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History of California


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 03:13 PM

You will find a very detailed history of California here:

http://www.spartacus...Wcalifornia.htm

#2 Greg Burnham

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 11:56 PM

Well, I live in downtown San Diego, and it is anything but a ghetto! I was born here in 1957, so I've seen it over decades. It is not a ghetto. Not even close. We were in San Francisco last month, it is not a ghetto either. We were in Los Angeles last week, and although I really don't care for LA, it's not a ghetto as a whole. There are seedy areas in any city the size of LA, but... We also were in Sonoma last year--awesome place. We drove home down the coast (Pacific Coast Highway)--nothing ghetto like there, either. My daughter was married in Santa Barbara 3 years ago, not a ghetto.

When you came back, did you only visit Watts?


You will find a very detailed history of California here:

http://www.spartacus...Wcalifornia.htm


I grew up in Southern California and loved it...surfin, crusin, sun most of the time, drive to the snow in the winter, neat. I left to go into the service in 1963, retired and went home in 1988 and found I was priced-out of living there. Went back again in 2008, and realized what a ghetto the entire place has become, couldn't leave fast enough.

It's a shame, it once was a great place to live.


Edited by Greg Burnham, 15 June 2011 - 03:41 PM.


#3 Pamela Brown

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 12:23 AM

Living in San Francisco was, for me, a dream come true. It was not easy to get used to, after knowing where everything was in NYC, but I found myself transformed by the natural beauty and the people. One needs to have an embracing attitude though; whether it is the cost, the density, the eccentricities, or at times the rather arrogant sense of entitlement of those who live there that the rest of us have to deal with. I was dragged away from SF kicking and screaming and now my family keeps me in the Twin Cities, but I am committed to spending as much time there and in CA as I can.

#4 John Simkin

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 05:54 AM

Living in San Francisco was, for me, a dream come true. It was not easy to get used to, after knowing where everything was in NYC, but I found myself transformed by the natural beauty and the people. One needs to have an embracing attitude though; whether it is the cost, the density, the eccentricities, or at times the rather arrogant sense of entitlement of those who live there that the rest of us have to deal with. I was dragged away from SF kicking and screaming and now my family keeps me in the Twin Cities, but I am committed to spending as much time there and in CA as I can.



I have just come back from San Francisco. It is my favourite US city. One of the reasons I like San Francisco is that it fully embraces change. It has been argued that every technological advance that has taken place over the last 100 years can be traced back to California. Kevin Starr, the author of California (2005) has argued that the character of the people of the state has been moulded by the 1848 Californian Gold Rush.

http://www.spartacus...SAgoldrushC.htm

I am also very fond of San Diego. Both cities have that relaxed, tolerant attitude that reflects the best of the US. I was less impressed with Los Angeles. However, the real highlight of the trip was spending time in Yosemite. We don’t have places like that in the UK.

#5 Greg Burnham

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 06:21 AM

Greetings, John!

I am very pleased that you have experienced my home state and have found it good. It is home, to be sure. My wife and I went to Hawaii about 6 weeks ago to celebrate our anniversary. We had a great trip, although I got tossed about by a HUGE wave on our second day, resulting in whiplash! But, wherever we have travelled, which has been fairly extensive, we ALWAYS love coming back home to San Diego. I will probably never make my primary residence elsewhere. Nothing compares to it, in my opinion...and I am grateful to be fortunate enough to live here.



Living in San Francisco was, for me, a dream come true. It was not easy to get used to, after knowing where everything was in NYC, but I found myself transformed by the natural beauty and the people. One needs to have an embracing attitude though; whether it is the cost, the density, the eccentricities, or at times the rather arrogant sense of entitlement of those who live there that the rest of us have to deal with. I was dragged away from SF kicking and screaming and now my family keeps me in the Twin Cities, but I am committed to spending as much time there and in CA as I can.



