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Questions tagged [california]

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

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4
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1answer
247 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 ...
6
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1answer
135 views

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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1answer
65 views

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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1answer
66 views

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, ...
6
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1answer
336 views

Did Anza find evidence of a Japanese wreck?

Through the age of sail Japanese sea drifters involuntarily crossed the Pacific. The sengokubune ship which tended to lose its rudder in storms and drift nearly endlessly. Several made it to North ...
9
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1answer
373 views

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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1answer
540 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. ...
6
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1answer
171 views

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 ...
30
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1answer
4k views

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, ...
14
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2answers
409 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....
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2answers
397 views

Origin of San Francisco's water lots off Candlestick Point

There are about fifty blocks full of surveyed and zoned "water lots" in South Basin, southeastern San Francisco -- property which is presently part of the San Francisco Bay. See these blocks on Zillow;...
8
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1answer
190 views

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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1answer
188 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 ...
6
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1answer
200 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
154 views

Was Pablo Vicente de Solá married?

Solá, a Basque, was the last Spanish governor of Alta California, serving from 1815–1822 at the Presidio of Monterey. Did he have a wife and family, there or elsewhere?
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What did Fyodor Shtein report after his voyage?

In 1820 The Russian admiralty sent two pairs of ships to explore the polar regions. The southern ships, Mirny and Vostok, circumnavigated Antarctica, and the northern ships, Otkrytie and ...
7
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2answers
256 views

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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41 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
89 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
117 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 -...
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2answers
225 views

How many people lived in the Mexican territories annexed by the US?

What was the population of the areas annexed by the US from Mexico in the 1840s? Basically, "Texas," "California" and the area in between?
2
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2answers
216 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 ...
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4answers
873 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 ...
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94 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 ...
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143 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 ...
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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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3answers
514 views

What is the Balboa Park in San Francisco named after?

Although I would think San Francisco's Balboa Park is named after Núñez de Balboa who is the first European to see the Pacific Ocean I cannot find any historic evidence in Internet. In this document(...
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2answers
395 views

Were any Californios able to hold on to their ranchos?

Despite the clarity of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on this topic, Mexican land grants in Alta California were subject to drawn-out legal battles in the American period. Most Californios lost their ...
5
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1answer
210 views

Was anyone in Spanish or Mexican California tried for homosexuality?

In "So Far From Home" (Farris, ed.) a Russian visitor to California describes seeing trangendered natives, as Cabeza de Vaca also did three centuries earlier in what is now Texas. The military and ...
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94 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 ...
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217 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 ...
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75 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 ...
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1answer
515 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 ...
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2answers
318 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 ...
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1answer
235 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 ...
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37 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 ...
3
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1answer
297 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. ...
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3answers
555 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, ...
5
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3answers
3k 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 ...
8
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3answers
888 views

Were there any Russians in the 1849 Gold Rush?

A gold rush always brings new arrivals from many directions. Had any of the miners and businesspeople of the 1849 California Gold Rush come from Russia?
2
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1answer
106 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 ...
6
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1answer
194 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 ...
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3answers
407 views

When did divorce become legal in California?

California has been administered under Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. law. Divorce is presently legal, which it assuredly was not in the Spanish Empire. At which point in history did the process of ...
2
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1answer
121 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 ...
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1answer
100 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
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1answer
105 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 ...
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0answers
32 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 ...
6
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1answer
129 views

What were the largest newspapers in mid-1800s California?

I'm reading about current events in 1850s and 1860s California and want to check several newspapers' reporting on the same events. Which newspapers? In addition to the paper local to wherever ...
14
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2answers
400 views

Were any California presidios conquered?

During the Spanish and Mexican eras in California, there were five presidios in the region: San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco, and Sonoma. Were any of these ever conquered, taken over,...
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2answers
182 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 ...