Alta California

Alta California ('Upper California'), known sometimes unofficially as Nueva California ('New California'), California Septentrional ('Northern California'), California del Norte ('North California') or California Superior ('Upper California'),[1] began in 1804 as a province of New Spain. Along with the Baja California peninsula, it had previously comprised the province of Las Californias, but was split off into a separate province in 1804. Following the Mexican War of Independence, it became a territory of Mexico in April 1822[2] and was renamed "Alta California" in 1824. The claimed territory included all of the modern US states of California, Nevada and Utah, and parts of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Neither Spain nor Mexico ever colonized the area beyond the southern and central coastal areas of present-day California, and small areas of present-day Arizona, so they exerted no effective control in modern-day California north of the Sonoma area, or east of the California Coast Ranges. Most interior areas such as the Central Valley and the deserts of California remained in de facto possession of indigenous peoples until later in the Mexican era when more inland land grants were made, and especially after 1841 when overland immigrants from the United States began to settle inland areas.

Large areas east of the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges were claimed to be part of Alta California, but were never colonized. To the southeast, beyond the deserts and the Colorado River, lay the Spanish settlements in Arizona.[a][b]

Alta California ceased to exist as an administrative division separate from Baja California in 1836, when the Siete Leyes constitutional reforms in Mexico re-established Las Californias as a unified department, granting it more autonomy.[5][6][7] Most of the areas formerly comprising Alta California were ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican–American War in 1848. Two years later, California joined the union as the 31st state. Other parts of Alta California became all or part of the later U.S. states of Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Alta California
Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain
(1804-1821)
Province of the First Mexican Empire
(1821-1824)
Federal Territory of Mexico
(1824-1848)
1804–1848
Location of California
Capital Monterey (1804–1835)
Los Angeles (1835–1848)
Demonym Californio
Governor
 •  1804–1814 José Joaquín de Arrillaga
(First Spanish governor)
 •  1815–1822 Pablo Vicente de Solá
(Last Spanish governor)
 •  1822–1825 Luis Antonio Argüello
(First Mexican governor)
 •  1845–1846 Pío de Jesús Pico
(Last Mexican governor)
Historical era Spanish colonial era
 •  Las Californias 1769
 •  Established 1804
 •  Treaty of Córdoba August 24, 1821
 •  Treaty of Cahuenga January 13, 1847
 •  Disestablished 1848
Today part of Arizona, Baja California, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Sonora, Utah, Wyoming

Spanish colonization

The Spanish explored the coastal area of Alta California by sea beginning in the 16th century and prospected the area as a domain of the Spanish monarchy. During the following two centuries there were various plans to settle the area, including Sebastián Vizcaíno's expedition in 1602–03 preparatory to colonization planned for 1606–07, which was canceled in 1608.

Between 1683 and 1834, Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries established a series of religious outposts from today's Baja California and Baja California Sur into present-day California.[5][6] Father Eusebio Kino missionized the Pimería Alta from 1687 until his death in 1711. Plans in 1715 by Juan Manuel de Oliván Rebolledo resulted in a 1716 decree for extension of the conquest (of Baja California) which came to nothing. Juan Bautista de Anssa proposed an expedition from Sonora in 1737 and the Council of the Indies planned settlements in 1744. Don Fernando Sánchez Salvador researched the earlier proposals and suggested the area of the Gila and Colorado Rivers as the locale for forts or presidios preventing the French or the English from "occupying Monterey and invading the neighboring coasts of California which are at the mouth of the Carmel River."[8][9] Alta California was not easily accessible from New Spain: land routes were cut off by deserts and often hostile Native populations and sea routes ran counter to the southerly currents of the distant northeastern Pacific. Ultimately, New Spain did not have the economic resources nor population to settle such a far northern outpost.[10]

Spanish interest in colonizing Alta California was revived under the visita of José de Gálvez as part of his plans to completely reorganize the governance of the Interior Provinces and push Spanish settlement further north.[11] In subsequent decades, news of Russian colonization and maritime fur trading in Alaska, and the 1768 naval expedition of Pyotr Krenitsyn and Mikhail Levashev, in particular, alarmed the Spanish government and served to justify Gálvez's vision.[12] To ascertain the Russian threat, a number of Spanish expeditions to the Pacific Northwest were launched. In preparation for settlement of Alta California, the northern, mainland region of Las Californias was granted to Franciscan missionaries to convert the Native population to Catholicism, following a model that had been used for over a century in Baja California. The Spanish Crown funded the construction and subsidized the operation of the missions, with the goal that the relocation, conversion and enforced labor of Native people would bolster Spanish rule.

