History 473 California Timeline Project

  • 1542

    Spain Claimed California as its territory

    In 1542 Spain claimed California as its territory. However, the Spanish did not attempt to occupy the land until the later 1700s.
  • Founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala

    Mission San Diego de Alcala was founded in 1769 as the first Californian Franciscan mission. This is the first of the 21 missions that would be run by the padres and have a significant impact on California's development.
  • Period: to

    The Spanish Colonial Period

    During this time Spanish settlement along California's coast was taking place. Some of the settlers included priests and soldiers. This period is when Spanish missions were being established. This ultimately disputed native life and altered California forever.
    1542: Spain claimed California as its territory
    1769: First mission (Mission San Diego de Alcala) is founded in California.
    1806: Measles outbreak amongst the Native people of California (brought by Spanish settlers/missionaries)
  • 1775 Kumeyaay Tribespeople attack San Diego Mission

    In 1775, Hundred of Kumeyaay tribespeople attacked the San Diego mission. They killed Fr. Jayme in response to their poor conditions on the mission.
  • Jose Francisco Ortega Establish Presidio

    In 1782, Ortega founded Mission San Buenaventura and the Presidio of Santa Barbara during his expedition. He was the first Commandant of the Presidio of Santa Barbara until 1784.
  • Revolt at Mission San Gabriel

    In 1790, Nicolas Jose was upset with the Franciscans and mission guards. This led him to decide to rebel against the mission. Jose helped spearhead the Revolt against the mission.
  • Mission Santa Barbra Founded

    Mission Santa Barbra was founded by Padre Fermin de Francisco. He aimed to teach the native people religion and sustainable farming methods. The Santa Barbara mission made contact with the Chumash people,
  • Measles Epidemic

    In 1806 there was a measles outbreak amongst the native people of California. This would kill many native people and lessen their number by the thousand. In short, this also made native people susceptible to attacks.
  • Spain Convenes Cortes of Cadiz

    Cortes of Cadiz would help establish the Spanish Constitution of 1812 which would support the American Independence process.
  • Spanish Constitution of 1812

    The Spanish Constitution declared Spain as a constitutional monarchy and advocated for freedom. In the constitution, insidious and non born subjects were granted full citizenship.
  • Mexico Achieves Independence

    Mexico gains independence after a decade-long struggle. Mexico begins to secularize governmental officials to take over the government of California.
  • Period: to

    The Mexican Period

    After winning the Mexican War of Independence from Spain in 1821. Mexican rule took over California. Some characteristics of this include the rising of ranchero life where people raised cattle and this became a central factor of California's economics.
    1834: California's Missions begin Secularization
    1835: Neophytes return to Villages
  • Chumash Indian Uprising

    Chumash Indians revolted at the Santa Barbra mission in 1824 against the padres running the mission. At this time Mexican had just gained independence from Spain. Due to this, Mexico declared there was no longer a distinction between racial groups.
  • Revolt in Mission San Francisco Solano

    Fr. Jose Altimira was a Franciscan priest who constantly flogged Native Americans in an attempt to civilize them. This ultimately lead to an uprising against him that resulted in his departure and the burning of mission buildings and supplies.
  • Estanislao Indian Revolt

    Estanislao was an indigenous person at mission San Jose. He was a member of the Lakisamni tribe. He led a group of armed natives in a revolt against the mission.
  • California Missions Begin Secularization Process

    California begins to secularize its missions and begins to take the power away from the padres.
  • Neophytes return to Villages

    Due to the desecularizations, Neophytes were able to return to their tribes and no longer be forced laborers after years of being prohibited. Unfortunately, due to the influx of migrants to California diseases slowly were having an impact on the native population.
  • Fremont Murders Wintun Members

    Fremont and his men traveled to the upper Sacramento River and murdered hundreds of Wintun Indians. In all, there were about 1000 casualties among the native people and no Americans were injured.
  • Bear Flag Revolt

    This was a short-lived revolt. This revolt was between the American settlers and the Mexican authorities. The Americans wanted California to have their territory join the United States.
  • The Mexican American War

    The Mexican-American war began because the United States wanted territory that belonged to Mexico. The war did result in the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The United States received California, Texas, and New Mexico.
  • Gold Discovered in California

    In 1848, Gold was discovered in California in Sutter Creek. This sparked the California Gold Rush.
  • Phase 1 of the Gold Rush

    This phase was very local. Only local Californians were pursuing gold. In fact, some settlers had Indian slaves search for gold on their behalf.
  • Phase 2 of the Gold Rush

    More miners arrived during this time to mine for gold. Experienced miners from Latin America, China, and Hawaii came to mine for gold.
  • California Becomes U.S. Holding