I have just come back from San Francisco. It is my favourite US city. One of the reasons I like San Francisco is that it fully embraces change. It has been argued that every technological advance that has taken place over the last 100 years can be traced back to California. Kevin Starr, the author of California (2005) has argued that the character of the people of the state has been moulded by the 1848 Californian Gold Rush.

http://www.spartacus...SAgoldrushC.htm

I am also very fond of San Diego. Both cities have that relaxed, tolerant attitude that reflects the best of the US. I was less impressed with Los Angeles. However, the real highlight of the trip was spending time in Yosemite. We don’t have places like that in the UK.


Edited by Greg Burnham, 15 June 2011 - 03:40 PM.


#6 John Simkin

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 07:46 AM

An interesting story about the history of California. The first ever wagon train taking people from the Missouri to California left Sapling Grove on 9th May, 1841. John Bidwell, the leader of the expedition, later admitted that: "Our ignorance of the route was complete. We knew that California lay west, and that was the extent of our knowledge." In fact, before Bidwell's trip, no one had travelled overland from the east to the Pacific coast.

Of the 69 people in Bidwell's party who set out from Sapling Grove, only 33 people reached Marsh's Fort on 4th November. They were clearly playing for high stakes. Four of the party, John Bidwell, Josiah Belden, Charles Weber and Robert Thomas, all became multi-millionaires. It was indeed the land of opportunity.

http://www.spartacus...Wcalifornia.htm

http://www.spartacus...k/WWbidwell.htm

http://www.spartacus...k/WWbeldenJ.htm

http://www.spartacus...uk/WWweberC.htm

#7 John Simkin

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 09:35 AM

It is believed that humans arrived in California from north-east Asia about 12,000 years ago. They divided and separated into groups that chose different areas to settle. This included the Chahuilla, Chumash, Gabrielino, Hopi, Karok, Klamath, Maidu, Miwok, Pomo, Papago, Maidu, Wintu and Yurok tribes. The anthropologist, Alfred L. Kroeber, has argued that large tribes were rare in California. He claimed that most lived in "tribelets" that contained up to 500 people.

Kevin Starr, the author of California (2005) has argued that by the 15th century "something approaching one third of all Native Americans living within the present day boundaries of the continental United States - which is to say, more than three hundred thousand people - are estimated to have been living within the present-day boundaries of California."

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 06:18 AM

In 1577, a group of investors that included Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, Christopher Hatton, John Wynter and John Hawkins, decided to support a plan for Francis Drake to take a fleet into the Pacific and raid Spanish settlements there. Two years later, Drake's The Golden Hinde was leaking badly and needed to be careened. On 17th June 1579 Drake landed in a bay on the the coast of California. According to Drake's biographer, Harry Kelsey: "Sixteenth-century accounts and maps can be interpreted to show that he stopped anywhere between the southern tip of Baja California and latitude 48° N."

Most historians believe that Drake had stopped in a bay on the Point Reyes peninsula (now known as Drake's Bay). Drake has been reported as saying: "By God's Will we hath been sent into this fair and good bay. Let us all, with one consent, both high and low, magnify and praise our most gracious and merciful God for his infinite and unspeakable goodness toward us. By God's faith hath we endured such great storms and such hardships as we have seen in these uncharted seas. To be delivered here of His safekeeping, I protest we are not worthy of such mercy."

A local group of Miwok brought him a present of a bunch of feathers and tobacco leaves in a basket. John Sugden, the author of Sir Francis Drake (1990) has argued: "It appeared to the English that the Indians regarded them as gods; they were impervious to English attempts to explain who they were, but at least they remained friendly, and when they had received clothing and other gifts the natives returned happily and noisily to their village."

On 26th June a large group of Miwok arrived at Drake's camp. The chief, wearing a head-dress and a skin cape, was followed by painted warriors, each one of whom bore a gift. At the rear of the cavalcade were women and children. A man holding a sceptre of black wood and wearing a chain of clam shells, stepped forward and made a thirty minute speech. While this was going on the women indulged in a strange ritual of self-mutilation that included scratching their faces until the blood flowed. Robert F. Heizer has argued in Elizabethan California (1974) that self-mutilation is associated with mourning and that the Miwok probably thought the British sailors were spirits returning from the dead. However, Drake took the view that they were proclaiming him king of the Miwok tribe.