The first Alta California mission and presidio were established by the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra and Gaspar de Portolá in San Diego in 1769. The following year, 1770, the second mission and presidio were founded in Monterey.[13] In 1773 a boundary between the Baja California missions (whose control had been passed to the Dominicans) and the Franciscan missions of Alta California was set by Francisco Palóu. The missionary effort coincided with the construction of presidios and pueblos, which were to be manned and populated by Hispanic people. The first pueblo founded was San José in 1777, followed by Los Ángeles in 1781. (Branciforte, founded in 1797, failed to maintain enough settlers to be granted pueblo status.)

Spanish rule

By law, mission land and property were to pass to the indigenous population after a period of about ten years, when the natives would become Spanish subjects. In the interim period, the Franciscans were to act as mission administrators who held the land in trust for the Native residents. The Franciscans, however, prolonged their control over the missions even after control of Alta California passed from Spain to independent Mexico, and continued to run the missions until they were secularized, beginning in 1833. The transfer of property never occurred under the Franciscans.[14][15]

Dobson'sMap.jpeg
Map of N. America showing California when it was part of New Spain. Map dated 1789 from Dobson's Encyclopedia.

As the number of Spanish settlers grew in Alta California, the boundaries and natural resources of the mission properties became disputed. Conflicts between the Crown and the Church and between Natives and settlers arose. State and ecclesiastical bureaucrats debated over authority of the missions.[16] The Franciscan priests of Mission Santa Clara de Asís sent a petition to the governor in 1782 which stated that the Mission Indians owned both the land and cattle and represented the Ohlone against the Spanish settlers in nearby San José.[17] The priests reported that Indians' crops were being damaged by the pueblo settlers' livestock and that the settlers' livestock was also "getting mixed up with the livestock belonging to the Indians from the mission" causing losses. They advocated that the Natives owned property and had the right to defend it.[18]

In 1804, due to the growth of the Spanish population in new northern settlements, the province of Las Californias was divided just south of San Diego, following mission president Francisco Palóu's division between the Dominican and Franciscan jurisdictions. Governor Diego de Borica is credited with defining Alta (upper) and Baja (lower) California's official borders.[19]

The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, between the United States and Spain, established the northern limit of Alta California at latitude 42°N, which remains the boundary between the states of California, Nevada and Utah (to the south) and Oregon and Idaho (to the north) to this day. Mexico won independence in 1821, and Alta California became a territory of Mexico the next year.

Ranchos

The Spanish and later Mexican governments rewarded retired soldados de cuera with large land grants, known as ranchos, for the raising of cattle and sheep. Hides and tallow from the livestock were the primary exports of California until the mid-19th century. The construction, ranching and domestic work on these vast estates was primarily done by Native Americans, who had learned to speak Spanish and ride horses. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the population of Native Californians died from European diseases. Under Spanish and Mexican rule the ranchos prospered and grew. Rancheros (cattle ranchers) and pobladores (townspeople) evolved into the unique Californio culture.

Independent Mexico

Mexico1838.jpeg
Mexico in 1838. From Britannica 7th edition

Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821 upon conclusion of the decade-long Mexican War of Independence (not acknowledged by Spain until 1836). As the successor state to the Viceroyalty of New Spain, Mexico automatically included the provinces of Alta California and Baja California as territories. Alta California declared allegiance to the new Mexican nation and elected a representative to be sent to Mexico. On November 9, 1822, the first legislature of California was created.[2] With the establishment of a republican government in 1824, Alta California, like many northern territories, was not recognized as one of the constituent States of Mexico because of its small population. The 1824 Constitution of Mexico refers to Alta California as a "territory".

