Questions tagged [california]

Questions about, or related to, the state of California in the United States.

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How was the 1849 “Proclamation to the People of California” announcing the formation of a Constitution communicated to the people?

The images below appear to be an official copy of the 1849 Proclamation to the People of California announcing the formation of a Constitution. It is signed by Secretary of State Captain H.W. Halleck (...
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1answer
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Was “Street” more common than the abbreviated “St.” in pre-1910 American newspapers?

As a hobby I like to research buildings and other structures around where I live, and part of that entails searching old newspaper archives. Generally this is in California. Since I am not looking at ...
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Was merchant Hugh McCulloch the first Scotsman to set foot in California?

In June 1822 the Scottish merchant Hugh McCulloch landed at San Diego from the brig John Begg. He was the founding partner of the business McCulloch Hartnell & Co which for three years from 1 ...
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Was any object from Anza's expeditions conserved?

In the 1770s, Juan Bautista de Anza led two overland expeditions from Sinaloa to Alta California. The first was for reconnaissance and the second, larger and better known, for the purpose of ...
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What made California Indian baskets so good?

"California Indians were among the world's most sophisticated basket makers", according to Steven Hackel in Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis. Descriptions of the baskets emphasize the ...
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Did Lisa Chester (Xiola Blue) miss her father's funeral?

In or about 1987 Lisa Chester, Casey Niccoli, and Perry Farrell enjoyed a three-day orgy of sex and heroin. Farrell commemorated the event in his ten-minute song "Three Days" and album cover artwork ...
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Does any of John Sutter's tin money survive?

John Sutter was a Swiss settler and investor in the late Mexican era of California. I have only seen secondary sources on the matter, but apparently his colony New Helvetia had bespoke coinage: ... ...
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When in 1775 was Anza in Culiacán?

Juan Bautista de Anza made an exploratory expedition to Alta California in 1774, then was sent again to take colonist families with him. As the expedition moved north, he recruited them in Culiacán, ...
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When was this photo of Mission Dolores *actually* taken?

While researching another question concerning the cemetery at Mission Dolores, I came across an image which gives a date of 1856, in Wikipedia. The image shows the mission in a state of disrepair, ...
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Who erected Luis Argüello's tombstone?

Luis Argüello was California's first Mexican governor. He died in 1830 and was buried next to San Francisco's Mission Dolores. His grave marker doesn't appear contemporary with his death, though. I ...
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Did Boris Tarasov return from Mexico to Russia?

Boris Tarasov, employee of the Russian-American Company, was arrested in San Pedro, California in 1815. As a prisoner of some political value, in 1816 he was sent from Monterey to San Blas and then ...
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Has any place exhumed more dead bodies than San Francisco?

San Francisco's cemeteries of the 1800s relied upon burial fees for maintenance, and so fell into disrepair when they filled up. Simultaneously, land became more expensive and public health fears ...
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What sort of signage did ballrooms require?

Manufactured goods in early California had to be imported. In 1842 the prominent merchant Thomas Larkin wrote to John Paty in Hawaii: "Sir, I wish you would purchase in Oahu for me the following ...
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Was California's request for a Mexico border fence from the Pacific Ocean to the Colorado River acted upon?

In the 1965 California legislative session, a joint resolution (chapter 132, No. 44) was passed imploring the president and congress to build an: animal-proof fence from the Pacific Ocean to the ...
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How many customs houses were there in 1850 California?

Mexican California's customs house was in Monterey. When the territory became part of the U.S. in 1846, San Francisco was the emergent port city. Despite the territory's political commitment to ...
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Where in San Francisco did the Land Commission meet?

After taking California, the U.S. needed a way to sort through land claims and established a Public Land Commission. This operated from 1852 to 1856, principally in San Francisco but also briefly in ...
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Were adobes often built on shellmounds?

Adobe was the principal construction material used in the arid north of Mexico. In wetter parts the adobe was subject to water damage: rain ate away its exposed surfaces and softened the ground on ...
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How did an honor society get named as if it were a Chinese gang?

Honor societies and fraternities are a fixture in U.S. colleges. Most often they use Greek letters for their names, and some have names in English. However, the men's honor society of Santa Cruz High ...
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Was California named after a Moorish ruler called Queen Calafia?

I found this excerpt from an article on an Afrocentric website. The claims seem laughable to say the least. But I want the to find out what serious scholarship say on this issue. The article is below. ...
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What happened to University College of San Francisco?

In 1859, the Reverend George Burrowes founded University College in San Francisco. Confusingly, it was also known as City College. Burrowes advertised the school in the Daily Alta California newspaper....
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First California murder case under U.S

In 1846-47 the United States conquered Mexican California, gradually imposing its legal system. Bancroft says the "first jury empanelled" in California was in Monterey in the case of Graham v. ...
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What did Boston shoemakers do with cattle brands?

In the Mexican era, whole cattle hides were California's principal export. To prevent theft law enforcement sometimes checked the brands on hides before they were exported by sailing ship. Most went ...
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How to attack Fort Ross

Imperial Spain was upset when the Russian-American Company founded its Californian outpost Fort Ross. Local Spanish officials always stayed cordial with the Russians, though. Both sides were remote ...
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Are there extant rancho budgets (original or contrived) for Mexican California?

This question is a source request for real or estimated annual account ledgers for ranchos in Mexican California. Not much cash was used, so records are sparse. Most goods on the rancho were produced ...
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Why did Iturbide choose Fernández for the mission to California?

