborers. Many Chinese were expelled from the mine fields. Some returned to China after the Central Pacific was built. Those who stayed mostly moved to the Chinatown in San Francisco and a few other cities, where they were relatively safe from violent attacks they suffered elsewhere.

From 1850 through 1900, anti-Chinese nativist sentiment resulted in the passage of innumerable laws, many of which remained in effect well into the middle of the 20th century. The most flagrant episode was probably the creation and ratification of a new state constitution in 1879. Thanks to vigorous lobbying by the anti-Chinese Workingmen's Party, led by Denis Kearney (an immigrant from Ireland), Article XIX, Section 4 forbade corporations from hiring Chinese "coolies", and empowered all California cities and counties to completely expel Chinese persons or to limit where they could reside. The law was repealed in 1952.

The 1879 constitutional convention also dispatched a message to Congress pleading for strong immigration restrictions, which led to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act
Chinese Exclusion Act (United States)
The Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law signed by Chester A. Arthur on May 8, 1882, following revisions made in 1880 to the Burlingame Treaty of 1868. Those revisions allowed the U.S. to suspend immigration, and Congress subsequently acted quickly to implement the suspension of...

 in 1882. The Act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1889, and it would not be repealed by Congress until 1943. Similar sentiments led to the development of the Gentlemen's Agreement with Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, by which Japan voluntarily agreed to restrict emigration to the United States. California also passed an Alien Land Act
California Alien Land Law of 1913
The California Alien Land Law of 1913 prohibited "aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning land or property, but permitted three-year leases. It affected the Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Korean immigrant farmers in California. It passed thirty-five to two in the Senate and seventy-two to...

 which barred aliens, especially Asians
Asian people
Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

, from holding title to land. Because it was difficult for people born in Asia to obtain U.S. citizenship until the 1960s, land ownership titles were held by their American-born children, who were full citizens. The law was overturned by the California Supreme Court as unconstitutional in 1952.

In 1886, when a Chinese laundry
Laundry
Laundry is a noun that refers to the act of washing clothing and linens, the place where that washing is done, and/or that which needs to be, is being, or has been laundered...

 owner challenged the constitutionality of a San Francisco ordinance clearly designed to drive Chinese laundries out of business, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor, and in doing so, laid the theoretical foundation for modern equal protection constitutional law. See Yick Wo v. Hopkins
Yick Wo v. Hopkins
Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 , was the first case where the United States Supreme Court ruled that a law that is race-neutral on its face, but is administered in a prejudicial manner, is an infringement of the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S...

, 118 U.S. 356 (1886). Meanwhile, even with severe restrictions on Asian immigration, tensions between unskilled workers and wealthy landowners persisted up to and through the Great Depression. Novelist Jack London
Jack London
John Griffith "Jack" London was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone...

 writes of the struggles of workers in the city of Oakland
Oakland, California
Oakland is a major West Coast port city on San Francisco Bay in the U.S. state of California. It is the eighth-largest city in the state with a 2010 population of 390,724...

 in his visionary classic, Valley of the Moon, a title evoking the pristine situation of Sonoma County
Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County, located on the northern coast of the U.S. state of California, is the largest and northernmost of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. Its population at the 2010 census was 483,878. Its largest city and county seat is Santa Rosa....

 between sea and mountains, Redwoods and Oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

s, fog and sunshine.

Rise of the railroads



The establishment of America's transcontinental rail lines permanently linked California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 to the rest of the country, and the far-reaching transportation systems that grew out of them during the century that followed contributed immeasurably to the state’s unrivaled social, political, and economic development.

See also

  • California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

  • Las Californias
    Las Californias
    The Californias, or in — - was the name given by the Spanish to their northwestern territory of New Spain, comprising the present day states of Baja California and Baja California Sur on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico; and the present day U.S. state of California in the United States of...

  • Alta California
    Alta California
    Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

  • List of pre-statehood governors of California
  • Maritime history of California
    Maritime history of California
    Maritime history of California is a term used to describe significant ships and uses of the Pacific Ocean near the California coast. This Maritime history includes the historical use of water craft such as: dugouts, canoes, sailing ships, steamships, fisheries, shipbuilding, Gold Rush shipping,...

  • Politics of California to 1899
    Politics of California to 1899
    -Statehood :Following the declaration of the independent California Republic in 1846, and the armed conquest of California by United States military forces and American volunteers during the Mexican-American War, California was administered by the U.S. military from 1846 to 1850...

  • Calafia
  • Cali (disambiguation)
    Cali (disambiguation)
    Cali may refer to:* Santiago de Cali, the capital of the Valle del Cauca department in Colombia* Slang or short for California, a western state in the United States* Cali , a French singer* Cali or Calì, is an Italian surname...

  • Origin of the name California
    Origin of the name California
    California is a place name used by three North American states: in the United States by the state of California, and in Mexico by the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. Collectively, these three areas constitute the region formerly referred to as Las Californias...

  • History of the west coast of North America
    History of the west coast of North America
    The human history of the west coast of North America is believed to stretch back to the arrival of the earliest people over the Bering Strait, or alternately along a now-submerged coastal plain, through the development of significant pre-Columbian cultures and population densities, to the arrival...


Surveys

  • Hubert Howe Bancroft. The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, vol 18-24, History of California to 1890; complete text online; written in the 1880s, this is the most detailed history,
  • Robert W. Cherny, Richard Griswold del Castillo, and Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo. Competing Visions: A History of California (2005), new textbook
  • Gutierrez, Ramon A. and Richard J. Orsi (ed.) Contested Eden: California before the Gold Rush (1998), essays by scholars
  • Carolyn Merchant, ed. Green Versus Gold: Sources In California's Environmental History (1998) readings in primary and secondary sources 8th edition of standard textbook
  • Rice, Richard B., William A. Bullough, and Richard J. Orsi. Elusive Eden: A New History of California 3rd ed (2001), standard textbook
  • Rolle, Andrew F. . California: A History 6th ed. (2003), standard textbook
  • Starr, Kevin California: A History (2005), interpretive history
  • Sucheng, Chan, and Spencer C. Olin, eds. Major Problems in California History (1996), primary and secondary documents

to 1846

, primary sources
  • Charles E. Chapman; A History of California: The Spanish Period Macmillan, 1991
  • Albert L. Hurtado, John Sutter: A Life on the North American Frontier (2006) University of Oklahoma Press
    University of Oklahoma Press
    The University of Oklahoma Press is the publishing arm of the University of Oklahoma. It has been in operation for over seventy-five years, and was the first university press established in the American Southwest. It was founded by William Bennett Bizzell, the fifth president of the University of...

    , 416 pp. ISBN 0-8061-3772-X.
  • Kent Lightfoot. Indians, Missionaries, and Merchants: The Legacy of Colonial Encounters on the California Frontiers (2004)

1846–1900


External links


  • http://nchs.ucla.edu/