Resentment was increasing toward appointed governors sent from Mexico City, who came with little knowledge of local conditions and concerns. Laws were imposed by the central government without much consideration of local conditions, such as the Mexican secularization act of 1833,[5] causing friction between governors and the people.

Political divisions of Mexico 1836-1845 (location map scheme)
Mexican departments created in 1836 (shown after 1845 Texas independence), Las Californias at far left in gray.

In 1836, Mexico repealed the 1824 federalist constitution and adopted a more centralist political organization (under the "Seven Laws") that reunited Alta and Baja California in a single California Department (Departamento de las Californias).[20] The change, however, had little practical effect in far-off Alta California. The capital of Alta California remained Monterey, as it had been since the 1769 Portola expedition first established an Alta California government, and the local political structures were unchanged.

The friction came to a head in 1836, when Monterey-born Juan Bautista Alvarado led a revolt and seized the governorship from Nicolás Gutiérrez. Alvarado's actions began a period of de facto home rule, in which the weak and fractious central government was forced to allow more autonomy in its most distant department. Other Californio governors followed, including Carlos Antonio Carrillo, Alvarado himself for a second time, and Pío Pico. The last non-Californian governor, Manuel Micheltorena, was driven out after another rebellion in 1845. Micheltorena was replaced by Pío Pico, last Mexican governor of California, who served until 1846, when the 1824 constitution was restored.

Mexican–American War

In the final decades of Mexican rule, American and European immigrants arrived and settled in Alta California. Those in Southern California mainly settled in and around the established coastal settlements and tended to intermarry with the Californios. In Northern California, they mainly formed new settlements further inland, especially in the Sacramento Valley, and these immigrants focused on fur-trapping and farming and kept apart from the Californios.

Map of Mexico including Yucatan and Upper California 1847
Map of Mexico. S. Augustus Mitchell, Philadelphia, 1847. New California is depicted with a north-eastern border at the meridian leading north of the Rio Grande headwaters.

In 1846, following reports of the annexation of Texas to the United States, American settlers in inland Northern California formed an army, captured the Mexican garrison town of Sonoma, and declared independence there as the California Republic. At the same time, the United States and Mexico had gone to war, and forces of the United States Navy entered into Alta California and took possession of the northern port cities of Monterey and San Francisco. The forces of the California Republic, upon encountering the United States Navy and, from them, learning of the state of war between Mexico and the United States, abandoned their independence and proceeded to assist the United States forces in securing the remainder of Alta California. The California Republic was never recognized by any nation, and existed for less than one month, but its flag (the "Bear Flag") survives as the flag of the State of California, partially as a result of the fact that the Republic's army continued to carry it as a battle flag, for lack of any other means of identification, during the remainder of the war.

After the United States Navy's seizure of the cities of southern California, the Californios formed irregular units, which were victorious in the Siege of Los Angeles, and after the arrival of the United States Army, fought in the Battle of San Pasqual and the Battle of Domínguez Rancho. But subsequent encounters, the battles of Río San Gabriel and La Mesa, were indecisive. The southern Californios formally surrendered with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847. After twenty-seven years as part of independent Mexico, California was ceded to the United States in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The United States paid Mexico $15 million for the lands ceded.

