Although little known today, the name of William Alexander Leidesdorff is enshrined on streets in San Francisco and a town along the American River. He was also one of California’s pioneers of African descent and instrumental in bringing about the American annexation of California. Early Life and Ancestry Much of the information that we have […]
The Luiseño people are an indigenous group of coastal Southern California with a unique language and culture. The introduction of the mission introduced major changes into Luiseño life, including a new religion (Christianity) and the adoption of the farming and ranching lifestyle. Since its founding, the mission was supervised by Fr. Antonio Peyrí. Fr. Peyrí […]
In the early decades of the nineteenth century, growing numbers of people came to Alta California. The routes they took and the lives they established changed the history of the region. Immigration by Sea After independence from Spain, the Mexican government relaxed trade and immigration rules. In the 1820s and 1830s, small numbers of English-speaking […]
“He was of gigantic stature, standing six feet seven inches–without his stockings, for he had none. And he was large all over in proportion, with the strength of several men. His name by baptism was Francisco Solano, and by that name he was best known.” – Platon Vallejo
246 years ago a group of some two hundred people arrived at the Presidio of San Francisco after an arduous trek from Tubac in what is today southern Arizona.
Imagine California with no landmarks from before 1848, no structures dating to the Spanish and Mexican periods. How different might the state be?
In his memoirs about life in rancho era California, José Jesús López describes how his father joined the “California Army.”
If doors and windows were primitive in Californio homes, you can also imagine that furniture was not much better.
José Jesús López grew up in the Pueblo of Los Angeles in the 1850s, in the neighborhood of *El Paredón Blanco* (today’s Boyle Heights).
Preserving historical landmarks means more than just saving old buildings. It often means preserving the link to the lives lived there.
Shortly after the end of the Mexican-American War, William Rich Hutton recalled visiting Doña Angustias de la Guerra Jimeno in Monterey…
After coming to Mexican California in 1822 on a whaling ship, Englishman William Richardson decided to stay.
The Bear Flag Revolt is one of the central episodes in the events leading to the U.S. annexation of California.
Juan Bautista de Anza was a military officer, governor, explorer and diplomat. His life had an enormous impact on the history of California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, as well as Northern Mexico.
Vaqueros were the most important workers in the mission and rancho eras. And some of the first vaqueros were Native American. Learn more about these unique figures on the California frontier. What Does “Vaquero” Mean? The word vaquero is usually translated as “cowboy” in English, and literally means “someone in charge of cows.” It also […]
Soldiers and presidios played a key role in establishing the Spanish presence in California, but they are still misunderstood. Jarrell Jackman has been at the forefront of preserving and documenting this crucial element of the California frontier. Jarrell C. Jackman Dr. Jarrell C. Jackman was Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation for […]
The novel Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson sparked an interest in California’s Mission Era that attracted visitors from all over the country. But Jackson’s novel was much more than nostalgia for a bygone era — it was a cry for human rights. The story of the author, her work and how Cuba’s most famous exile […]
What was daily life like for Native Americans at Mission Santa Cruz? What did they eat? What jobs did they do? An introduction to life at Alta California’s 12th Spanish Mission. Where is Mission Santa Cruz Located? Mission Santa Cruz is located near the northern coast of Monterey Bay, on the west side of the […]
This is a special episode of the California Frontier podcast. The shoe is on the other foot this time, and I am the one being interviewed. My host is Jordan Mattox, a California junior high school teacher who his passionate about California history. He has an excellent podcast, appropriately titled “History of California.” In this […]
The story of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island was made famous by Scott O’Dell’s novel The Island of the Blue Dolphins. In this episode of the podcast, we learn more about her real life with archeologist Elisabeth Rareshide, along with a new exhibit at the Mission Santa Barbara museum. Elisabeth Rareshide Elisabeth Rareshide […]