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Questions tagged [california]

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

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71 views

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 ...
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62 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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243 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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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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185 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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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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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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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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36 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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80 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 ...
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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 ...
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115 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 ...
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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 ...
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63 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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76 views

Which Irishman worked at Mission Santa Cruz?

Kirill Khlebnikov was a Russian business agent who made several visits to Alta California. His "Travel Notes" from 1820 describe negotiations to buy grain from the Franciscan priest in charge of ...
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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 ...
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1answer
904 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 ...
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91 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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1answer
110 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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889 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?
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1answer
66 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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196 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 ...
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1answer
302 views

Who was the first retailer in Monterey, California?

There were no businesses in the Spanish presidio at Monterey. Trade goods from the missions and passing ships came through, but there wasn't much to buy. Outside the fort, what was the first fixed-...
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114 views

How much did Spanish California officials earn?

It is my understanding that in Alta California, priests and natives in Missions earned no cash salary, but Spanish army officials would have. From the governor down to a junior soldier, what did they ...
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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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1answer
100 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 ...
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1answer
202 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
114 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
68 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 ...
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1answer
262 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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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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1answer
147 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
516 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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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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139 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
142 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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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?
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429 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 ...
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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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1answer
41 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. ...
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641 views

What was the main food source in old California?

What was the main food source in California during the Spanish and Mexican periods? I'm expecting it was either corn or wheat, but I don't know which.
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511 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
329 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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394 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 ...