Spanish governors

For Mexican governors see List of Governors of California before admission

Flags that have flown over California

Flag of Cross of Burgundy Spanish Empire, may have been flown by the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542, upon entering the bay of San Diego, and by the Portolá expedition that founded the colony of Alta California in 1769.
Flag of England St. George Cross of England, June 1579, voyage of the Golden Hind under Captain Francis Drake at Bodega Bay, Tomales Bay, Drakes Bay or Bolinas Bay (exact location disputed).[21][22][23]
Flag of Spain (1785–1873, 1875–1931) October 1775, the Sonora at Bodega Bay, under Lt. Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra until 1821, when New Spain gained independence from the Spanish Empire.
Naval Ensign of Russia Russian-American Company, by Ivan Alexandrovich Kuskov, the founder of Fort Ross and, from 1812 to 1821, its colonial administrator. The Russian-American Company only controlled a small portion of the northern coast of California, while the entire territory was diplomatically recognized as territory of Mexico; this situation was terminated when the Russians sold Fort Ross in 1841 to John Sutter, and subsequently left the area in 1842.
Flag of Argentina on a ship from Argentina, by Hippolyte Bouchard, a French-born pirate who attacked Monterey Bay from November 24 to November 29, 1818, in order to annoy Spain, who ruled Argentina. Bouchard claimed California on behalf of Argentina, but this claim was never recognized, even by the Argentine government.
Flag of Mexico (1821-1823) First Mexican Empire, August 24, 1821, Mexico under Emperor Agustín de Iturbide (October 1822, probable time new flag raised in California) until 1823.
Flag of Mexico (1823-1864, 1867-1893) United Mexican States military, 1823, until January 13, 1847, at Los Angeles.
California Lone Star Flag 1836 Flag of California, from 1836, when the Diputación, or Legislature, of California declared independence from Mexico (the Declaration of Independence is available on Wikisource). In 1838, Mexico recognized California as a "free and sovereign state," but this was later rescinded and government from Mexico City was re-established prior to 1846.
1stBearFlag Bear Flag of the California Republic, June 14, 1846, at Sonoma until July 9, 1846. The California Republic was declared by American citizens who had settled inland (in the valley of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers), and it is thought that the inclusion of one star and one stripe was meant to highlight their American origins. The Republic's existence was never officially recognized by any other government.
Flag of the United States (1846-1847) United States of America, July 9, 1846; see History of California.

For even more Californian flags see: Flags over California, A History and Guide (PDF). Sacramento: State of California, Military Department. 2002.

In popular culture

See also

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ José Bandini, in a note to Governor Echeandía or to his son, Juan Bandini, a member of the Territorial Deputation (legislature), noted that Alta California was bounded "on the east, where the Government has not yet established the [exact] borderline, by either the Colorado River or the great Sierra (Sierra Nevada)."[3]
  2. ^ Chapman explains that the term "Arizona" not used in period. Arizona south of the Gila River was referred to as the Pimería Alta. North of the Gila River were the "Moqui", whose territory was considered separate from New Mexico. The term "the Californias," therefore, refers specifically to the Spanish-held coastal region from Baja California to an undefined north.[4]

Citations

  1. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1884). History of California. p. 68. without any uniformity of usage, the upper country began to be known as California Septentrional, California del Norte, Nueva California, or California Superior. But gradually Alta California became more common than the others, both in private and official communications, though from the date of the separation of the provinces in 1804, Nueva California became the legal name, as did Alta California after 1824.
  2. ^ a b Williams, Mary Floyd (July 1922). "Mission, presidio and pueblo: Notes on California local institutions under Spain and Mexico". California Historical Society Quarterly. 1 (1): 23–35. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  3. ^ A Description of California in 1828 by José Bandini (Berkeley, Friends of the Bancroft Library, 1951), 3. Reprinted in Mexican California (New York, Arno Press, 1976). ISBN 0-405-09538-4
  4. ^ Chapman, Charles Edward (1973) [1916]. The Founding of Spanish California: The Northwestward Expansion of New Spain, 1687–1783. New York: Octagon Books. pp. xiii.
  5. ^ a b c Ryan, Mary Ellen & Breschini, Gary S. (2010). "Secularization and the Ranchos, 1826–1846". Salinas, CA: Monterey County Historical Society. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b Robinson, William Wilcox (1979). Land in California: The Story of Mission Lands, Ranchos, Squatters, Mining Claims, Railroad Grants, Land Scrip, Homesteads. Chronicles of California, Volume 419: Management of public lands in the United States. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 29. ISBN 0520038754. Retrieved 30 May 2016. The cortes (legislature) of New Spain issued a decree in 1813 for at least partial secularization that affected all missions in America and was to apply to all outposts that had operated for ten years or more; however, the decree was never enforced in California.
  7. ^ Yenne, Bill (2004). The Missions of California. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press. pp. 18f. ISBN 1592233198.
  8. ^ Plans for the Occupation of Upper California: A New Look at the "Dark Age" from 1602 to 1769, The Journal of San Diego History, San Diego Historical Society Quarterly, Winter 1978, Volume 24, Number 1
  9. ^ The elusive West and the contest for empire, 1713–1763, Paul W. Mapp, Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture
  10. ^ Starr, Kevin (2005). California: A History. New York: Modern Library. p. 28. ISBN 978-08129-7753-0.Rawls, James J.; Walton Bean (2008). California: An Interpretive History (9th ed.). McGraw Hill. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-07-353464-0.
  11. ^ Starr, California: A History, 31-32. Rawls and Bean, California: An Interpretive History, 33.
  12. ^ Haycox, Stephen W. (2002). Alaska: An American Colony. University of Washington Press. pp. 59–60. ISBN 978-0-295-98249-6.
  13. ^ Starr, California: A History, 35-36. Rawls and Bean, California: An Interpretive History, 37-39.
  14. ^ Beebe, 2001, page 71
  15. ^ Fink, 1972, pages 63–64.
  16. ^ Milliken, 1995, page 2 footnote.
  17. ^ Milliken, 1995, page 72–73
  18. ^ Milliken, 1995, page 73, quoting Murguia and Pena [1782] 1955:400.
  19. ^ Field, Maria Antonia (1914). "California under Spanish Rule". Chimes of Mission Bells. San Francisco: Philopolis Press.
  20. ^ See "República Centralista (México)" in the Spanish version of Wikipedia
  21. ^ "Biographical Notes: Sir Francis Drake" Wandering Lizard. Consulted on 2008-08-07.
  22. ^ Sterling, Richard and Tom Downs. San Francisco: City Guide. (Lonely Planet, 2004), 233–234. ISBN 978-1-74104-154-5
  23. ^ Starr, Kevin. California: A History. (New York: Modern Library, 2005), 25. ISBN 0-679-64240-4