Drake now claimed the land for Queen Elizabeth. He named it Nova Albion "in respect of the white banks and cliffs, which lie towards the sea". Apparently, the cliffs of Point Reyes reminded Drake of the coast at Dover. Drake had a post set up with a plate bearing his name and the date of arriving in California.

When the The Golden Hinde left on 23rd July, the Miwok exhibited great distress and ran to the hill-tops to keep the ship in sight for as long as possible. Drake later wrote that during his time in California, "not withstanding it was the height of summer, we were continually visited with nipping cold, neither could we at any time within a fourteen day period find the air so clear as to be able to take height the sun or stars."

Drake then sailed along the California coast but like Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo before him, failed to see the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay beyond. This is probably because the area is often shrouded in fog during the summer. The heat in the California Central Valley causes the air there to rise. This can create strong winds which pull cool moist air in from over the ocean through the break in the hills, causing a stream of dense fog to enter the bay.

http://www.spartacus...k/TUDdrakeF.htm

#9 John Simkin

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 10:49 AM

Robert F. Heizer, published an interesting book called "The Natural World of the California Indians" in 1980. It included the following:

All over California rituals of supplication, appreciation, and condolence were made in connection with hunting or plant-food gathering, an acknowledgment by man of the crucial help he had received. These feelings were given tacit expression in rituals such as the first-salmon ceremony among the Yurok Indians of Northwestern California. The ritual was designed to assure a constant and adequate supply of salmon, even for tribes living above the Yurok on the Klamath River. Hunters had to be physically clean if deer were to allow themselves to be shot, and so the hunter bathed, stood in fragrant smoke, avoided sexual contact for a certain period before he hunted, and thought pure thoughts. Where some, today, might say that a hunter purified himself to remove the human odor, which would alarm the deer, Indians would have said that that was the way the deer wished it if they were to permit themselves to be shot. A Wintu hunter had to possess two things. First was skill in stalking deer and the ability to use his bow. Second was what was called "luck," by which was meant ensuring that the spirit of the deer was not offended by the failure of the hunter to go through the proper ritual preparation. A Wintu hunter who had lost his luck that is, could not succeed in killing a deer - did not say. "I cannot kill deer any more"; he said, "Deer don't want to die for me."

#10 John Simkin

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 07:14 AM

The ethnographer, Dorothy Demetrocopoulou, interviewed a very old Wintu woman in 1930:


The white people never cared for land or deer or bear. When we Indians kill meat we eat it all up. When we dig roots we make little holes. When we build houses we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers we don't ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don't chop down the trees. We use only dead wood. But the white people plow up the ground, pull up the trees, kill everything. The tree says, "Don't. I am sore. Don't hurt me." But they chop it down and cut it up. The spirit of the land hates them. They blast out trees and stir it up to its depths. They saw up the trees. That hurts them. The Indians never hurt anything, but the white people destroy all. They blast rocks and scatter them on the earth. The rock says, "Don't. You are hurting me...." The water, it can't be hurt. The white people go to the river and turn it into dry land. The water says, "I don't care. I am water. You can use me all you wish. I am always the same. I can't be used up. Use me. I am water. You can't hurt me." The white people use the water of sacred springs in their houses. The water says, "That is all right. You can use me but you can't overcome me." All that is water says this. "Wherever you put me I'll be in my home. I am awfully smart. Lead me out of my springs, lead me from my rivers, but I came from the ocean and I shall go back into the ocean. You can dig a ditch and put me in it, but I go only so far and I am out of sight. I am awfully smart. When I am out of sight I am on my way home."

http://www.spartacus....uk/WWwintu.htm

http://www.spartacus...mericanwest.htm

#11 John Simkin

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 04:08 PM

Jean-François de Galaup de la Pérouse was selected as the leader of a French expedition around the world. On 1st August 1785, La Pérouse, in command of two ships, La Boussole and L'Astrolabe left Brest. Among his 114-man crew there were ten scientists. After rounding Cape Horn he visited Chile, Easter Island and the Sandwich Islands.

