Queen Calafia’s Island A Romantic Paradise The Term “California” was invented as a fictional name to describe a mythological island in a book. The island was rumored to contained mass riches and beauty. It was inhabited by a dark-skinned race, the Amazonians. The story included tales of their larger-than-life and beautiful Queen who goes on many adventures. Queen Calafia eventually travels to join the leaders of the world. She marries a lieutenant and continues her adventures. In the end, her people become Christians and give up many of their heathen ways. The Mexican people often tried to make fiction reality. A group of sailors landed one what they thought was an island. They named it California and hoped that it would produce the same wealth the fictional land had. This island in reality is a peninsula now called “Antigua or Old California.”
Queen Calafia’sIsland Underneath the Golden State Under the American state of California, there is great turmoil. California itself was formed by the colliding of the North American and Pacific tectonic plates. Between the rising and sinking of the plates, devastation of glaciers, rushing water, and lava from volcanoes, California formed in a dramatic way. I created deserts, mountains, canyons, valleys, coasts, and plains.
Queen Calafia’sIsland As it Belonged to the Native Americans It is estimated that over 300, 000 Native American’s lived in various areas of California’s diverse terrain. Some argue that there were many more living in California. There were approximately 135 different languages spoken throughout the tribes. Each tribe was different. Much of the variations existed by what was around them. Several were fishing communities who were skilled with nets and spears, others hunted in forests or collect roots, berries, and other plants. They all had a few similarities, however. They were not warring people. They were simple people but displayed art in practical objects such as clothes and baskets. Sweat lodges were universal between them. They took care of raising their children carefully. They lived life with a rhythm. They had a rich culture and heritage passed down through 25 generations by stories, myths, totem poles, and taboos. They were eventually invaded by the New Americans and nearly destroyed.
Striking it Rich Sutter’s Fort Captain John Augustus Sutter sold provisions and leased land to new settlers. He had control over many Native Americans through indentured servitude and were treated little better than slaves. Settlers could hire them as laborers through Sutter. Many other men found work from him. He based himself in what is now Sacramento. He planned for a wharf and a sawmill for which he hired James Wilson Marshall to construct. Marshall worked with a series of discharged Mormons to build the water-powered sawmill. The sawmill was meant to create mass wealth by providing the lumber that Californians needed in a quick and efficient way. It did bring a great wealth, in a very different way. Gold was found and California was changed.
Striking it Rich The Gold Rush James Marshall discovered gold nuggets when building a saw mill at Sutter’s Fort, January 24, 1848. Workers quit to search for gold. The news spread quickly and miners flocked to California in search of their fortunes. By 1949 it was officially announced that gold had been discovered and the international Gold Rush had begun. California was put on the map extremely rapidly. It was quickly petitioned to be an American state and cities grew out of nowhere.
Striking it Rich Getting there With news of gold, thousands flocked to the wilderness of California. They came from the east and from foreign countries are far as china and Australia. To come meant risking life and limb for fortune. Mostly young men made the trip, as well as some older men and eventually even women and children made the journey. The travel options were mostly dangerous and long. Over-land passes included deserts, mountains, and river crossings. Disease, wild animals, accidents, and robbers were common killers. Sea journeys had high risk of disease but for those who could afford it, safe and comfortable treks were available over sea. So many ships came that hundreds were abandoned and many were pulled onshore for use as stores or housing. One ship was even kept as a prison.
Regulation, Railroad, and Revolution Regulation Chaos ruled the California frontier. No one knew who own what land and no one wanted to leave the land they were on. A Board of Land Commissioners was created to regulate the Mexican grants that were to still be honored. People could plead their case to the Board to keep their land. Many claims were not considered valid and even if they were, lawyer fees cost many large parts of their land. Many landowners doubted if they could handle living in California and started fighting for a separate territory in southern California. A Vigilance Committee tried to gain control but caused a lot of mayhem. The Capital changed several times. Everything was changing rapidly. California shaped itself in sudden bursts of activity.
Regulation, Railroad, and Revolution Railroad Charles Crocker was in charge of building a massive railroad to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Steel had to be laid by hand and tunnels were carves out of mountains piece by piece. Most Californians were not willing to do such laborious work for so little pay as was offered. Crocker decided to hire a handful of Chinese men for the work as an experiment. Eventually, he hired 10,000 Chinese workers who completed the massive feat. Hundreds died and the tasks were horribly arduous and dangerous. Several miles could be laid a day. The completed railroad made California part of the nation and opened it up to the rest of the country.
Regulation, Railroad, and Revolution Revolution The economy started to struggle after the initial gold flow. Many men were unemployed and were finding that the Chinese residents had more work than they did. The Workingmen’s Party formed as a sort of Union. Hundreds gathered in a mob and beat any unfortunate Chinese that they found. Soon, another group, the pickax brigade, came together for public safety. These 4,000 men patrolled the streets. These two forces were armed and openly against each other. Police, Navy, and Army were all on alert along with the pickax brigade. The Party moved from violence to politics and moved to change the state constitution. The economy was in a depression but people, not just the rioting Workingman’s Party, realized that some changes needed to be made. The railroad’s power needed to diminish, public services needed to be provided for, land needed to be evenly distributed and so on. The Party, however, was overruled by those who wanted changes through reform instead of revolution. Slowly, reform started coming and compromises were made. California