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Important events briefly told

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Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:36 pm    Post subject: Important events briefly told Reply with quote

Monterey Bay discovered by Cabrillo, a Portuguese navigator in the employ of the Spanish government, and named "La Bahia de los Pinos" (The Bay of Pines).

Landing of Sebastian Vizcaino and the place named "Monterey," meaning the "Forest of the King," literally, "monte del rey."

Arrival of Father Junipero Serra, president of the California missions, and founding of San Carlos mission and presidio of Monterey. Monterey becomes the military and ecclesiastical capital of Alta California.

San Carlos Mission removed to Carmel. The presidio and chapel remain at Monterey where San Carlos church now stands.

The first authority for granting lands in California, given by the Viceroy of Mexico to Commandants Rivera y Moncada upon the occasion of his appointment to the office of commandants. Under these instructions the first land grant in California is made to one Manuel Butron, a soldier of the presidio of Monterey, who had married an Indian neophyte named Margarita Maria. The land granted was near Carmel Mission.

First complete system or code of legislation for the provinces of the Californias (Lower and Upper) is framed by Governor Felipe de Neve, third governor of California, and dated June 1, 1779, at the Royal Presidio of San Carlos de Monterey. These laws contained full provisions for the government of the presidios and other families connected with the military service; also for the colonization of the country and distribution of pueblo lands.

Arrival of the first European woman to California. Dona Eulalia or "Senora Gobernadora," wife of Governor Fages, fourth governor of California, arrives at the presidio of Monterey.

First scientific expedition and first foreign vessel to come to California. In this year the Bay of Monterey and the surrounding country are visited by the famous La Perouse, the French navigator and explorer, who was sent by Louis XVI with an organized expedition to explore the remote parts of the world. La Perouse is accompanied by 200 scientiests of the most polished court in Europe. According to the report of La Perouse, published in 1792, Monterey was then the capital of Upper and Lower California and Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Fages was the resident governor, his authority extending over the two Californias and comprising not less than eight hundred leagues in circumference. Yet two hundred and eighty-two soldiers were the only subjects of this extended domain, the fifty thousand wandering Indians being subjects of mission control.

The white population of Monterey consisted of Governor Fages, with his family and servants, and thirty Spanish soldiers stationed at the fort, together with the priests of San Carlos Mission. Here in this limited community the French visitors were received with open arms. The house of Governor Fages and his servants was placed at their disposal and so courteous and friendly was the attitude of the garrison that La Perouse, to show his appreciation, presented the soldiers with bolts of handsome blue cloth.

Arrival of the first American in California. In this year Alejandro Malaspino, Spanish navigator, landed at Monterey and with him came John Groem, who had shipped as a gunner of this expedition from Cadiz. He remained in Monterey, was baptized by the missionaries, and when he died, was buried at San Carlos mission.

In this same year George Vancouver, the English explorer, visited Monterey.

Monterey was attacked by pirates under Bouchard, a privateer from South America. With two armed vessels they bombarded the town, captured and held the fort for four days, and after setting fire to the presidio and fort and the houses of the governor and commandante and after doing other considerable damage they departed down the coast.

First vaccination in California. The surgeon of the Russian boat Kutusof while in Monterey Bay vaccinated fifty-four persons during the epidemic of that year.

Mexico revolts from Spain and establishes herself as a separate empire. Governor Sola, last Spanish governor of California, calls a meeting of the military and church officials and formally announces the action of Mexico. Monterey reluctantly becomes the Mexican capital and Sola as reluctantly becomes the first Mexican governor of California. Augustine Iturbide, a half Indian, is crowned emperor of Mexico in July, 1822, and when the news reaches Monterey in April, 1823, the oath of allegiance to the emperor is taken at Monterey.

W. E. P. Hartnell, an English merchant, with his partner, Hugh McCulloch, establishes at Monterey the first commercial house in California, as a branch of a firm in Lima.

The Mexican provinces revolt from the Iturbide empire and establish a republic. A few months pass and Iturbide is forced to abdicate the throne and is banished from Mexico. Mexico becomes a republic and the imperial banner is surplanted by the red, white and green of the republic. Thus, Monterey, the capital of Alta California, in little more than one year, passes under three forms of government—that of a kingdom, an empire and a republic.

Mexico adopts liberal colonization laws and authorizes the governors to grant unoccupied lands to all settlers who agreed to cultivate and reside on them. Many settlers availed themselves of this opportunity and vast tracts of land are granted.

Jose Maria Hijar, director of colonization, arrived in Monterey from Mexico with 150 colonists for the purpose of secularizing the missions. In this same year the first printing press and types to come to California are brought to Monterey by Governor Figueroa.

Insurrections arise in Monterey, which finally terminates in the American conquest of California. Disputes arise between Governor N. Gutierrez and Juan B. Alvarado, Secretary of the Territorial Deputacion, concerning the administration of the custom house, resulting in the ousting of Gutierrez, and Alvarado being chosen by the people, governor of California, and Guadalupe Vallejo, military commander.

