History of California
California, a land of almost 100 million acres was once the home of numerous Native-American tribes separated from each other by natural boundaries.
The name California was derived by the Spanish explorers from a book written by Garci Rodriguez Ordonez de Montalvo entitled Las Sergas de Esplandian (The Exploits of Esplandian). In the said book, Montalvo mentioned a mythical island named California, inhabited by black women living in the manner of the Amazons.
History of California Information
It is believed that this name was given sometime in the early 16th century when Spanish explorers plied the coasts of California in search of the Straits of Anian – a sea passage that cuts through continental America. Unknown to them, the said straits never existed. They routinely docked along Baja California (Lower California) for repairs and replenishment of supplies.
After Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztecs, he ordered his men to explore the northern lands. This order was made to continue the search for the Strait of Anian as well as search for wealth and legendary lands. As the explorers came along the shores of Baja California in 1535, they have discovered that the ocean bed was teeming with pearls and decided to settle in the area. This was the earliest recorded European settlement in California. However, a year later, the settlement was abandoned because the surrounding lands were hot, dry, and sterile and that the only exploitable resource were the pearls.
Permanent settlement in California occurred in 1769 with the arrival of Spanish missionaries along the present day San Diego Bay. To secure the defense of the harbors of California, presidios or military installations were created, usually near the missionary settlements. To support the presidios and the missions, pueblos or civilian towns were likewise established. The first recorded pueblo of California was El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, or San Jose, which was founded in November 29, 1777. This was followed by El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula, or simply Los Angeles, founded in September 4, 1781.
In September 16, 1810, a priest named Miguel Hidalgo made a passionate speech, stirring the people to revolt against their Spanish colonizers. This uprising culminated in 1821 with the declaration of Mexican independence. Throughout the war however, California was virtually uninvolved. Instead, they were actively involved in trading with the United States, which continued even after the Mexican independence. With this vigorous trading, the United States developed a growing interest in acquiring California in the 1840s.
With the popularity of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, the United States eventually declared war on Mexico in 1846. This war ended in 1848 with the signing of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo wherein Mexico ceded California to the United States. It wasn’t long when gold was discovered in the waters of the American River. Hundreds of thousands rushed to California. This event would eventually transform California into the “Golden State.”
After the chaos spawned by the gold rush, settlers of California made steps to establish a rule of law through proper governance. But the first step was to determine the status of California in relation with the United States. In September 1849, the citizens assembled to draft a constitution that would either make California a territory or a state of the U.S. After almost a year, California ratified its state charter, wherefore President Millard Fillmore signed a bill in September 9,1850 for the admission of the state of California into the union as a free state.