Further reading

External links

Agua Mansa, California

Agua Mansa ("gentle water") is a former settlement in an unincorporated area of San Bernardino County, near Colton, California, United States. Now a ghost town, only the cemetery remains, it once was the largest settlement in San Bernardino County.

The town was established in 1845 in Mexican Alta California. It was on the Santa Ana River, across from the Mexican era settlement of La Placita. Agua Mansa and La Placita were the first non-native settlements in the San Bernardino Valley. Together known as "San Salvador", they were also the largest settlements between Santa Fe de Nuevo México and the Pueblo de Los Ángeles in the 1840s.

Agustin Olvera

Agustin Olvera (1818–1876) was a pioneer of Los Angeles, California, and was active in the political affairs of the time.

Alta, California

Alta is a small unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Placer County, California, United States, about 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Auburn. The village is located off Interstate 80 and along the historical First Transcontinental Railroad. The ZIP code is 95701 and the area code 530. One of the few buildings other than private residences is the Alta-Dutch Flat Grammar School serving kindergarten through eighth grade students. The high school that serves Alta is Colfax high School. Colfax High School is 11 miles southwest in the incorporated town of Colfax. The population of Alta was 610 at the 2010 census.

A historical California place once named Alta was located in San Diego County near the present-day La Mesa–El Cajon boundary. This historical place was along the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway, now the San Diego Trolley Orange Line, at its Murray Drive undercrossing in La Mesa. The community was named after the Spanish word meaning "upper" or "high".

Carlos Antonio Carrillo

Carlos Antonio Carrillo (24 December 1783 – 23 February 1852), was Governor of Alta California from 1837 to 1838. He took his oath as governor in Pueblo de Los Angeles, present day Los Angeles, on December 6, 1836. He was also the great-grandfather of actor Leo Carillo.

Carrillo was a Californio, one of the first children born at the Presidio of Santa Barbara (established 1782). His father, José Raimundo Carrillo, was a soldier who came north with the Portolá expedition in 1769 and served at the Presidio of Santa Barbara for twelve years.

From 1797 to 1825 Carlos Antonio served in the military at Monterey and Santa Barbara. As Alta California's delegate to the Mexican Congress of the Union, Carrillo pursued Alta California judicial reform, but his ideas were rejected.

In 1836, Carrillo joined the rebellious Juan Bautista Alvarado in demanding a more autonomous Alta California, but internal dissension doomed the effort. In 1837, Carlos was appointed to replace Alvarado as governor, but Alvarado was able to reclaim the Governorship a year later.