Premature taking of Monterey by Americans. Commodore A. P. Catesby Jones, in command of the U. S. fleet on the Pacific coast, under the impression that war had been declared between the United States and Mexico entered the harbor of Monterey, captured the fort and raised the Stars and Stripes. The next day, finding himself in error he hauled down his colors and humbly apologized to the Mexican authorities for his conduct.

In May, 1845, the United States government sent John C. Fremont to the Pacific coast. The expedition, consisting of sixty-two men, reached California in January, 1846, and encamped in the Sacramento valley. Fremont proceeded alone to Monterey, to explain to the officials the objects of his presence in the territory and to buy supplies for his men. In company with U. S. Consul Thomas O. Larkin he called on the Prefect Manuel Castro, and informed him that he was engaged in scientific survey of a road to the Pacific coast, and that he desired to pass the remainder of the winter in California, with the intention of leaving for Oregon in the spring. Permission was given him to remain in California with the understanding that the exploring party was not to enter the settlements of the country. After obtaining the necessary supplies, Fremont returned to the Sacramento valley, but on the first of March he moved with all his men to the Alisal ranch, near Salinas.

In the meantime, the Mexican government had begun to take measures against the American immigration that had begun to pour into the country, and had issued instructions to Pio Pico, the governor of California to drive out the American families who had settled on the frontiers. Hearing that Fremont was encamped in the Alisal, Prefect Manuel Castro wrote him the following letter; which translated, reads:

Prefecture of the 2nd District, Monterey, March 5, 1846.
Senor Captain J. C. Fremont:

I have learned with much dissatisfaction that in contempt of the laws and authorities of the Mexican republic you have entered the towns of the district under my charge, with an armed force which the government of your nation must have placed under your command for the sole purpose of examining its own territory.

That this prefecture orders you immediately on the receipt of this communication to withdraw from the limits of this department, with the understanding that if you do not comply, this prefecture will take the measures necessary to compel you to respect this determination. God and liberty.

Prefect of the Second District.

Fremont, instead of leaving, immediately moved to a point on the summit of the Gabilan mountains, called by the Californians, "El Picacho del Gabilan" (Hawk's Peak), but now known as Fremont's Peak. The higher official, General Jose Castro, who was at San Juan Bautista, also sent Fremont a letter asking him to leave. Fremont, however, did not leave, but on March 7, raised the American flag. General Jose Castro gathered his men, about two hundred in number, but did not attack Fremont. After three days' waiting Fremont and his party abandoned their camp and proceeded to the north toward Sacramento. General Castro did not attempt to follow him, but on March 13, issued his proclamation calling Fremont and his men a band of highwaymen who had dared to raise the American flag and defy the authorities. Fremont, on the other hand, wrote to his wife that his sense of duty did not permit him to fight the Californians, but that he retired slowly and growlingly. Fremont afterwards took an active part in the events leading to the final conquest of California. His headquarters were at Monterey when California was under military rule, and the house occupied by him may be seen on Hartnell street.

War having been declared between the United States and Mexico over the annexation of Texas, Commodore John Drake Sloat, commander of the Pacific squadron, arrived in Monterey on the frigate Savannah, and on July 7, 1846, raised the Stars and Stripes over the old Custom House, ending Mexican rule over California forever.

Commodore Sloat acts as military governor until August 17. He is succeeded by Commodore Stockton, and Walter Colton, the chaplain of the frigate Congress, is appointed provisional Alcalde of Monterey.

Intelligence of the discovery of gold on the American Fork reached Monterey. Soon commenced a rush to the mines which depopulated the town, from which it took years to recover.

The government being semi-civil and semi-military and partly American and partly Mexican. Bennett Riley, then military governor, called a convention to meet at Monterey on the first of September, 1849, for the purpose of framing a state constitution. First Constitutional Convention meets at Colton Hall, September 1, 1849.

In April, 1850, the county of Monterey is organized with Monterey as the county seat. Josiah Merritt, a New York attorney and pioneer of January, 1850, is chosen first judge of Monterey county.

California is admitted into the Union on September 9. and Monterey becomes the American state capital.

By an act of the legislature passed April, 1851, the town is duly incorporated as a city and Phillip A. Roach is elected the first mayor of Monterey.

The county seat is removed from Monterey to Salinas where it still remains.

Building of the Monterey and Salinas Valley railroad by Mr. David Jacks and other prominent citizens of Monterey and Salinas. It is to the untiring energy of Mr. Jacks, however, and of Mr. C. S. Abbott of Salinas that the success of the railroad was due. Mr. Jacks gave $25,000 to build the road and borrowed $75,000 on his ranchos, loaning the balance of the $75,000 to other parties who put that amount in the project. Mr. Abbott invested $50,000 and with Mr. Jacks and other citizens, the necessary $85,000 was raised to build the road. The road was sold later to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and the track taken up and a new road, built from Monterey to Castroville, connecting with the main line to San Francisco.
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