Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [california]

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

4
votes
0answers
89 views

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 ...
6
votes
0answers
183 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
187 views

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. ...
11
votes
2answers
256 views

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....
1
vote
0answers
73 views

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. ...
2
votes
0answers
78 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
196 views

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 ...
4
votes
0answers
36 views

California rancho budget

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
72 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Quitclaim deeds sold by Californio ranchers

When California became a U.S. state, Californio ranchers' land holdings were under legal, financial, and physical attack. Their Land Commission claims were held up for years in the appeals process, ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
334 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
143 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
167 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
233 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
193 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
240 views

Did Japanese castaways land in Spanish California?

George Lensen's "The Russian Push Toward Japan" says on pp. 261: In 1815 the transport Pavel under the command of Navigator's Apprentice Srednii left Okhotsk with six Japanese castaways, three of ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
122 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
120 views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
390 views

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, ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

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. ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
294 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
173 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
384 views

“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 ...
7
votes
4answers
723 views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
191 views

How cheap were sailing ships in Gold Rush California?

Many ships were abandoned in San Francisco during the California Gold Rush as their crews and passengers headed straight for the gold areas. Some became semi-permanent buildings and some became ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

How many cattle were slaughtered in Alta California?

Spanish and Mexican Alta California was a primarily cattle-based economy. The wealth of ranchers was measured in the size of their herd. Beef, manteca, and leather were used liberally, and hide and ...
7
votes
1answer
264 views

Origin of San Francisco's water lots off Candlestick Point

There are about fifty blocks full of surveyed and zoned "water lots" in southeastern San Francisco -- property which is presently part of the San Francisco Bay. See these blocks on Zillow; 5000 square ...
4
votes
0answers
135 views

Death sentences in Spanish California

Ynocente Garcia, in his recollections (the "Garcia Hechos"), described Ignacio Rochin, a man executed for murder in 1795 in Santa Barbara. Garcia continues: "a young orphan ... was also executed with ...
3
votes
0answers
159 views

Which trade ship did not return to California from China?

The Baltic German captain Otto von Kotzebue wrote (from "California Through Russian Eyes", Gibson, ed.): An attempt was even made to launch, at the Californios' own risk, trade with China, but it ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

Did geologist Fyodor Shtein ever write up his findings in California?

The German scientist Fyodor Shtein (Friedrich Stein) was the naturalist on the voyage of the Blagonamerenny to California in 1820-21. His purview included geological and botanical research, and his ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

In Alta California, who worked at the Ranchos del Rey?

In Spanish Alta California, most agricultural production was under the management and on the lands of the Franciscan Missions, operated with native labor. Each of the four presidios (forts) was also ...
6
votes
2answers
193 views

Did California mission priests administer, not merely call for, corporal punishment?

California missions were staffed by a Franciscan priest or two, and a half a dozen soldiers. The former addressed spiritual and administrative concerns and the latter established physical security for ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Who was the Englishman working in 1818 at Mission San Carlos?

Vasili Golovnin wrote in "Around the World on the Kamchatka": In the morning many of our officers and I went to the San Carlos Mission which is about five miles from Monterey on a small river and ...
3
votes
1answer
170 views

Was it common to carry a concealed dagger in Spanish California?

Dmitry Zavalishin, a Decembrist, wrote about his 1824 visit to Alta California: The second, Padre José Altamira, was more a politician and soldier than a monk or missionary. He always carried, ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

What were the indigenous populations of California before American settlement began to peak?

When studying Native American history, California's indigenous peoples are always noted as being far more diverse than the rest of the nation. While the number of distinct languages is generally given,...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

When could California mission priests perform confirmation?

The Franciscan priests at California missions were empowered with the faculties to perform sacraments like baptism and marriage. A stricter standard applied in the case of the faculty of confirmation -...
4
votes
1answer
241 views

Why was Highway One routed right through Fort Ross?

California's coastal Highway One was completed in the 1930s. Until about 1970, the roadway actually passed through the stockade of the Russian colony, Fort Ross. Later the Fort became a state park. ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Who were the members of Hartnell's _Compañía Extranjera_?

In 1832, William Hartnell convened a posse of fifty immigrants to "help keep the peace" in California (according to "The Lives of William Hartnell" by Dakin). The group was called "La Compañía ...
4
votes
1answer
77 views

Who was the Irish interpreter in Monterey in 1822?

Kirill Khlebnikov was a Russian business agent who made several visits to Alta California. His "Travel Notes" from 1822 describe Khlebnikov's visit to Governor Sola in Monterey, who sent for "the ...