First Mexican Empire

The Mexican Empire (Spanish: Imperio Mexicano, pronounced [ĩmˈpeɾjo mexiˈcano]) was a short-lived monarchy, and the first independent post-colonial imperial state in Mexico. It was the only former colony of the Spanish Empire to establish a monarchy after independence. Together with the Brazilian Empire and the two Haitian Empires, it was one of four European-style empires in the Americas; it lasted two years before transitioning into a federal republic.

It existed from the signing of the Treaty of Córdoba and the declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire in September 1821 until the emperor's abdication in March 1823 when the Provisional Government took power and the First Mexican Republic was proclaimed in 1824. The first monarch of the state was Agustín de Iturbide, reigning as Agustín I of Mexico.

José Darío Argüello

José Darío Argüello (1753–1828) was a Spanish soldier, California pioneer, founder of Los Angeles, twice a Spanish colonial governor—eleventh of Alta California and then of the Baja California Peninsula—and father of Luis Antonio Argüello, first Alta California governor under independent Mexico.

Juan Bautista de Anza

Juan Bautista de Anza (July 6/7, 1736 – December 19, 1788) was born in the Spanish Provence of New Navarre in Viceroyalty of New Spain. Of Basque descent, he served as an expeditionary leader, military officer, and politician primarily in California and New Mexico under the Spanish Empire. He is credited as one of the founding fathers of Spanish California and served as an official within New Spain as Governor of the Province of New Mexico.

List of Governors of California before 1850

For the Governors of California since 1850, see List of Governors of California.

Below is a list of the Governors of early California (1769–1850), before its admission as the 31st U.S. state. First explored by Gaspar de Portolá, with colonies established at San Diego and Monterey, California was a remote, sparsely-settled Spanish province of New Spain. In 1822, following the Mexican independence, California became part of Mexico.

In 1836, a coup led by Californios Juan Bautista Alvarado and Jose Castro eventually resulted in Alvarado becoming governor. That conflict ended in 1838, when the central government of Mexico recognized Alvarado as California Governor. The territorial diputación (legislature) approved the appointment.

Another disputed governorship occurred in 1844, settled when another Californio, Pio Pico, became the last Governor of Mexican California. In 1846, the "Bear Flag Revolt" in Sonoma declared California an independent republic—the "Bear Flag Republic". No government was formed, however, and the revolt did not have time to spread very far because, than a month later, California came under U.S. military protection at the outset of the Mexican–American War. California was ceded to the U.S. in 1848, and was admitted as the 31st U.S. state on September 9, 1850. Peter Burnett, the last governor of the post-war military territory, became its first state governor after admission.

Manuel Requena

Manuel Requena (1802–1876) was president of the Los Angeles Common Council in the early 1850s. He served the city in both the Mexican and American periods.

Mexican Cession

The Mexican Cession is the region in the modern-day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. This region had not been part of the areas east of the Rio Grande which had been claimed by the Republic of Texas, though the Texas annexation resolution two years earlier had not specified the southern and western boundary of the new State of Texas. The Mexican Cession (529,000 sq. miles) was the third largest acquisition of territory in US history. The largest was the Louisiana Purchase, with some 827,000 sq. miles (including land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces), followed by the acquisition of Alaska (about 586,000 sq. miles).

Most of the area had been the Mexican territory of Alta California, while a southeastern strip on the Rio Grande had been part of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, most of whose area and population were east of the Rio Grande on land that had been claimed by the Republic of Texas since 1835, but never controlled or even approached aside from the Texan Santa Fe Expedition. Mexico controlled the territory later known as the Mexican Cession, with considerable local autonomy punctuated by several revolts and few troops sent from central Mexico, in the period from 1821–22 after independence from Spain up through 1846 when U.S. military forces seized control of California and New Mexico on the outbreak of the Mexican–American War. The northern boundary of the 42nd parallel north was set by the Adams–Onís Treaty signed by the United States and Spain in 1821 and ratified by Mexico in 1831 in the Treaty of Limits (Mexico-United States). The eastern boundary of the Mexican Cession was the Texas claim at the Rio Grande and extending north from the headwaters of the Rio Grande, not corresponding to Mexican territorial boundaries. The southern boundary was set by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which followed the Mexican boundaries between Alta California (to the north) and Baja California and Sonora (to the south). The United States paid Mexico $15 million for the land which became known as the Mexican Cession.

