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Alta California ('Upper California'), also known as ('New California'), among other names, was a province of
New Spain New Spain, officially the Viceroyalty of New Spain ( es, Virreinato de Nueva España, ), or Kingdom of New Spain, was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as th ...

New Spain
, formally established in 1804. Along with the
Baja California peninsula The Baja California Peninsula ( en, Lower California Peninsula, es, Península de Baja California) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while be ...
, it had previously comprised the province of , but was split off into a separate province in 1804 (named ). Following the
Mexican War of Independence The Mexican War of Independence ( es, Guerra de Independencia de México, links=no, 16 September 1810 – 27 September 1821) was an armed conflict and political process resulting in Mexico's independence from Spain. It was not a single, c ...
, it became a territory of
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...
in April 1822 and was renamed in 1824. The claimed territory included all of the modern U.S. states of
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
,
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
, and
Utah Utah ( , ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado, to its northeast by Wyoming, to its north by Idaho, to its so ...

Utah
, and parts of
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States, Southwestern region of the United States. It is also usually considered part of the Mountain States, Mountain states. It is th ...

Arizona
,
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. The List of U.S. states and territories by area, 10th largest state by area, it is also the List of U.S. states and territories b ...
,
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain West The Mountain West Conference (MW) is one of the collegiate athletic conferences affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association The National Collegiate Athletic ...

Colorado
, and
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...

New Mexico
. In the 1836
Siete Leyes ''Las Siete Leyes'' (, or Seven Laws were a series of constitutional changes that fundamentally altered the organizational structure of Mexico, ending the First Mexican Republic, first federal period and creating a unitary republic, the Centralis ...
government reorganization, the two Californias were once again combined (as a single ). That change was undone in 1846, but rendered moot by the U.S. military occupation of California in the
Mexican-American War Mexican Americans ( es, mexicano-estadounidenses or ) are Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals of the United States of America.; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney Genera ...
. Neither Spain nor Mexico ever colonized the area beyond the southern and central coastal areas of present-day California and small areas of present-day Arizona, so they exerted no effective control in modern-day California north of the Sonoma area, or east of the
California Coast Ranges The Coast Ranges of California California is a in the . With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the and the U.S. state by area. It is also the in North America and the in the world. The area ...

California Coast Ranges
. Most interior areas such as the Central Valley and the
deserts of California The Deserts of California have unique ecosystem An ecosystem is a community (ecology), community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. These Biotic component, biotic and ...
remained in de facto possession of
indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), or autochthonous peoples, are culturally distinct e ...
until later in the Mexican era when more inland
land grants A land grant is a gift of real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also ...
were made, and especially after 1841 when overland immigrants from the United States began to settle inland areas. Large areas east of the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges were claimed to be part of Alta California but were never colonized. To the southeast, beyond the deserts and the
Colorado River The Colorado River ( es, Río Colorado) is one of the principal rivers (along with the Rio Grande) in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The river drains an expansive, arid drainage basin, watershed that encompasses parts of ...

Colorado River
, lay the . Alta California ceased to exist as an administrative division separate from
Baja California Baja CaliforniaSometimes informally referred to as ('North Lower California') to distinguish it from both the Baja California Peninsula The Baja California Peninsula ( en, Lower California Peninsula, es, Península de Baja California) is a ...
in 1836, when the ''
Siete Leyes ''Las Siete Leyes'' (, or Seven Laws were a series of constitutional changes that fundamentally altered the organizational structure of Mexico, ending the First Mexican Republic, first federal period and creating a unitary republic, the Centralis ...
'' constitutional reforms in Mexico re-established Las Californias as a unified department, granting it (in some ways) more autonomy. Most of the areas formerly comprising Alta California to the United States in the
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ( es, Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo), officially titled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, is the peace treaty A peace treaty i ...

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
that ended the
Mexican–American War The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the (''U.S. intervention in Mexico''), was an armed conflict between the United States and Second Federal Republic of Mexico, Mexico from 1846 ...

Mexican–American War
in 1848. Two years later, California joined the union as the 31st state. Other parts of Alta California also became all or part of the later states of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming.