After Mexican independence, Emperor Agustín I took power. During his short reign he understandably sent a representative to the Californias to procure and check on their loyalty. The representative, a ...
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Who were the earliest Californian university students?

In California's Spanish and Mexican eras there was not much formal education. The nearest university was that of Guadalajara, founded in 1792. The Híjar-Padrés colony of 1834 brought teachers who ...
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Californian ocean-going ships

Rosaura Sánchez's Telling Identities contains this statement: Except for two very brief periods, the California territory had no ships of its own to travel up and down the coast or to San Blas and ...
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Who named San Andreas, California?

San Andreas, seat of Calaveras County, is one of several Gold Rush towns retaining a Spanish name (though now misspelled). Numerous secondary sources attribute its founding to "Mexicans". These ...
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What happened to all the undivided shares of California ranchos?

The Mexican province of Alta California granted cattle ranches to many prominent citizens. The properties were huge, so surveying was very expensive and often vague. These ranches dissipated into ...
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Who was the Irishman that betrayed Coronel's gold claim?

Antonio Coronel was a Mexican Californio who like many other Spanish speakers was ejected by Anglos from his claim in the Gold Rush, about April, 1849. Quoting from the published translation of his ...
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The histories of California by Alvarado and Vallejo

In the 1870s H.H. Bancroft employed bilingual scribes to visit elderly Californios and record their oral histories. Two of his best sources were Juan Bautista Alvarado and his uncle, just one year ...
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Did Britain look into taking California?

The Spanish colonized California in part to forestall the expansion of other empires. The territory was in danger of invasion throughout the Spanish and Mexican eras (1769-1846). Visitors and ...
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Was Canónigo Fernández a traitor to Mexico?

Agustín Fernández de San Vicente was the canon priest of the Cathedral of Durango and the Vicar-General of New Mexico. In between these church posts, at the time of Mexican Independence, he traveled ...
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Did the United States colonize California?

Upper California was a province of Mexico from the 1820s to the 1840s (sometimes unified with Lower California). Near the end of this period it was overrun with Anglo-American men that lived apart ...
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When was the last bull & bear fight in California?

In 1700s and 1800s California, a popular form of entertainment was a fight to the death between a bull and a grizzly bear, either tied together or tied to a post. (This practice may have been Horace ...
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Why did Thomas Larkin write his biographical sketches?

Thomas Larkin, wealthy merchant of Monterey, California in the 1840s, was the consul of the United States. He was also a secret agent for President Buchanan who sent to Washington 78 microbiographies ...
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Did the US try to buy California before Guadalupe Hidalgo?

With regard to Mexican California in the 1840s, Hague and Langum's Thomas O. Larkin says, on page 10: The United States had long been interested in California and had more than once attempted to ...
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Did Japanese castaways land in Spanish California?

George Lensen's "The Russian Push Toward Japan" says on p. 261: In 1815 the transport Pavel under the command of Navigator's Apprentice Srednii left Okhotsk with six Japanese castaways, three of ...
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For who or what was Cojo Creek named?

Cojo Creek (Cañada del cojo) is the boundary between the Rancho Punta de la Concepción and the Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio. The anchorage at the mouth of this creek was a prime smuggling spot in ...
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Which lame moor was the namesake of Rancho Moro Cojo?

Governors of Mexican Alta California granted ranches to well-connected petitioners. One such piece of land near Elkhorn Slough was called Rancho Moro Cojo (Lame Moor Ranch), granted in 1825 by ...
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What did Dr. Peter Smith do with his windfall?

Dr. Peter Smith cared for the indigent in 1850 San Francisco, and the city paid him in interest-bearing scrip. Soon he was owed $64,000 and the city was forced to make repeated sales of real property ...
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When did mature redwood trees become possible to harvest?

The Coast Redwood and the Giant Sequoia are related, massive, long-living softwood trees growing on the west coast of North America. Their wood is straight, resistant to pests, and easily splittable, ...
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1answer
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Earliest evidence of surfing

The WP article on the history of surfing presently describes several historic traditions and a documented episode of Hawaiians surfing in California in 1885. Obviously, being propelled by a wave on a ...
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Imposition of property taxes in California

After California became a U.S. state in 1850, land taxation was one of the factors that bankrupted the Californio ranchers. Apparently, it had not existed in the native, Spanish, nor Mexican periods. ...
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1answer
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California land cases to the US Supreme Court

After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in the early 1850s, the U.S. Congress created a land commission to review claims of land ownership predating California's accession. Hundreds of claims were ...
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Convict stowaways crossing the Pacific in 1796

According to H.H. Bancroft's "History of California", in 1796, English convicts stowed away on the Otter in Botany Bay, and were forced ashore in California at gunpoint. Governor Borica was ordered by ...
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Did anyone in Alta California pay in cash?

In the Spanish and Mexican eras, California was an economy very cut off from its mother countries. Most trade was by bartering goods [Josiah Belden by Doyce Nunis, Jr., 1962]. Is there evidence of ...
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“Ridiculous” military haircut in Spanish California

According to the reminiscences of José Maria Amador, as translated by Gregorio Mora-Torres in "Californio Voices", around 1820 recruits at the Monterey Presidio received an unusual haircut: After ...
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Why didn't Russia seize California when it could? [closed]

Spanish colonies in the Californias, created in part to forestall Russian expansion, were militarily weak. The military had only a few hundred men in the whole territory, and no ships at all. It was ...
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When was unleaded gasoline introduced in California?

When did unleaded gasoline become available for sale (as an option, not mandatory) in California? That is, suppose you were a driver a few decades ago, who wanted to drive without pumping lead into ...