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California was a remote province of Spain (1769 – 1822) and then Mexico (1822 - 1846).
Father Junipero Sierra was early California's most famous resident, he is remembered for establishing a string of Franciscan missions that eventually reached from San Diego to Santa Rosa. California was so far off the beaten path in those days that San Francisco Bay hadn't been discovered until Father Sierra's first expedition of 1769.
Life wasn't so easy, there were numerous Indian uprisings and from approximately 1800 to 1830 the Anza trail from Mexico to California was largely cut off due to hostile Indian attacks. This along with an extremely poor Mexican economy after their War of Independence effectively isolated most of the province from overland travel.
The main source of currency during these years were cow hides, which were also known as California dollars. The economy was based on a number of large 50,000 acre ranches that had been built on the Spanish land grants, there were also the missions, the several presidios and the occasional ships that stopped by to pick up the cow hides and tallow. Records indicate that "in 1828, the revenue generated from the hide and tallow trade in San Diego was $34,000—nearly six times that at San Francisco."
One report that struck me was from an early tourist who noted that they had no schools and that the now famous California wine tasted sour. Another was from a pioneer who had just arrived at Sutter's fort after having travelled overland in the 1840s, he noted how pleasantly surprised he was when offered a cup of hot English coco - surprised that "coco had been able to be imported such a great distance."
The Mexican government had a program where if you committed a crime you were given a choice, you could either go to prison or relocate to California, so it must of been a pretty wild frontier situation.
When the Mexican-American War broke out in 1846 it was estimated that the state had a non-indigenous population of around 10,000. A good percentage of California's non-indigenous inhabitants were European/American by this time while the original settlers were Spanish, African and Indian mix. There was also a notable Russian population with some British (Hudson's Bay Company) settlements in the Northern part of the state. The largest town in California when the U.S. took over was the state capitol at Monterrey, which had an estimated population of 810 at the time.
Here is an interesting accout of life in Mexican California:
Remember Goliad posted on 2005-11-02
"A literalist can't help but conclude that citizenship is conferred by birth on US soil."
Couldn't disagree more.
"As it turns out "all persons" was merely "all American citizens," as evidenced by the man wrote the fourteenth's citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan:
This amendment which I have offered [citizenship clause to the fourteenth amendment] is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.
256 posted on 11/04/2005 by moehoward