Spanish colonization

The Spanish explored the coastal area of Alta California by sea beginning in the 16th century and prospected the area as a domain of the Spanish monarchy. During the following two centuries there were various plans to settle the area, including
Sebastián Vizcaíno Sebastián Vizcaíno (1548–1624) was a Spanish soldier, entrepreneur, explorer, and diplomat whose varied roles took him to New Spain, the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of ...
's expedition in 1602–03 preparatory to colonization planned for 1606–07, which was canceled in 1608. Between 1683 and 1834,
Jesuit , image = Ihs-logo.svg , caption = Christogram A Christogram (Latin ') is a monogram or combination of letters that forms an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ, traditionally used as a Christian symbolism ...
and
Franciscan , image = FrancescoCoA PioM.svg , image_size = 250px , caption = A cross, Christ's arm and Saint Francis's arm, a universal symbol of the Franciscans , abbreviation = OFM , predecessor = , m ...
missionaries established a series of religious outposts from today's
Baja California Baja CaliforniaSometimes informally referred to as ('North Lower California') to distinguish it from both the Baja California Peninsula The Baja California Peninsula ( en, Lower California Peninsula, es, Península de Baja California) is a ...
and
Baja California Sur Baja California Sur (; en, "South Lower California"), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Baja California Sur ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur), is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted ...

Baja California Sur
into present-day California. The ''cortes'' (legislature) of New Spain issued a decree in 1813 for at least partial secularization that affected all missions in America and was to apply to all outposts that had operated for ten years or more; however, the decree was never enforced in California. Father
Eusebio Kino Eusebio Francisco Kino ( it, Eusebio Francesco Chini, es, Eusebio Francisco Kino; 10 August 1645 – 15 March 1711), often referred to as Father Kino, was a Tyrolean Jesuit , image = Ihs-logo.svg , caption = Chr ...
missionized the Pimería Alta from 1687 until his death in 1711. Plans in 1715 by Juan Manuel de Oliván Rebolledo resulted in a 1716 decree for extension of the conquest (of Baja California) which came to nothing. Juan Bautista de Anssa proposed an expedition from Sonora in 1737 and the
Council of the Indies The Council of the Indies; officially, the Royal and Supreme Council of the Indies ( es, Real y Supremo Consejo de las Indias, ), was the most important administrative organ of the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, Imperio Español; la, I ...
planned settlements in 1744. Don Fernando Sánchez Salvador researched the earlier proposals and suggested the area of the Gila and Colorado Rivers as the locale for forts or presidios preventing the French or the English from "occupying
Monterey Monterey ( es, Monterrey; Ohlone: ') is a city located in Monterey County on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on the U.S. state of California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residen ...
and invading the neighboring coasts of California which are at the mouth of the Carmel River." Alta California was not easily accessible from New Spain: land routes were cut off by deserts and often hostile Native populations and sea routes ran counter to the southerly currents of the distant northeastern Pacific. Ultimately, New Spain did not have the economic resources nor population to settle such a far northern outpost. Spanish interest in colonizing Alta California was revived under the ''visita'' of
José de Gálvez José is a predominantly Spanish and Portuguese form of the given name Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef. The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongsid ...

José de Gálvez
as part of his plans to completely reorganize the governance of the Interior Provinces and push Spanish settlement further north. In subsequent decades, news of Russian colonization and
maritime fur trading The maritime fur trade was a ship-based fur trade system that focused on acquiring furs of sea otters and other animals from the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and Alaska Natives, natives of Alaska. The furs were mostly sold in ...
in Alaska, and the 1768 naval expedition of
Pyotr KrenitsynPyotr Kuzmich Krenitsyn (russian: Пётр Кузьмич Креницын) (1728 - July 4, 1770), spelt "Krenitzin" in the United States, was a Russian explorer and Captain/Lieutenant of the Imperial Russian Navy. Following Vitus Bering's 1741 trag ...
and
Mikhail Levashev Mikhail Dmitrievich Levashov (russian: Михаи́л Дми́триевич Левашо́в; c. 1738–1774-76) was a Russian explorer and Lieutenant of the Imperial Russian Navy. After Vitus Bering's 1741 tragic venture he was, together with Pete ...
, in particular, alarmed the Spanish government and served to justify Gálvez's vision. To ascertain the Russian threat, a number of
Spanish expeditions to the Pacific Northwest Spanish expeditions to the Pacific Northwest were undertaken several times during the Age of Exploration. Spanish claims to the Pacific Northwest The Pacific Northwest (PNW), sometimes referred to as Cascadia, is a geographic region in weste ...
were launched. In preparation for settlement of Alta California, the northern, mainland region of Las Californias was granted to
Franciscan missionaries The Franciscans are a group of related Mendicant orders, mendicant Christianity, Christian Catholic religious order, religious orders, primarily within the Catholic Church. Founded in 1209 by Saint Francis of Assisi, these orders include the Ord ...
to convert the Native population to
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...