    As per the Treaty of Guadalupe, the U.S. became a U.S. holding.
  • Gold is Reported in Local Newspaper

    The Californian newspaper in San Francisco reports for the first time on the gold discovery in the Sierra. However, at the time, most San Franciscans remain skeptical of the report.
  • New York Herald Reports Gold

    The New York Herald reports the discovery of gold in California. This is the first major east coast newspaper to report this story. This will significantly spread the word and increase the number of individuals moving to California.
  • Phase 3 of the Gold Rush

    During this phase, inexperienced miners came to California seeking gold. Throughout this phase, about 250k-300k Americans came to California.
  • California State Constitution Ratified

    California's State Constitution was ratified. This is one of the first steps towards the formation of California that we know today.
  • Fremont Becomes California Senator

    In 1850, Fremont became senator of California from 1850-1851. Fremont was involved with the killings of some Native Americans.
  • Public Policy Enslavement

    Public policy such as the fugitive slave act of 1850 forced slaves to be returned to their owners, even in a free state. California was not exempt from this.
  • Clear Lake Massacre

    The Clear Lake Massacre was a result of the Pomo people killing two ranchers. This sparked the United States army to order the senseless killing of the Pomo people. This is a prime example of the violent attitudes growing towards native people.
  • Period: to

    The United States Statehood Period

    Marked by California becoming the 13th State. The United States Statehood period is a time of economic and industrial growth where California is diversifying and trying to find its political voice.
  • Period: to

    Gold and Genocide Period

    Following the gold rush, California was a lot more densely populated. With this newfound growth came growing anti-native sentiments. With these Sentiments came a period of massacres against natives.
    1851: Shasta Massacre: a group of settlers committed a massacre against the Winnemem Wintu people
    1860: Paiute War is a conflict between two allied tribes Paiute and Shoshone who banned together against U.S. settlers.
  • California Becomes the 31st State

    California was admitted as the 31st state into the United States following the Mexican American War
  • Shasta Massacre

    A group of white settlers committed a massacre against the Winnemem Wintu people. The white settlers attacked men, women, and children in this massacre. This is just another example of the violence towards native people in California.
  • Levi's Founded

    As a result of the gold rush, many successful businesses were established. Levis is a well-known brand that is a result of the gold rush. Levi Strauss, an immigrant from Bavaria, opened a dry goods company in San Francisco at the height of the California Gold Rush.
  • Paiute War

    The Paiute War was a conflict between the allied Paiute and Shoshone Indians and the United States Settles. It was a series of fights and illustrates the unrest between natives and white settlers.
  • Pacific Railway Act

    The Pacific Railway Act is a law that offered government incentives to assist in the creation of the first transcontinental rail line.
  • Period: to

    The Transcontiential Railroad

    The Transcontinental railroad was meant to link the United States from the East coast to the West Coast. It ended up being about 1,911 miles long
  • Period: to

    The Gilded Age

    The gilded age was a period of rapid economic and industrial growth in California. This period is located between the civil war and World War I. During this time there was a large amount of political corruption.
  • Chinese Massacre in 1871

    This was a racial massacre of 1871 in Los Angeles. 500 white and Hispanic people entered Chinatown and attacked and robbed the Chinese people who lived there. This also highlights the racially insensitive attitudes towards Chinese Americans during this time.
  • Modoc War

    This was a yearlong war between Modoc Indians and the United States Army. The Modoc attacked troops and this sparked constant battles between the groups.
  • Corruption in Grant Administration

    A federal grand jury indicts 238 people for conspiring to defraud the United States government of tax revenues. Some of the people indicted are President Ulysses S. Grant's personal secretary and General O.E. Babcock. This furthers the belief that the government is corrupt during this time.
  • Period: to

    Chinese Exclusion Act

    The Chinese Exclusion Act was published on May 6, 1882, and was appealed on December 17, 1943. The goal of this act was to slow the influx of Chinese immigrants in California Specifically. This is the first and only law to deny or suspend immigration solely on someone's race. Through denying immigration is took away many rights from Chinese people who had been living in the US.
  • Yosemite Becomes National Park

    Signed into law by President Harrison created Yosemite National Park.
  • Massacre at Wounded Knee

    The U.S. kills indiscriminately 146 Sioux Tribe members at Wounded Knee. This led to a fight breaking out amongst the tribe and the army. This is significant because it marked an end to native resistance to the white settlers.
  • Oil Discovered along Kern River

    Oil was discovered in the Kern river which sparked an oil boom. Following this, the Producers oil Association was formed. This discovery would impact California's growth dramatically.
  • Period: to