Mexican–American War

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the Intervención estadounidense en México (United States intervention in Mexico), was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, not formally recognized by the Mexican government, disputing the Treaties of Velasco signed by Mexican caudillo President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Texas Revolution a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk, who saw the annexation of Texas as the first step towards a further expansion of the United States, sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked U.S. forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.

U.S. forces quickly occupied the regional capital of Santa Fe de Nuevo México along the upper Rio Grande and the Pacific coast province of Alta California, and then moved south. Meanwhile, the Pacific Squadron of the U.S. Navy blockaded the Pacific coast farther south in lower Baja California Territory. The U.S. Army under Major General Winfield Scott eventually captured Mexico City through stiff resistance, having marched west from the port of Veracruz on the Gulf Coast, where the U.S. staged its first ever major amphibious landing.

The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, forced onto the remnant Mexican government, ended the war and enforced the Mexican Cession of the northern territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México to the United States. The U.S. agreed to pay $15 million compensation for the physical damage of the war and assumed $3.25 million of debt already owed earlier by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Mexico acknowledged the loss of what became the State of Texas and accepted the Rio Grande as its northern border with the United States.

The victory and territorial expansion Polk envisioned inspired great patriotism in the United States, but the war and treaty drew some criticism in the U.S. for their casualties, monetary cost, and heavy-handedness, particularly early on. The question of how to treat the new acquisitions also intensified the debate over slavery. Mexico's worsened domestic turmoil and losses of life, territory and national prestige left it in what prominent Mexicans called a "state of degradation and ruin".

Mission San Diego de Alcalá

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá was the first Franciscan mission in The Californias, a province of New Spain. Located in present-day San Diego, California, it was founded on July 16, 1769, by Spanish friar Junípero Serra in an area long inhabited by the Kumeyaay people. The mission and the surrounding area were named for the Catholic Didacus of Alcalá, a Spaniard more commonly known as San Diego. The mission was the site of the first Christian burial in Alta California. San Diego is also generally regarded as the site of the region's first public execution, in 1778. Father Luis Jayme, California's first Christian martyr, lies entombed beneath the chancel floor. The current church, built in the early 19th century, is the fifth to stand on this location. The mission site is a National Historic Landmark.

Mission San Fernando Rey de España

Mission San Fernando Rey de España is a Spanish mission in the Mission Hills the district of Los Angeles, California. The mission was founded on September 8, 1797, and was the seventeenth of the twenty-one Spanish missions established in Alta California. Named for Saint Ferdinand, the mission is the namesake of the nearby city of San Fernando and the San Fernando Valley.

The mission was secularized in 1834 and returned to the Catholic Church in 1861; it became a working church in 1920. Today the mission grounds function as a museum; the church is a chapel of ease of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Mission Santa Inés

Mission Santa Inés (sometimes spelled Santa Ynez) was a Spanish mission in the present-day city of Solvang, California, and named after St. Agnes of Rome. Founded on September 17, 1804, by Father Estévan Tapís of the Franciscan order, the mission site was chosen as a midway point between Mission Santa Barbara and Mission La Purísima Concepción, and was designed to relieve overcrowding at those two missions and to serve the Indians living east of the Coast Range.

The mission was home to the first learning institution in Alta California and today serves as a museum as well as a parish church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It is also designated a National Historic Landmark, noted as one of the best-preserved of the 21 California missions.

Portolà expedition

The Portolà expedition (Spanish: expedición de Portolà) was a Spanish voyage of exploration in 1769–1770 that was the first recorded European land entry and exploration of the interior of the present-day U.S. state of California. It was led by Gaspar de Portolà, governor of Las Californias, the Spanish colonial province that included California, Baja California, and other parts of present-day Mexico and the United States. The expedition led to the founding of Alta California and contributed to the solidification of Spanish territorial claims in the disputed and unexplored regions along the Pacific coast of North America.