La Pérouse was amazed by what he observed in Alaska. "We had already been to the end of the bay which is perhaps the most extraordinary place on earth. Imagine a vast basin, whose depth in the centre is impossible to estimate, edged by great, steep, snow-covered mountains; not a single blade of grass can be seen on this immense rocky mass which Nature has condemned to perpetual sterility. I have never seen a single breath of wind disturb the surface of this water which is affected only by the enormous blocks of ice that fall quite frequently from five different glaciers, making as they drop a sound that echoes far into the mountains. The air is so clear and the silence so deep that the voice of one man can be heard half a league away, as can the sound of birds which have laid their eggs in the hollows formed by the rocks."

On 13th July 1786 La Pérouse sent out two longboats to explore Lituya Bay. He recalled in his journal that Charles-Marie Fantin de Boutin and his boat returned on his own: "At 10 a.m. I saw my little boat coming back. Somewhat surprised as I was not expecting it so soon, I asked Mr Boutin before he had a chance to come on board whether there was something new; I feared at first an attack by the natives; Mr Boutin's appearance was not reassuring: the greatest sadness showed on his face. He soon told me of the awful disaster he had just witnessed and from which he had escaped only because his firm character had enabled him to see what resources he still had in such a great peril. Carried (by following his commanding officer) towards the breakers leading to the pass while the tide was flowing out at 3 or 4 leagues an hour, he decided to present the stern of his boat to the waves so that, pushed by them and abandoning himself to them, they would not swamp his boat, but nevertheless he was likely to be carried out to sea by the tide. Soon he saw the breakers in front of him and found himself in the open sea: more concerned about the safety of his comrades than his own, he rowed along the edge of the breakers in the hope of saving some; he even went back among them, but the tide continued to drive him out. In the end he climbed on Mr Mouton's shoulders in order to scan a wider scene: it was all in vain, everything had sunk out of sight!" All the men in the other boat were drowned.

In August the La Pérouse expedition turned south where they surveyed the coast of California. On 14th September, 1786, La Pérouse landed at Monterey. He wrote in his journal: The sea is fairly rough and one can only stay a few hours in such an anchorage, waiting for daylight or a break in the fog... One cannot put into words the number of whales that surrounded us nor their familiarity; they blew constantly, within half a pistol shot of our frigates, and filled the air with a great stench."

La Pérouse visited Fort Loreto, the Presidio of Monterey: "Loreto is the only Presidio of the Old California on the East coast of this peninsula; it has a garrison of 54 cavalrymen who supply small detachments to the following 15 missions, which are in the care of the Dominican Fathers who succeeded the Jesuits and the Franciscans; the latter have remained in sole charge of the ten missions of New California."

In his journal he commented that the Spanish had built 15 missions in California. He argued: "I have already made known my opinion that the way of life of the people who have been converted to Christianity would be more favourable to a growth in population if the right of property and a certain freedom formed the basis of it; however, since the ten mission stations were set up in Northern California, the Fathers have baptised 7701 Indians of both sexes and have buried only 2388. But it must be stressed that this calculation does not indicate, as in European cities, whether the population is growing or not, because they baptise Independent Indians every day; the only consequence is that Christianity is spreading, and I have already said that the matters of the next life could not be in better hands."

La Pérouse met members of the Costanoans tribe while he was in Monterey: "These Indians are very skilful with the bow; they killed some tiny birds in our presence; it must be said that their patience as they creep towards them is hard to describe; they hide and, so to speak, snake up to the game, releasing the arrow from a mere 15 paces. Their skill with large game is even more impressive; we all of us saw an Indian with a deer's head tied over his own, crawling on all fours, pretending to eat grass, and carrying out this pantomime in such a way that our hunters would have shot him from 30 paces if they had not been forewarned. In this way they go up to deer herds within very close range and kill them with their arrows."

http://www.spartacus...uk/WWgalaup.htm

#12 Chris Bennett

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 07:15 AM

An interesting story about the history of California. The first ever wagon train taking people from the Missouri to California left Sapling Grove on 9th May, 1841. John Bidwell, the leader of the expedition, later admitted that: "Our ignorance of the route was complete. We knew that California lay west, and that was the extent of our knowledge." In fact, before Bidwell's trip, no one had travelled overland from the east to the Pacific coast.