    Desired California

    This period includes the great depression and World War II. California represents an area of opportunity with all the new jobs for people because of the war. With this mass migration came tensions between white Californians and the new migrants joining from other states and countries. This can be observed through the Alien Land Law and the enforcement of the Chinese exclusion act
    1906: Sinclair publishes "The jungle"
    1913: Alien Land Law
    1919: First Motion Picture
  • Sinclair Published "The Jungle"

    Sinclair published the novel in 1906 that shed a light on the unsanitary and harsh conditions immigrants faced in the United States in the meat industry
  • 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

    In 1906 San Francisco experiences a devastating earthquake that destroyed homes and caused fires throughout the city. This earthquake highlighted how poorly the city was built and prompted the idea of rebuilding San Francisco to be earthquake-proof.
  • The Formation of Good Government Leagues in California

    Good Government leagues were progressive movements formed throughout various cities in California. Their intentions were for political reform in the government that is plagued with corruption.
  • Women's Right to Vote in California

    On October 10, 1911, a Special Election was held for Proposition 4 which would allow women's suffering. It passed and made California the sixth state to give women the right to vote.
  • California Progressive Party Founded

    The California Progressive Party was a political party that wanted to establish a transparent and dependable government. This came as a result of a time where Californians were losing hope in their government. They attempted to the insight this change through coalitions.
  • Alien Land Law

    This law prohibited "aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning land or obtaining long-term leases. This impacted the Asian community in California because of laws put in place to deny them citizenship.
  • Period: to

    World War I

    This was the first world war that started in 1914. It was sparked by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914.
  • First Motion Picture Studio in California

    In 1919, California opened its first motion picture studio in Edendale. This would help create California as the major film production hub.
  • 18th Amendment Ratified

    The 18th Amendment which banned the selling of intoxicating liquor was ratified and marked the end of an era of prohibition.
  • Ozawa V. US

    This court case reaffirmed that Asian immigrants were not eligible for naturalization. Thus continuing the wave of anti-Asian American rulings in the US at the time.
  • Stock Market Crash

    On October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed and flung Americans into the worst economic depression in industrialized times. Billions of dollars were lost in the crash. This prompted the great depression
  • Herbert Hoover Becomes President

    Hoover did little to fix the economy and believed capitalism would solve the depression. He lowered income tax from 25% to 24%. After the roaring 20s economic activity began to contact and prompted the great depression.
  • Period: to

    Great Depression

    The great depression was a time of extreme depression for the entire world. In the United States, people lost their jobs, couldn't feed their families, and struggled to find stability. Throughout this time Californians were looking for relief and that was shown when Sinclair won the Democratic nomination in the gubernatorial race.
  • Period: to

    Period of Adjustment

    During this period it appears that California is adjusting to its new diverse society. For example, during this period there is a lot of unrest with the zoot suit riots and Executive Order 9066.
  • Hoover Signs Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act

    This act raised taxes on hundreds of imports. This lead to the collapse of international trade. Concurrently, the dust bowl was happening in middle America which greatly impacted crop production and Hoover had to ask the red cross for assistance.
  • Los Angeles Summer Olympics

    In 1932, LA hosted the summer Olympics. This huge event marked the introduction of LA to the world as a major city.
  • The New Deal

    Franklin D. Roosevelt's new deal was put into effect. This was a series of programs that were supposed to restore prosperity to Americans. Some programs include the civilian conservation corps, civil works administration, and security administration to name a few.
  • Sinclair is Democratic Nominee in California Gubernatorial Election

    Sinclair, a socialist was nominated as the Democratic nominee in the midst of the great depression. He planned to end poverty in California with his EPIC plan. He was greatly opposed by opponents and accused of trying to "sovietize California"
  • 1934 West Coast Waterfront Strike

    During this time many groups were beginning to protest. For example, the longshoreman protested for 83 days. In San Francisco, the city was engulfed by the protests and stopped all work in major cities for four days and led to the settlement of the strike. This led to the unionization of all West Coast Ports in the US.
  • Social Security Act

    This act provided a source of income for retired, elderly, and blind Americans. This was funded through payroll taxes.
  • Period: to

    Dust Bowl

    The dust bowl was a period of terrible dust storms that damaged the midwest and southern great plains in the 1930s. This led to a massive migration to California that would reshape and transform it forever.
  • The Grapes of Wrath

    A novel titled the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinback was published. This novel advocates social change by showing the terrible conditions migrants are faced with in California. This Highlights the anguish migrants are facing during this time.
  • Period: to

    World War II

    This is the second World War was a global war that lasted for six years. This war had an impact all over the world and involved most of the world's countries.
  • Executive Order 9066

    Issued by Franklin Roosevelt. This order authorized the eviction of all people deemed a threat to national security from the west coast to relocate to further inland.
  • The Bracero Program

