Questions tagged [california]

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

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8
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3answers
967 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
115 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 ...
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3answers
454 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
129 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
106 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
109 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
34 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
133 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
417 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
188 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 ...
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0answers
205 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 ...
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1answer
71 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 ...
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1answer
99 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. ...
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0answers
396 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 ...
4
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2answers
371 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 ...
4
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1answer
1k views

How were native laborers on California ranchos treated?

The ranchos established during the Mexican period of California history relied on the labor of native Americans. Unlike the Mission properties, ranchos did not attempt to prevent workers from escaping ...
3
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1answer
160 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 ...
3
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1answer
105 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 ...
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1answer
69 views

Who accompanied Canónigo Fernández to Mexico City in 1822?

After Iturbide became President of an independent Mexico, the Canónigo Don Agustín Fernández de San Vicente was sent to Alta California to support the transition from Spanish rule and to relieve the ...
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1answer
39 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 ...
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2answers
457 views

Why Californian Indian leader Estanislao was named after Polish martyr?

Researching for Polish people dealing with Indians during 19th century, I've found out about Estanislao, one of Yokuts' leaders, who led different groups of Californian Indian rebels against Mexican ...
5
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1answer
115 views

What did the administrators of secularized California missions do?

The Alta California missions built in the Spanish period were initially run by Franciscans, then secularized in the 1830s, becoming regular parish churches. Some lay people officially served to "...
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2answers
117 views

Who was the Gold Rush memoirist James G. Ward?

The historian Richard Pierce quoted in his citation-free "Biographical Dictionary" from certain "recollections of California in 1848" (presumably not a work title) by one James G. Ward. The ...
2
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1answer
434 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 ...
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1answer
138 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
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1answer
269 views

Who left Fort Ross to defect to Mexico?

Remarks by Kirill Khlebnikov reproduced in "California Through Russian Eyes" by Gibson, p. 332, say that one defector from Fort Ross had headed to Mexico. Who was the unnamed defector?
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1answer
207 views

How did the Russian-American Company respond to employee desertion?

The Russian-American Company (head office: St. Petersburg) monopolized transit and commerce with the Russian American colonies and outposts. Almost the only people carried on Company voyages were ...
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1answer
66 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 ...
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1answer
353 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 ...
2
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1answer
117 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 ...
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1answer
67 views

What was the first school in Santa Cruz, California? [closed]

Schools were established in and around Santa Cruz, California, as it became more populous in the mid-1800s. Which school, public or private, in or near the city, was first?
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2answers
253 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 ...
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0answers
50 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 ...
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1answer
190 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, ...
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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,...
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1answer
119 views

Was the 1852 Richard/Bolcoff divorce the first one in California?

Annick Foucrier's "Sailors, Carpenters, Vineyardists" describes a divorce taking place in Santa Cruz shortly after California became part of the United States, dissolving the marriage of Maria Lucia ...
3
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1answer
92 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 ...
5
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1answer
97 views

Who cataloged the ships that visited Alta California?

I know I have seen a reference to a comprehensive list of ships that visted Alta California in the Spanish and Mexican eras, but I need help finding it again. Here is an incomplete list without any ...
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2answers
38 views

Did Anza record exactly who came along on his expedition?

The first Anza Expedition of 1775 brought some of the first Spanish-speaking colonists into Alta California. At least one baby was born en route. Did Anza or anyone else in his party write down ...
2
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1answer
152 views

From which Russian-American Company ship did Osip Volkov defect to Mexico?

Several books and articles indicate that Osip Volkov defected from a Russian ship at Monterey around 1815, midway through the Mexican War of Independence. Naturalized as Jose Antonio Bolcof, he served ...
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3answers
212 views

Who was the first foreigner to be naturalized as a Mexican citizen in Alta California?

The earliest example I have is Jose Antonio Bolcof of Russia, who became a Mexican about 1833. Who beat him? cf. Who was the first foreigner to be naturalized as a Mexican citizen?: several Texans ...
3
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1answer
105 views

How many women lived in Spanish Californian presidios?

The Spanish presidios in the Californias were military outposts, unlike the religious missions or the civilian pueblos. Their residents were not exclusively soldiers, though; at least prisoners and ...
2
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1answer
69 views

Who was arrested at El Cojo with Eliot de Castro?

According to Bancroft's "History of California" II:274, Spanish authorities acting on Governor Sola's orders detained Eliot de Castro, working for the Russian-American Company, along with "an American ...
2
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1answer
156 views

Etymology of Pine Street in San Francisco

In San Francisco, California, what is Pine Street named after? Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymologies_of_place_names_in_San_Francisco and other internet sources about SF street naming do ...
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1answer
3k views

Why was California admitted as one big state rather than split up?

In this answer, Mark points out that when California was admitted to the Union as a free state, that changed the balance between free and slave states, leading to the Compromise of 1850. Why indeed, ...
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2answers
150 views

Did the University of California and University of Geneva award honorary degrees to Inazo Nitobe?

According to Inazo Nitobe (author of "Bushido: The Soul of Japan") timelines written in Japanese, he was awarded honorary degrees from "University of California" (Kariforunia Daigaku, カリフォルニア大学) in ...
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1answer
45 views

Gregório Amúrrio: dates of birth and death

Gregório Amúrrio was a Franciscan missionary in California during the late 1700s. He was one of the five original missionaries to Alta California, and the co-founder of Mission San Juan Capistrano. ...
6
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1answer
580 views

Father-Presidents of the California Missions

During the Spanish Colonial period, the California missions were run by a priest with the title of Father-President (padre-presidente). I'm trying to find more information about this office, ...
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1answer
349 views

Did anyone find gold in California before 1848?

Is there any documentation or evidence of anyone finding gold in California before the discovery at Sutter's Mill in 1848?
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398 views

Why is Baja California often shown as an island on maps between 1500 and 1700?

Several maps done in the 16th & 17th Centuries show a huge island off the western coast of America. At its lower end, it looks a lot like baja california, but it is clearly an island, as opposed ...

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