The History of California


The history of California is a long, complex one. After America was colonized in the 1700s, settlers arrived and attempted to establish a permanent colony. The Native Californians resisted American occupation, but were ultimately unsuccessful. This led to many conflicts between the settlers and natives with the Californian government trying to mediate between their two groups in order to preserve peace. In 1848, gold was discovered near Sutter’s Mill which led California into statehood as part of the United States in 1850. California indian student killed was homesteading permitted.

For many years, California tried to grow as a state because of its lush Pacific coastline and specific climate, but as the twentieth century got underway, the state’s economy began to stagnate. The population decreased dramatically with 50% leaving California between 1910 and 1930. In the 1930s, California underwent a period in which it suffered from a lot of economic problems including unemployment, poverty and crime but also great innovations such as electronics. 

The History of California :

1. The First Europeans to California. Spanish Explorers

In 1534, the Spanish explorer, Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo was the first European to come to California. He traveled along the coast with a caravel and discovered San Diego Bay and Monterey at the mouth of Carmel River. Then, in 1542, Juan Sebastian del Cano came to San Diego Bay with another expedition. 

After this first landing, Spain tried for many years to colonize California which led them to sending crews of six ships that were carrying settlers and supplies towards what is now known as San Diego. One of these ships was called “San Salvador” but it was wrecked off of Point Reyes on Nov 27th., 1603 . The other ship, The San Agustin made it safely to Mexico City, but the other four ships were never heard from again.

2. California was Colonized by the Russians

The Russian governor of Alaska, Alexander Baranov tried to colonize California in 1742. He sent a company of Russian settlers on an expedition to establish a permanent colony in what is now known as Fort Ross. This colony was meant to be used as a base from which to conduct trade and fishing along the coast. It very nearly became successful over the following decades but there were problems with insufficient food supply and it was eventually abandoned in 1841 by its last governor, Pyotr Kuzmich Kostromitinov.

3. The Russian and Chilean Colonies

The Russians continued their attempts to colonize California in the following decades until 1842 when Chile tried to establish a colony. This colony was only temporary since it was abandoned in 1841 when it was discovered that the area wasn’t suitable for agricultural purposes.

4. The Mexican Colonization of California

In 1820 Don Jose Maria Sanchez received a land grant from Mexico. He then had 450 people resettle his land, build houses and forts, and put down roots rather than move on to other areas of the United States which were becoming fashionable at this time. This colony became known as New Siskiyou and it was successful because it had access to fresh water and mild temperatures, unlike Fort Ross. 

However, in 1842, there was a revolt against the Mexican government in which all of the people living at New Siskiyou united with the American settlers to overthrow Mexican rule. This revolt was successful and all of California was taken over by Americans, but not before there were many fights between the Mexican soldiers and Americans who wanted California for themselves.

5. The Gold Rush

The first discovery of gold in California took place on Jan 24th., 1848 by James W Marshall who saw it glimmering in the early morning sun at Sutter’s Mill. The Gold Rush that followed was one of the largest in United States history. In 1849 alone, it is estimated that 100k people came to California and within two years this number rose to 300k. Most of these people came from the East Coast and when they arrived they found a barren land with poor soil and extreme weather conditions, but many didn’t leave after all because there was a great possibility of making a fortune by mining.

6. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

In 1848, gold was discovered in California as well as many other Western states like Utah, Colorado, Oregon and Nevada. The United States wanted these new territories so they could mine for gold but Mexico wouldn’t let them have them. The United States then sent an army to war with Mexico and took over all of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. This territory was called the “New Mexico Territory” but it was later renamed the “Territory of New Mexico”. California then became known as The State of California. In return for losing its territory in the Mexican War (1846-1848), the United States paid $15 Million to Mexico.


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