California History - the history of California
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   California   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   California History

   
 

California History


Prior to the arrival of Europeans, California was inhabited by many distinct groups of Native Americans.

The Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo reached San Diego Bay in 1542, and claimed the area for Spain. From 1565, Spanish traders are known to have made visits to the area, and the English explorer, Sir Francis Drake visited the region in 1579. Spain began to colonize the territory beginning in 1769, with the establishment of fortresses (presidios) and missions.

When Mexico became independent from Spain as a result of the Mexican War of Independence (1810 to 1821), the territory became part of Mexico. Following a brief revolt by US settlers (the Bear Revolt - from which California gets its flag) in 1846, California first became an independent republic, and then soon after was annexed by the United States.

In 1849, gold was discovered in the region, a huge number of immigrants arrived. California was admitted as the 31st state of the Union on September 9th, 1850. Following the establishment of transcontinental railroads and highways, migration to California continued and accelerated, a pattern that has to the present day, making the state into the most populous in the Union.

California played a relatively minor role in the American Civil War (1861 to 1865). While it is true that the state was home to some Confederate sympathizers, they were not allowed to organize and their newspapers were closed, and hence the state remained peaceful. The main involvement of California during the war, was that California Column, a force of 2,000 Union volunteers who marched across New Mexico and Arizona (at that time both part of the New Mexico Territory) into western Texas, engaged in some skirmishes with the Confederates, and spent most of the war fighting Apaches.

In the 20th century, California continued to grow both in population and economic important. When oil was discovered in southern California it was, for a time, the most important industry in the state. California also became an important center of movie-making and the entertainment industry more generally. During World War II, the state produced massive amounts of armaments for the Allied war effort. In more recent years, California became a key location in the new computer and high technology industries.


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California: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)

By Kevin Starr

Starr, Kevin
Released: 2007-03-13
Paperback (416 pages)

California: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)
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“A California classic . . . California, it should be remembered, was very much the wild west, having to wait until 1850 before it could force its way into statehood. so what tamed it? Mr. Starr’s answer is a combination of great men, great ideas and great projects.”—The Economist

From the age of exploration to the age of Arnold, the Golden State’s premier historian distills the entire sweep of California’s history into one splendid volume. Kevin Starr covers it all: Spain’s conquest of the native peoples of California in the early sixteenth century and the chain of missions that helped that country exert control over the upper part of the territory; the discovery of gold in January 1848; the incredible wealth of the Big Four railroad tycoons; the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906; the emergence of Hollywood as the world’s entertainment capital and of Silicon Valley as the center of high-tech research and development; the role of labor, both organized and migrant, in key industries from agriculture to aerospace. In a rapid-fire epic of discovery, innovation, catastrophe, and triumph, Starr gathers together everything that is most important, most fascinating, and most revealing about our greatest state.

Praise for California

“[A] fast-paced and wide-ranging history . . . [Starr] accomplishes the feat with skill, grace and verve.”Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Kevin Starr is one of california’s greatest historians, and California is an invaluable contribution to our state’s record and lore.”—MarIa ShrIver, journalist and former First Lady of California

“A breeze to read.”San Francisco

Historical Atlas of California: With Original Maps

By Derek Hayes

University of California Press
Hardcover (256 pages)

Historical Atlas of California: With Original Maps
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Product Description:
Using nearly five hundred historical maps and many other illustrations―from rough sketches drawn in the field to commercial maps to beautifully rendered works of art―this lavishly illustrated volume is the first to tell the story of California's past from a unique visual perspective. Covering five hundred years of history, it offers a compelling and informative look at the transformation of the state from before European contact through the Gold Rush and up to the present. The maps are accompanied by a concise, engaging narrative and by extended captions that elucidate the stories and personalities behind their creation. At once a valuable reference and an exhilarating adventure through history, the Historical Atlas of California, featuring many rare and unusual maps, will be a treasured addition to any library. Distilling an enormous amount of information into one volume, it presents a fascinating chronicle of how California came to be what it is today.

Copub: Douglas & McIntyre

California: A History

By Andrew Rolle

Wiley-Blackwell
Paperback (456 pages)

California: A History
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The eighth edition of California: A History covers the entire scope of the history of the Golden State, from before first contact with Europeans through the present; an accessible and compelling narrative that comprises the stories of the many diverse peoples who have called, and currently do call, California home.

  • Explores the latest developments relating to California’s immigration, energy, environment, and transportation concerns
  • Features concise chapters and a narrative approach along with numerous maps, photographs, and new graphic features to facilitate student comprehension
  • Offers illuminating insights into the significant events and people that shaped the lengthy and complex history of a state that has become synonymous with the American dream
  • Includes discussion of recent – and uniquely Californian – social trends connecting Hollywood, social media, and Silicon Valley – and most recently "Silicon Beach"

An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 (The Lamar Series in Western History)

By Benjamin Madley

YALE
Paperback (520 pages)

An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 (The Lamar Series in Western History)
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Product Description:
The first full account of the government-sanctioned genocide of California Indians under United States rule

Between 1846 and 1873, California’s Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000. Benjamin Madley is the first historian to uncover the full extent of the slaughter, the involvement of state and federal officials, the taxpayer dollars that supported the violence, indigenous resistance, who did the killing, and why the killings ended. This deeply researched book is a comprehensive and chilling history of an American genocide.
  
