California: A History-Kevin Starr EsthelaCaito Professor M. Arguello History 141
CH 1- Queen Calafia’s Island: Place and First People In 1508, a Spanish write named Garci Ordonez de Montalvo wrote a romance called Las Sergas de Esplandian. Within the romance, Californians were allies for a siege. The Californians were a race of black Amazons under the command of Queen Calafia. California was believed to be an island abundant in gold and precious stones. In 1533, a group of Spanish explorers were ordered by Hernan Cortes to sail west from Mexico. They came across California and at first believed that it was a mythic island that had precious stones and gold. Finally in 1539- 1540, they discovered that California was a peninsula, not an island. California sits on top of the North American and Pacific plates.
California came about because of the collision of the two plates. Californa has 1,264 miles of Pacific shoreline. Thirty million years ago, plate tectonics moved CA from the southern edge of Baja California and brought it north, attaching it back to the continent. The Transverse Ranges are found in the North of California and the Sierra Nevada mountain range runs along the eastern edge of California. The highest mountain in CA is Mount Whitney -14,496 ft. There are also coastal plains & the Central Valley & San Joaquin Valley in Ca.
The Mojave Desert is in the southeastern part of CA. On the coast of CA is where settlement began & maintains its greatest density. The coast has a wonderful Mediterranean climate. Many different beautiful animals are found in CA including the condor, eagles, & the bear. For centuries, hundreds of thousands of Native Americans had been living in CA and they built beautiful settlements and totems. The Native Americans had an awareness of self through the rhythms of daily life, through nature, through the presence of spirits, & through their creation myths.
CH 11- An Imagined Place: Art and Life on the Coast of Dreams These artists had a sense that California “as a promise betrayed and doom impending” (p 286). By 1990, CA was “the most urbanized and suburbanized state in the nation.” Regarding painting, many painters of CA in the 1920s liked to paint outside in the open air, they focused on doing Postimpressionist style paintings. (Post-Impressionism aimed to attain more form and structure, as well as more expression and emotion into their paintings.) There was also abstract modernism in paintings. Many transformations in the arts happened in Ca- in film, writing, painting, architecture, & music. Filmmakers were drawn to shoot in CA because of the great weather. Well known films that were filmed in CA – The Ten Commandments (1923), The Kid (1921). In the mid- 1930s, when Germany was taken over by National Socialism, many Europeans immigrated to the U.S. Many patriotic scripts for films were created during this time. California writers tended to adhere to a simplistic relationship to Nature. There was an emphasis on Bohemianism -practice of an unconventional lifestyle. Some artists that lived in CA found it to be an emotionally empty place.
Regarding photography, in the early 1900s, a group of Bay Area photographers calling themselves “Group f/64” came about. Group f/64 was a group of seven 20th century San Franciscophotographers who shared a common photographic style characterized by sharp-focused and carefully framed images seen through a particularly Western (U.S.) viewpoint In the late 1920s, Abstract Expressionism was popular in photography (ex: taking photos of rocks & bell peppers that looked like nudes.) Around the 1930s, photographers started photographing scenes that showed the turmoil of the Depression (ex: Migrant Mother) Regarding architecture, in the 1st two decades of the 20th century, architecture had an “Arts- and Crafts inspired shingle style.” In the 1920s and 1930s, modernism in architecture started to be seen. Regarding music, it went from conservative to avant-garde. In San Francisco there was Wade’s Opera House that came about in 1876. Music also came into motion pictures. There was musical modernism in films. Country music started to intensify as people started moving away from the Dust Bowl states during the Great Depression which in a sense divided those states from the rest of the U.S.
Baseball was introduced in CA in 1859 and has been popular ever since. Notable baseball players including Joe DiMaggio, and Ted Williams came from the California League. Regarding sports, since the late 19th century, sports have been a big part of CA- boxing, swimming, tennis, baseball, football, and track & field. It is important to note that CA allowed all kinds of people to play sports, not just elites. In 1860, a group of German immigrants founded an Olympic Club. In 1880, the Los Angeles Athletic Club was established. By the late 20th century, the California surfer had become an important icon of the CA lifestyle.
CH: 12- Ecumenopolis: Forging a World Society The Gold Rush also attracted many different people to California. As the Spanish settled in CA, they had aggression toward Native Americans. Spain and Mexico had its own caste system. There was a lot of aggression toward other races as well. It is important to note that California has a great amount of ethnic diversity. Around September 1781, if one were to look at the people living in Los Angeles, you’d find European, Native American, and African bloodlines mixed in every possible combination. The Mexican Era of CA brought much diversity- English , American, French, and Russian settlers.
In the 19th and 20th century, many Jews came to California as a refuge from Fascist Europe. People from the Dust Bowl states also came to California. World War II brought many African Americans to CA to work in the defense industry. Many people came as refugees to CA from countries that were experiencing upheavals- including Iran, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Soviet Union, & others. The immigrants faced race and religious tensions. The Rumford Act was passed in 1963 that banned discrimination. Around the 1940s is when there were big issues between blacks and whites.
There were the Watts riots in 1965 and the Los Angeles riots of 1992 that were racial in motivation. By 1990, CA was a Mexican- American society- it has 7.7 million Latinos. In the 1990s, there was an anti- illegal campaign. The 1994 ballot had a proposition which called for the withdrawal of all public support for undocumented Californians. Later, there were propositions that called for proficiency in English. Census 2000 showed that California is a place where minorities are the majority. Census 2000 for California showed that Hispanics are 43.8%, Caucasians are 34.8%, Asians are 9.6%, African Americans are 6.7%, American Indian and Alaska Natives are 0.5%, and Hawaiian & Pacific Islanders are 0.1%.