Presentation on theme: "During the years California was ruled by Mexico, visitors and settlers from the United States (and elsewhere) arrived in ever greater numbers. Sea-otter."— Presentation transcript:
During the years California was ruled by Mexico, visitors and settlers from the United States (and elsewhere) arrived in ever greater numbers. Sea-otter hunters Beaver hunters Families looking for a new life Even before its founding as a nation, the American colonies were seen as a land of opportunity, and California likewise later on became part of that vision. It too was seen as a place of opportunity for the traders and the trappers as a place to make money. for families as a place to start a new life. So California in a sense was an extension of the American dream... and there's that word.
Yankee traders--fur market in China Overland routes opened up by the beaver trappers Jedediah Smith James Beckwourth African American frontiersman who discovered one of the more accessible routes over the Sierra Nevada Early settlers Thomas Larkin John Sutter Others John C. Fremont James Beckwourth This notes a number of the people who came to California for various reasons and had some influence. The next slide will cover Jedediah Smith, but also noteworthy as far as the frontiersman is James Beckwourth who found a more accessible route over the Sierra Nevada. Thomas Larkin is an early settler, who becomes very influential later on, as well as doing financially well in the state.
The Hudsons Bay Company was already making incursions into California in the 1820s Smith was the first American to arrive in California from the east via land (1827) Smiths heroic journey – the double encirclement of the Far West – was the physical, moral, and geopolitical equivalent of the great voyages of exploration off the California coast in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The Spaniards linked California to the sea; Smith linked California to the interior of the North American continent (Starr 57). In Colton is a plaque commemorating Smiths encampment here in the Inland Empire: http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=51027 http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=51027
William Wolfskill party (1831): an early trapping party that included Jedediah Smith, Abel Stearns (developer of the Valencia orange), and Kit Carson Bartleson-Bidwell Party (1841): the first permanent settlement party Donner Party (1846/7): a tragic case Indicative of a fixed and recurring statement of California as betrayed hope and dystopian tragedy (Starr 63). On this, note, e.g., The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West, the essays of Joan Didion, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication This is a theme we will look at from time to time FYI: Americans have always been moving west Those seeking a better life in California included the Wolfskill party, one of the earliest trapping parties to come to California The Bartleson-Bidwell Party, which is the first to have as its goal permanent settlement. The tragic case of the Donner Party... [Starr's quote is then read] And then I note some other later who view California in that [negative] light, and we will get into that later, as those are all later reflections. I have noted in my own genealogical studies that Americans have always been moving west. Even before the Revolutionary War was fought, in the 1770s and 1780s, Americans were on the move. Colonial Americans were moving into the Kentucky region. And it's amazing to me how many people just kept moving west, into the Ohio Territory A nd so they kept moving west, into the Plains, over the Rockies, and then eventually to California. A very difficult place to get to, as chapter 3 of Starr makes clear.
The party was organized in Springfield, Illinois, in early spring of 1846, and followed the California Trail Began ascent of the Sierra Nevada in October =Bad idea (too late in the year) On November 2, just short of the summit, the party became snowed in until February (the snow was 20 feet high) Major issues: Death and cannibalism For more information, see: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/do nner/ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/do nner/ This slide looks at the tragic case of the Donner Party who tried to cross the Sierra Nevada. Many perished. This took place about three years before Sarah Royce crossed it successfully. You read about Sarah Royce in last week's readings.
Connected Santa Fe to Los Angeles Avoided the Sierra Nevada, but not the desert Many of the early settlers of the Inland Empire area came via this route (e.g., Louis Rubidoux and Lorenzo Trujillo) The largest settlement between the two cities was on the north side of what is today Riverside (the twin villages of La Placita and Agua Mansa, led by Lorenzo Trujillo). Substantial remains of the Trujillo adobe are near the corner of Orange Street and Center Street Map from: http://museumtrail.org/OldSp anishTrail.asp Historians tend to focus on the northern parts of California for the time period we're covering right now and that is understandable, from Monterey to San Francisco and up to Sonoma and then to the east -- Sacramento and the Gold Rush foothills of the Sierra Nevada. But people were also coming to southern California. This slide notes a couple of things concerning that phenomenon. I went by the Trujillo Adobe recently and noted that they now have it completely covered by a wood shell to protect it from any further decay. It was built in the 1860s, and Trujillo was a notable leader of the two communities noted on this slide.
Gold was discovered at Sutters mill on January 24, 1848 This was merely days before the Mexican government surrendered to the United States to end the Mexican-American War, and in the process surrendered California to the United States. The remaining slides cover aspects of the Gold Rush, which is covered well in Starr's book.
The worldwide rush to the California goldfields began in earnest during the winter and early spring of 1849. Sea Routes Panamanian isthmus (3-5 months) Cape Horn (5-8 months) Overland Trail
California: The Great Exception One of the things that separates California from the other 49 states is the way that it has grown: rocket- fashion in a series of chain-reaction explosions One of these major chain reactions was the gold rush. We have been noting up to this point just how sparsely populated California is as far as the non-Native American population and tragically even the Native American population is declining due to disease. But with the California Gold Rush, California's population greatly increases, and increases very quickly and so the Gold Rush is really an important event in the history of California.
It coincided with a revolution in the means of transportation and communication Reliable ocean-going travel was available It was the first poor mans gold rush in history Open to all = Equal opportunity (and self-employment) Private ownership of mine a possibility Equal opportunity aided by the gold being found over a large area (= no monopolies) Location of the gold On government lands (public property) The gold was accessible (near the surface) The Federal governments right to the gold was not pressed (remember, California was a US possession already in a state of semi-anarchy) Law and order established through local mining districts Locally agreed establishment of social rules Water rights law established Vigilance committees to handle crimes This slide covers notable characteristics of California's Gold Rush. I want to temper one of the statements here, and that is that it was open to all, or an equal opportunity venture. Well, it was for a lot of people, but California enacted taxes on foreigners who came to mine the fields and there was a lot of racism and ethnic descrimination and so the statement about the Gold Rush being open to all needs to be qualified significantly The information for this can be found on pp. 86-87 of Starr's book.
Californias population grew quickly 1848: 15,000 non-Native Americans 1852: 223,000 non-Native Americans At first, businesses closed, including agricultural businesses, because no one was around to work them (off to mining), and the inflation rate in mining areas became astronomical However, other businesses were established and began to prosper as they contributed to the mining cause (lumber, urban construction, wheat production, iron, wheel and wagon manufacturing, banking) The environment was impacted negatively and significantly The gold rush was the product of mass hysteria, and it set a tone for California and created a state of mind in which greed predominated and disorder and violence were all too frequent (R&B 115) This slide covers the impact of California's Gold Rush on California... in population, in economicsand in its impact on the environment One of the readings in Merchant is by Rowe discussing how devastating hydraulic mining was to the environment of California, with its destruction of vegetation.