Pueblo de Los Ángeles

See also History of Los Angeles

El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles (the Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels) was the Spanish civilian pueblo founded in 1781, which by the 20th century became the American metropolis of Los Angeles.

Official settlements in Alta California were of three types: presidio (military), mission (religious) and pueblo (civil). The Pueblo de los Ángeles was the second pueblo (town) created during the Spanish colonization of California (the first was San Jose, in 1777). El Pueblo de la Reina de los Ángeles—'The Town of the Queen of Angels' was founded twelve years after the first presidio and mission, the Presidio of San Diego and the Mission San Diego de Alcalá (1769). The original settlement consisted of forty-four people in eleven families, recruited mostly from Estado de Occidente. As new settlers arrived and soldiers retired to civilian life in Los Angeles, the town became the principal urban center of southern Alta California, whose social and economic life revolved around the raising of livestock on the expansive ranchos.

Spanish missions in California

The Spanish missions in California comprise a series of 21 religious outposts or missions established between 1769 and 1833 in today's U.S. State of California. Founded by Catholic priests of the Franciscan order to evangelize the Native Americans, the missions led to the creation of the New Spain province of Alta California and were part of the expansion of the Spanish Empire into the most northern and western parts of Spanish North America.

Following long-term secular and religious policy of Spain in Spanish America, the missionaries forced the native Californians to live in settlements called reductions, disrupting their traditional way of life. The missionaries introduced European fruits, vegetables, cattle, horses, ranching, and technology. The missions have been accused by critics, then and now, of various abuses and oppression. In the end, the missions had mixed results in their objectives: to convert, educate, and transform the natives into Spanish colonial citizens.

By 1810, Spain's king had been imprisoned by the French, and financing for military payroll and missions in California ceased. In 1821, Mexico achieved independence from Spain, although Mexico did not send a governor to California until 1824, and only a portion of payroll was ever reinstated (ibid.). The 21,000 Mission Indians produced hide and tallow and wool and textiles at this time, and the leather products were exported to Boston, South America, and Asia which sustained the colonial economy from 1810 until 1830, but tended to give British or New England merchant captains importance. The missions began to lose control over land in the 1820s, as unpaid military men unofficially encroached, but officially missions maintained authority over native neophytes and control of land holdings until the 1830s. At the peak of its development in 1832, the coastal mission system controlled an area equal to approximately one-sixth of Alta California. The Alta California government secularized the missions after the passage of the Mexican secularization act of 1833. This divided the mission lands into land grants, in effect legitimizing and completing the transfer of Indian congregation lands to military commanders and their most loyal men; these became many of the Ranchos of California.

The surviving mission buildings are the state's oldest structures and its most-visited historic monuments. They have become a symbol of California, appearing in many movies and television shows, and are an inspiration for Mission Revival architecture. The oldest cities of California formed around or near Spanish missions, including the four largest: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.

The Californias

The Californias (Spanish: Las Californias), occasionally known as the Three Californias or Two Californias, are a region of North America spanning the United States and Mexico and consisting of the U.S. state of California and the Mexican states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. Historically, the term "The Californias" was used to define the vast northwestern region of Spanish America, as the Province of the Californias (Spanish: Provincia de las Californias), and later as a collective term for Alta California and the Baja California Peninsula.Originally a single, vast entity within the Spanish Empire, as the Californias became defined in their geographical limits, their administration was split various times into Baja California (Lower California) and Alta California (Upper California), especially during the Mexican control of the region, following the Mexican War of Independence. As a part of the Mexican–American War (1846–48), the American Conquest of Alta California saw the vast Alta California territory ceded from Mexico to the United States. The populated coastal region of the territory was Admitted into the Union in 1850 as the State of California, while the vast, sparsely-populated interior region would only later gain statehood as Nevada, Utah, and large parts of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Today, "The Californias" is a collective term to refer to the American and Mexican states bearing the name California, which share geography, history, cultures, and strong economic ties.

The Daily Alta California

The Alta California or Daily Alta California (often miswritten Alta Californian or Daily Alta Californian) was a 19th-century San Francisco newspaper.

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