    Series of laws and agreements that permitted millions of Mexican men to work legally in the U.S. as a part of short-term labor contracts.
  • Zoot Suit Riots

    These riots were a series of clashes between young Mexican American youths and servicemen. These riots were following the trial of a serviceman who murdered a young Latino man. These riots highlight the civil unrest behind racial tensions between servicemen and the growing LA community.
  • Korematsu Vs. US

    This was a decision made by the supreme court that upheld the exclusion of Japanese Americans from the west coast military area during World War 11.
  • The Signing of the United Nations Charter

    At the San Francisco Conference in 1945, the signing of the United Nations Charter was created to maintain peace and security internationally. There were 3,500 important guests in attendence.
  • Period: to

    The creation of the Suburbs and Modern California

    During this period we begin to see the formation of California suburbs following a track style. As seen in Lakewood, CA. We also begin to see the formation of modern entertainment like Disneyland and Baywatch. All these things included helping and upholding what California is today. We still see sentiments from earlier periods especially riots when there are civil unjust. California has come a long way but its historical racist sentiments are still present.
    Disneyland Opens: 1955
    1992: LA Riots
  • City of Lakewood Founded

    The California City of Lakewood was founded. This city represents the Californian's overarching feeling such as life in the suburbs, race regulations, and anti-communist hints in the city advertisements.
  • Disneyland Opens

    Disneyland Opens in the Southern California city of Anaheim. This provided jobs and economic growth in California.
  • Period: to

    Vietnam War

    This war was a conflict that stemmed from the communist government in North Vietnam. The US got involved in an effort to stop the spread of communism.
  • Gidget Film Released

    The film Gidget was released. This film helped paint the narrative as California is a beach state where everyone is attractive and happy. This kind of media played a large role in people migrating to California Specifically.
  • Watts Riots

    These riots took place in the southern California neighborhood, Watts following the beating of a black driver. In addition, it was rumored that the officers got physical with some bystanders watching the altercation. This beating highlights residential segregation taking place in Los Angeles during the time because the citizens were predominately from African descent.
  • The Beginning of the Gay Rights Movement

    January 1st, 1965, California Hall of San Francisco hosted a fundraiser for the council on religion and the homosexual organization. The attendees were harassed by the police and the attendees sued.
  • Formation of the Youth International Party

    This was a formation of a political group that oriented radical and counterculture. This was a direct response to wars during the time. This group emphasized anti-war movements and free speech
  • US government returns remains of executed Modoc

    After the Modoc wars, the United States kept the head of the chef. These remains were later returned to the Modoc people in 1984. In fact, Governor Newsome apologizes to Native Americans for the mistreatment of Native people later in 2019.
  • Baywatch Original Air Date

    Baywatch was originally aired in 1989. Baywatch is a huge piece of media that contributed to the mass migration to California because of the lifestyle it portrayed.
  • Prop 145

    This proposition provided first-time homebuyers with bonds. This helped Californians who might have not had the opportunity to buy homes before to afford them.
  • Metro Blue Link Opens

    Metro blue link opens and reestablishes lightning tails throughout the city. This connected parts of Los Angeles and made travel throughout the city easier for its growing population.
  • 1992 Los Angeles Riots aka Rodney King Riots

    Rodney King was beaten by four police officers in Los Angeles, California. Three of the officers who beat him were acquitted. The instance was caught on camera by a bystander. This verdict sparked a series of riots by angry Californians. This instance highlights the racist sentiments that are still embedded in California from its racist beginnings.
  • Calidornia is the First State to Reach Trillion-dollar Benchmark in Gross State Product

    California has one of the largest economies in the United States. In fact, it was recognized when California reached the trillion-dollar benchmark in gross state product.
  • The Kodak Theatre Opens

    The Kodak Theatre (renamed the Dolby Theatre) opened in 2001 as the new venue for the Acadamy Awards. This helps further paint the picture of Los Angeles being the hub for movie stars and an opportunity to pursue dreams.
  • Antonio Villaraigosa becomes mayor of Los Angeles

    Antonio Villaraigosa becomes mayor of Los Angeles in 2005. He is the first mayor of Hispanic descent since 1872. This is a huge achievement considering Los Angeles is predominately Hispanic and it was not reflected in their government until recently.
  • The Great Recession of 2008

    The most significant downturn since the Great Depression. This recession began when the U.S. housing market went booming to a complete bust. Mortage-backed securities and derivatives lost a great amount of value. This impacted many Californian Families greatly. Before this, many Americans did not realize the country was in deep debt. The recession opened up a conversation as to what can happen with bad loans.
  • First Same-Sex Marriage in California

    The first legal same-sex marriage license was issued on June 16, 2008. This was a result of the supreme court of California finding In re Marriage Cases banning same-sex couples from marriage.