Catholicism
, following a model that had been used for over a century in
Baja California Baja CaliforniaSometimes informally referred to as ('North Lower California') to distinguish it from both the Baja California Peninsula The Baja California Peninsula ( en, Lower California Peninsula, es, Península de Baja California) is a ...
. The Spanish Crown funded the construction and subsidized the operation of the missions, with the goal that the relocation, conversion and enforced labor of Native people would bolster Spanish rule. The first Alta California
mission Mission may refer to: Religion *Mission (station) A religious mission or mission station is a location for missionary work, in particular Christian missions. History Historically, missions have been religious communities used to spread ...
and
presidio A presidio ( en, jail, fortification) was a fortified base established by the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Mo ...
were established by the Franciscan friar
Junípero Serra Junípero Serra y Ferrer (; ; ca, Juníper Serra i Ferrer; November 24, 1713August 28, 1784) was a Spanish Roman Catholic priest and missionary of the Franciscan Order. He is credited with establishing the Franciscan Missions in the Sierra ...

Junípero Serra
and
Gaspar de Portolá Gaspar de Portolá ( ca, Gaspar de Portolà i Rovira; 1716–1786) was a Spanish military officer and administrator, famous for leading the Portolà expedition into California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United Stat ...

Gaspar de Portolá
in
San Diego San Diego ( , ; ) is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Mexico–United States border, Mexican border. With a 2020 population of 1,386,932, San Diego is the List of United ...

San Diego
in 1769. The following year, 1770, the second
mission Mission may refer to: Religion *Mission (station) A religious mission or mission station is a location for missionary work, in particular Christian missions. History Historically, missions have been religious communities used to spread ...
and
presidio A presidio ( en, jail, fortification) was a fortified base established by the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Mo ...
were founded in Monterey. In 1773 a boundary between the Baja California missions (whose control had been passed to the
Dominicans Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic ( , stress on the "mi"), on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles, in the Caribbean ** People of the Dominican Republic ** Demographics of the Domin ...
) and the Franciscan missions of Alta California was set by
Francisco Palóu Francisco is the Spanish and Portuguese form of the masculine given name '' Franciscus''. In Spanish, people with the name Francisco are sometimes nicknamed " Paco": San Francisco de Asís was known as Pater Comunitatis (The Community father) whe ...
. The missionary effort coincided with the construction of
presidio A presidio ( en, jail, fortification) was a fortified base established by the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Mo ...

presidio
s and
pueblos The Puebloans or Pueblo peoples, are Native Americans in the Southwestern United States who share common agricultural, material, and religious practices. Pueblo, which means "village" in Spanish, was a term originating with the Colonial Spanish ...
, which were to be manned and populated by
Hispanic The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano) refers to people, cultures Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and B ...
people. The first pueblo founded was San José in 1777, followed by Los Ángeles in 1781. (
Branciforte Branciforte, originally named Villa de Branciforte, was the last of only three secular ''pueblos'' founded by the Spain, Spanish colonial government of Alta California. The pueblo was established in 1797 on the eastern bluff of the San Lorenzo Rive ...

Branciforte
, founded in 1797, failed to maintain enough settlers to be granted pueblo status.) Spain also settled the
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
region with a number of African and
mulatto Mulatto (, ) is a Race (human categorization), racial classification to refer to people of mixed Sub-Saharan African, African and Ethnic groups in Europe, European ancestry. Its use is considered outdated and offensive. A mulatta (Spanish: ''mu ...

mulatto
Catholics, including at least ten of the recently re-discovered Los Pobladores, the founders of Los Angeles.