Of the 69 people in Bidwell's party who set out from Sapling Grove, only 33 people reached Marsh's Fort on 4th November. They were clearly playing for high stakes. Four of the party, John Bidwell, Josiah Belden, Charles Weber and Robert Thomas, all became multi-millionaires. It was indeed the land of opportunity.

http://www.spartacus...Wcalifornia.htm

http://www.spartacus...k/WWbidwell.htm

http://www.spartacus...k/WWbeldenJ.htm

http://www.spartacus...uk/WWweberC.htm


It still blows me away that there were 100 Whites in all of California in 1841. Eight years later there were over 100,000. That's quite a diaspora!

#13 Chris Bennett

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 07:20 AM


Living in San Francisco was, for me, a dream come true. It was not easy to get used to, after knowing where everything was in NYC, but I found myself transformed by the natural beauty and the people. One needs to have an embracing attitude though; whether it is the cost, the density, the eccentricities, or at times the rather arrogant sense of entitlement of those who live there that the rest of us have to deal with. I was dragged away from SF kicking and screaming and now my family keeps me in the Twin Cities, but I am committed to spending as much time there and in CA as I can.



I have just come back from San Francisco. It is my favourite US city. One of the reasons I like San Francisco is that it fully embraces change. It has been argued that every technological advance that has taken place over the last 100 years can be traced back to California. Kevin Starr, the author of California (2005) has argued that the character of the people of the state has been moulded by the 1848 Californian Gold Rush.

http://www.spartacus...SAgoldrushC.htm

I am also very fond of San Diego. Both cities have that relaxed, tolerant attitude that reflects the best of the US. I was less impressed with Los Angeles. However, the real highlight of the trip was spending time in Yosemite. We don’t have places like that in the UK.


I was raised in Illinois and Missouri, and have lived near San Francisco for the past 16 years. It's not the cheapest place to live by a long shot. But it's such a beautiful place and has so much to offer. I find the people unusually open and hopeful and innovation is taken for granted here, quite unlike my hometowns. The number of activities and places to visit within a 2-3 hour drive are amazing.

John, I agree that Yosemite is a unique place. We stay in old cabins near the park every year to enjoy the splendor of nature.

#14 Pamela Brown

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 02:25 AM

I am starting to get homesick for SF again. It happens every year at about this time. I moved away to Boston about the time of Chinese New Year, and despite the fact that it is usually foggy and rainy during the winter months, it is just about the only place I want to be. I was so happy to be able to spend some time there during Chinese New Year last year; even got stuck there because of a blizzard in MN that caused nearly 1,000 flights to be canceled.

I am as impressed now as when I lived there with the acceptance of diversity and just complete genius that abounds there. It is almost like a separate country to me; I know when I am there the most unexpected things will happen, and the most magical surprises as well. I carry around in my rain parka a rock from outside the Cliff House, just to remind me.

http://www.facebook....&type=3
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I lived across the street from the Japanese Trade Center; adjacent to the St. Mary's Cathedral. What a wonderful neighborhood.

Edited by Pamela Brown, 18 December 2011 - 02:43 AM.


#15 John Simkin

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 04:44 PM

I am as impressed now as when I lived there with the acceptance of diversity and just complete genius that abounds there. It is almost like a separate country to me; I know when I am there the most unexpected things will happen, and the most magical surprises as well.


I love California. As you say, it is like a separate country. But so is New England. It always annoys me when people generalize about the United States. As the name suggests, it is really a collection of different countries that are as different to each other as is Europe.




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