Queen Calafia’s Island In 1533 a party of Spanish explorers, sailing west from Mexico across an unnamed sea at the command of Hernan Cortes, conqueror of Mexico, landed on what they believed to be an island in the recently discovered Pacific. After 1539 they began to call the place after the mythic island of California, half believing and more than fully hoping they would find there as well the gold and precious stones described in Montello's romance, and perhaps even an Amazon or two. Not until 1539-40 did the Spanish discover their geographical mistake. California was a peninsula , not an island, and north of this peninsula- eventually called Antigua or Old California – was a vast northern region that the Spaniards, for one reason or another, would be unable to settle for another 230 years.
Queen Calafia’sIsland The American State of California Faces the Pacific Ocean between latitude 42 degrees north(at the boarder of the American state of Oregon) and latitude 32 degree north (at the boarder of the Mexican state of Baja California Norte)
Queen Calafia’sIsland Because California was mountain country, it was bear country as well: the black bear, the brown bear, and the great grizzly that could rise to full height, master of all it surveyed. Native Americans considered the grizzly another kind of human being, a create from the mythic past a survivor from the dawn of creation
Queen Calafia’sIsland For centuries, hundreds of thousands of Native Americans had been making their homes, living their lives, in the place now called California. The Native Americans of California , they tell us, belonged to 22 linguistic families. Within these categories were some 135 Language. The late 20th century would witness the reemergence of these First Californians as a financial and political force in a postmodernist state.
A troubled territoryMexican California Mexico became a federal republic in 1824, with California, both Alta and Baja, classified as territory. The central narrative of Mexican California revolves around the effort to create a civil society through secularization of the mission, foreign trade, and land grants.
A troubled territoryMexican California Even as sideshow , Mexican California exhibited the same instabilities as its host republic. The Franciscans were by and large Spanish- born royalists, and they did what they could to ignore, if not openly resist, the newly established republic. Most of there military governors were unpopular with resident Californios, who wanted self- government or merely to be left alone on their ranchos
A troubled territoryMexican California It was prodigal existence, generous and unheeding. Innumerable longhorn cattle roamed the hills. Families were large and extended. It was common for more than twenty relatives, near-relatives, and retainers to sit down to plentiful meals of beef, tortillas, chili peppers, rice, tomatoes, garbanzo and green beans, pumpkins, onions, oranges, apples, pears, and imported chocolate and spices, all of it prepared by Indian cooks under the supervision of the mistress of the house
Striking it RichThe Establishment of an American State From the conquest of 1846 to the sighing of the treaty, the Unites States administered California under international law as occupied enemy territory in time war. In the normal course of development, the next step would have been territorial status for the annexed Mexican department.
Striking it RichThe Establishment of an American State The Northern states wanted California free of slavery; the Southern states wanted at least part of California, or territory carved from its southern sector, open to their peculiar .As the American population grew, a succession of military governors- seven in all – found themselves increasingly reluctant to administer civilians institution.
Striking it RichThe Establishment of an American State When woman arrived came as well churches, synagogues, and schools, so many of them dating from 1849. The By Friday October 12 , 1849 , California stood redesigned as an American state. Army Major Robert Garnett designed a seal with the goddess Minerva at its center flanked by minor at work and grizzly bear feeding on grapes , against a backdrop of ship sailing into San Francisco Bay and the snow-clad peaks of Sierra Nevada.