Spanish rule

By law, mission land and property were to pass to the indigenous population after a period of about ten years, when the natives would become Spanish subjects. In the interim period, the Franciscans were to act as mission administrators who held the land in trust for the Native residents. The Franciscans, however, prolonged their control over the missions even after control of Alta California passed from Spain to independent Mexico, and continued to run the missions until they were secularized, beginning in 1833. The transfer of property never occurred under the Franciscans. As the number of Spanish settlers grew in Alta California, the boundaries and natural resources of the mission properties became disputed. Conflicts between the Crown and the Church and between Natives and settlers arose. State and ecclesiastical bureaucrats debated over authority of the missions. The Franciscan priests of
Mission Santa Clara de Asís Mission Santa Clara de Asís is a Spanish mission in the city of Santa Clara, California Santa Clara (; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , ...
sent a petition to the governor in 1782 which stated that the
Mission Indians Mission Indians are the indigenous peoples of California who lived in Southern California and were forcibly relocated from their traditional dwellings, villages, and homelands to live and work at 15 Franciscan Spanish missions in California, miss ...

Mission Indians
owned both the land and cattle and represented the
Ohlone The Ohlone, formerly known as Costanoans (from Spanish ''costeño'' meaning "coast dweller"), are a Native American people of the Northern California Northern California (colloquially known as NorCal) is a geographic and cultural region that ...
against the Spanish settlers in nearby San José. The priests reported that Indians' crops were being damaged by the pueblo settlers' livestock and that the settlers' livestock was also "getting mixed up with the livestock belonging to the Indians from the mission" causing losses. They advocated that the Natives owned property and had the right to defend it. In 1804, due to the growth of the Spanish population in new northern settlements, the province of Las Californias was divided just south of San Diego, following mission president Francisco Palóu's division between the Dominican and Franciscan jurisdictions. Governor
Diego de Borica Diego de Borica (1742–1800) was a Basque people, Basque colonial List of Governors of California before 1850, Governor of the Californias, from 1794 to 1800. Family Diego de Borica y Retegui was born in Vitoria-Gasteiz to a family holding ties w ...
is credited with defining Alta (upper) and 's official borders. The
Adams–Onís Treaty The Adams–Onís Treaty () of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty, the Florida Purchase Treaty, or the Florida Treaty,Weeks, p.168. was a treaty between the United States and Spanish Empire, Spain in 1819 that ceded Spanish Florida, F ...
of 1819, between the United States and Spain, established the northern limit of Alta California at latitude 42°N, which remains the boundary between the states of California, Nevada and Utah (to the south) and Oregon and Idaho (to the north) to this day. Mexico won independence in 1821, and Alta California became a territory of Mexico the next year.


Ranchos

The Spanish and later Mexican governments rewarded retired '' soldados de cuera'' with large land grants, known as ''ranchos'', for the raising of
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
and
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species ...

sheep
. Hides and
tallow Tallow is a rendering (industrial), rendered form of beef or mutton fat, primarily made up of triglycerides. In industry, tallow is not strictly defined as beef or mutton fat. In this context, tallow is animal fat that conforms to certain techni ...

tallow
from the livestock were the primary exports of California until the mid-19th century. The construction, ranching and domestic work on these vast estates was primarily done by Native Americans, who had learned to speak Spanish and ride horses. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the
population of Native California The population of Native California refers to the population In biology, a population is a number of all the organisms of the same group or species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification ...
ns died from European diseases. Under Spanish and Mexican rule the ranchos prospered and grew. ''Rancheros'' (cattle ranchers) and ''pobladores'' (townspeople) evolved into the unique
Californio Californios are Hispanic The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano) refers to people, cultures Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (Brit ...
culture.