Madley describes pre-contact California and precursors to the genocide before explaining how the Gold Rush stirred vigilante violence against California Indians. He narrates the rise of a state-sanctioned killing machine and the broad societal, judicial, and political support for genocide. Many participated: vigilantes, volunteer state militiamen, U.S. Army soldiers, U.S. congressmen, California governors, and others. The state and federal governments spent at least $1,700,000 on campaigns against California Indians. Besides evaluating government officials’ culpability, Madley considers why the slaughter constituted genocide and how other possible genocides within and beyond the Americas might be investigated using the methods presented in this groundbreaking book.

California: On the Edge of American History

By Ronald Genini

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (626 pages)

California: On the Edge of American History
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With its borders spanning almost the entire western coast of the United States and its size dominating most other states in the country, it’s no wonder California has long fascinated pioneers and scholars alike. With such a long history, it could feel overwhelming to try to gain a comprehensive understanding of the state’s full history—until now.

California: On the Edge of American History is a stunning survey of a state many people call home, yet few truly understand. Based on masterly historical research, this is a book that immerses you in the full evolution of one of the country’s most electrifying places.

This book approaches some of the most important parts of California’s story with honesty, compassion, and rigorous research. Whether you hope to gain more insight into the native tribes of the state, the Mexican War of Independence, the Donner Party, or what life was like during World War II, California: On the Edge of American History fearlessly exposes every light moment and every dark shadow with astute vision.

A place of innovation, cultural immersion, and geographical beauty, California has stories hiding in every shadow of her landscape. With this book, you can learn them all.

California: An Interpretive History

By James J Rawls Instructor of History

McGraw-Hill Education
Paperback (576 pages)

California: An Interpretive History
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Now in its tenth edition, this best-selling text continues to provide an up-to-date survey of California history and offers original interpretations of the major challenges faced by the nation’s most populous and economically powerful state.

Highway 99: The History of California's Main Street

By Stephen H. Provost

CRAVEN STREET
Released: 2017-09-15
Paperback (270 pages)

Highway 99: The History of California s Main Street
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  • CRAVEN STREET
Product Description:
Before it was a modern freeway, California’s State Highway 99 was “the main street of California,” a simple two-lane road that passed through the downtowns of every city between the Mexican border and the Oregon state line. Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street turns back the clock to those days when a narrow ribbon of asphalt tied the state’s communities together, with classic roadside attractions and plenty of fun along the way.

Highway 99 documents the birth, growth, and transformation of the highway; the gas stations, motels, restaurants, and attractions that flourished and declined by the roadside; and the communities, personalities, and historical events that made their mark on the highway. From the migrations of the Dust Bowl to the birth of the Bakersfield Sound to the foundation of America’s fast-food culture, the history of California has happened around Highway 99, and Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street brilliantly depicts that history.

The History of Alta California: A Memoir of Mexican California

By Antonio Maria Osio

University of Wisconsin Press
Released: 1996-05-15
Paperback (400 pages)

The History of Alta California: A Memoir of Mexican California
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Antonio María Osio’s La Historia de Alta California was the first written history of upper California during the era of Mexican rule, and this is its first complete English translation. A Mexican-Californian, government official, and the landowner of Angel Island and Point Reyes, Osio writes colorfully of life in old Monterey, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and gives a first-hand account of the political intrigues of the 1830s that led to the appointment of Juan Bautista Alvarado as governor.
    Osio wrote his History in 1851, conveying with immediacy and detail the years of the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846–1848 and the social upheaval that followed. As he witnesses California’s territorial transition from Mexico to the United States, he recalls with pride the achievements of Mexican California in earlier decades and writes critically of the onset of U.S. influence and imperialism. Unable to endure life as foreigners in their home of twenty-seven years, Osio and his family left Alta California for Mexico in 1852.
    Osio’s account predates by a quarter century the better-known reminiscences of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo and Juan Bautista Alvarado and the memoirs of Californios dictated to Hubert Howe Bancroft’s staff in the 1870s. Editors Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz have provided an accurate, complete translation of Osio’s original manuscript, and their helpful introduction and notes offer further details of Osio’s life and of society in Alta California.

Pacific Eldorado: A History of Greater California

By Thomas J. Osborne

Wiley-Blackwell
Paperback (434 pages)

Pacific Eldorado: A History of Greater California
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  • Wiley-Blackwell
Product Description:
Osborne's work is the first history text to explore the sweep of California's past in relationship to its connections within the maritime world of the Pacific Basin.
  • Presents a provocative and original interpretation of the entire span of California history
  • Reveals how the area's Pacific Basin connections have shaped the Golden State's past
  • Refutes the widely held notion among historians that California was isolated before the onset of the American period in the mid-1800s
  • Represents the first text to draw on anthropologist Jon Erlandson's findings that California's first human inhabitants were likely prehistoric Asian seafarers who navigated the Pacific Rim coastline
  • Includes instructor resources in an online companion site: www.wiley.com/go/osborne

A History of California and an Extended History of Los Angeles

By James Miller Guinn

Jazzybee Verlag
Released: 2015-11-20
Kindle Edition (451 pages)

A History of California and an Extended History of Los Angeles
 
Product Description:
Few states of the United States have a more varied, a more interesting or a more instructive history than California, and few have done so little to preserve their history. In narrating the story of California, the author has endeavored to deal justly with the different eras and episodes of its history; to state facts; to tell the truth without favoritism or prejudice; to give credit where credit is due and censure where it is deserved. This accounts also for the prominence of Los Angeles in the second half of this volume. The consolidation of Los Angeles city and the cities of Wilmington, San Pedro and Hollywood has merged the history of these three into that of the Greater Los Angeles. The early history of these cities is given separately up to their consolidation.

All over this book is a real treasure chest and every single of its more than 400 pages is a must-read for the people of California and Los Angeles County.


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