Independent Mexico

Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
gained independence from Spain on August 24, 1821, upon conclusion of the decade-long
Mexican War of Independence The Mexican War of Independence ( es, Guerra de Independencia de México, links=no, 16 September 1810 – 27 September 1821) was an armed conflict and political process resulting in Mexico's independence from Spain. It was not a single, c ...
. As the
successor state Successor is someone who, or something which succeeds or comes after (see success and succession) Film and TV * ''The Successor'' (film), a 1996 film including Laura Girling * ''The Successor'' (TV program), a 2007 Israeli television program Mu ...
to the Viceroyalty of New Spain, Mexico automatically included the provinces of Alta California and Baja California as territories. Alta California declared allegiance to the new Mexican nation and elected a representative to be sent to Mexico. On November 9, 1822, the first legislature of California was created. With the establishment of a republican government in 1824, Alta California, like many northern territories, was not recognized as one of the constituent
States of Mexico The states of Mexico are first-level administrative territorial entities of the country of Mexico, which officially is named United Mexican States Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican States (; EUM ), ...
because of its small population. The 1824 Constitution of Mexico refers to Alta California as a "territory". Resentment was increasing toward appointed governors sent from Mexico City, who came with little knowledge of local conditions and concerns. Laws were imposed by the central government without much consideration of local conditions, such as the
Mexican secularization act of 1833 The Mexican Secularization Act of 1833, officially called the Decree for the Secularization of the Missions of California, was an act passed by the Congress of the Union The Congress of the Union ( es, Congreso de la Unión), formally know ...
, causing friction between governors and the people. In 1836, Mexico repealed the 1824 federalist constitution and adopted a more centralist political organization (under the " Seven Laws") that reunited Alta and Baja California in a single California Department (). See "República Centralista (México)" in the Spanish version of Wikipedia The change, however, had little practical effect in far-off Alta California. The capital of Alta California remained Monterey, as it had been since the 1769
Portola expeditionPortola may refer to: * ''Portola'' (album), a 1998 album by Rose Melberg * Portola, California * Portola, San Francisco, California People with the surname * Gaspar de Portolá (ca. 1717-aft.1784), Spanish soldier, first governor of the Californi ...
first established a military/civil government, and the local political structures were unchanged. The friction came to a head in 1836, when Monterey-born
Juan Bautista Alvarado Juan Bautista Valentín Alvarado y Vallejo (February 14, 1809 – July 13, 1882) was a Californio politician that served as Governor of Alta California from 1837-42. Prior to his term as governor, Alvarado briefly led a movement for independence ...
led a revolt against the 1836 constitution, seizing control of Monterey from
Nicolás Gutiérrez Lieutenant Colonel Lieutenant colonel ( or ) is a rank of commissioned officer in the army, armies, most Marine (armed services), marine forces and some air forces of the world, above a major and below a colonel. Several police forces in the Un ...
. Alvarado's actions nearly led to a civil war with loyalist forces based in Los Angeles, but a ceasefire was arranged. After an unsettled period, Alvarado agreed to support the 1839 constitution, and Mexico City appointed him to serve as governor from 1837 to 1842. Other ''Californio'' governors followed, including
Carlos Antonio Carrillo Carlos Antonio Carrillo (24 December 1783 – 23 February 1852) was a Californio Californios are Hispanic people native to the U.S. state of California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million ...
, and
Pío Pico Don Pío de Jesús Pico (May 5, 1801 – September 11, 1894) was a Californio politician, ranchero, and entrepreneur, famous for serving as the last Governor of Alta California (present-day California) under Mexican rule. A member of the promin ...
. The last non-Californian governor,
Manuel Micheltorena Joseph Manuel María Joaquin Micheltorena y Llano (8 June 1804 – 7 September 1853) was a brigadier general of the Mexican Army, adjutant-general of the same, governor, commandant-general and inspector of the department of Alta California, then wi ...

Manuel Micheltorena
, was driven out after another rebellion in 1845. Micheltorena was replaced by Pío Pico, last Mexican governor of California, who served until 1846 when the U.S. military occupation began.


Mexican–American War

In the final decades of Mexican rule, American and European immigrants arrived and settled in the former Alta California. Those in
Southern California Southern California (sometimes known as SoCal; es, Sur de California) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the southern portion of the U.S. state of California California is a in the . With over 39.3million resi ...

Southern California
mainly settled in and around the established coastal settlements and tended to intermarry with the Californios. In Northern California, they mainly formed new settlements further inland, especially in the
Sacramento Valley , photo =Sacramento Riverfront.jpg , photo_caption= Sacramento , map_image=Map california central valley.jpg , map_caption= The Central Valley of California , location = California, United States , coordinates = , boundaries = Sierra Nevada (ea ...
, and these immigrants focused on fur-trapping and farming and kept apart from the Californios. In 1846, following reports of the annexation of
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambigu ...

Texas
to the United States, American settlers in inland Northern California took up arms, captured the Mexican garrison town of Sonoma, and declared independence there as the
California Republic The California Republic ( es, La República de California), or Bear Flag Republic, was an unrecognized breakaway state from Mexico, that for 25 days in 1846 militarily controlled an area north of San Francisco, in and around what is now S ...
. At the same time, the United States and Mexico had gone to war, and forces of the
United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = "Anchors Aweigh" , mascot = , equipment = List of equipment of the United St ...
entered into Alta California and took possession of the northern port cities of Monterey and San Francisco. The forces of the California Republic, upon encountering the United States Navy and, from them, learning of the state of war between Mexico and the United States, abandoned their independence and proceeded to assist the United States forces in securing the remainder of Alta California. The California Republic was never recognized by any nation and existed for less than one month, but its flag (the "Bear Flag") survives as the flag of the State of California. After the United States Navy's seizure of the cities of southern California, the Californios formed irregular units, which were victorious in the Siege of Los Angeles, and after the arrival of the
United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) and consists ma ...
, fought in the
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 San Diego (, ; ) is a city ...

Battle of San Pasqual
and the Battle of Domínguez Rancho. But the Californios were defeated in subsequent encounters, the battles of Battle of Rio San Gabriel, Río San Gabriel and Battle of La Mesa, La Mesa. The southern Californios formally surrendered with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847. After twenty-seven years as part of independent Mexico, California was ceded to the United States in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The United States paid Mexico United States dollar#History, $15 million for the Mexican Cession, lands ceded.


Spanish governors

* 1804 – 25 July 1814 José Joaquín de Arrillaga * 25 July 1814 – 15 August 1815 José Darío Argüello (acting) * 15 August 1815 – 11 April 1822 Pablo Vicente de Solá For Mexican governors see List of Governors of California before admission


Flags that have flown over California

For even more Californian flags see:


In popular culture

* In the second half of the 19th century, there was a San Francisco-based newspaper called ''The Daily Alta California'' (or ''The Alta Californian''). Mark Twain's first widely successful book, ''The Innocents Abroad'', was an edited collection of letters written for this publication. * In the 1998 film, ''The Mask of Zorro'', fictional former Governor Don Rafael Montero plans to purchase the area from Mexico to set up an independent republic, roughly corresponding to historical Alta California. * The Carl Barks comic book ''Donald Duck in Old California!'' provided a glimpse into the lives of the Californios.


See also

* History of California through 1899 * Territorial evolution of California * Landing of the first Filipinos


References

Footnotes Citations


Further reading


''Album of Views of the Missions of California''
Souvenir Publishing Company, San Francisco, Los Angeles, 1890s. *Beebe, Rose Marie (2001). ''Lands of Promise and Despair: Chronicles of Early California, 1535–1846''. Berkeley: Heyday Books. * Blomquist, L.R., A Regional Study of the Changes in Life and Institutions in the San Luis Obispo District, 1830–1850 (M.A. thesis, History Department, University of California, Berkeley, 1943). Source consulted by Ryan & Breschini (2010). * Breschini, G.S., T. Haversat, and R.P. Hampson, A Cultural Resources Overview of the Coast and Coast-Valley Study Areas [California] (Coyote Press, Salinas, CA, 1983). Source consulted by Ryan & Breschini (2010).
California Mission Sketches by Henry Miller, 1856
an
Finding Aid to the Documents relating to Missions of the Californias : typescript, 1768–1802
at the Bancroft Library *Fink, Augusta (1972). ''Monterey, The Presence of the Past.'' San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. * *Milliken, Randall (1995). ''A Time of Little Choice: The Disintegration of Tribal Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area 1769–1910.'' Menlo Park, CA: Ballena Press Publication.
''The Missions of California''
by Eugene Leslie Smyth, Chicago: Alexander Belford & Co., 1899.


External links



*Alta Californi
grants in
University of California, UC Library System ''Calisphere''
Mexican Land Grants of Santa Clara County
at th
University of California, Berkeley, Earth Sciences & Map Library
{{Thirteen Colonies The Californias, * Mexican California, New Spain Former Spanish colonies Former states of Mexico Independent Mexico 1804 in Alta California 1804 establishments in Alta California 1804 establishments in New Spain States and territories established in 1804 1846 disestablishments in Alta California States and territories disestablished in 1846 Former administrative territorial entities in North America Spanish-speaking countries and territories