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Settling the West California Here We Come Spaniards Settle in California • California = Catholic Spain • New England = Protestant England Mission California • The missions were a key part of Spain’s plan to colonize California. • 21 in all stretched from San Diego to San Francisco / Sonoma. • Each were a days walk between one another. • . Mission California • Missions included a church, workshop and storerooms, rooms for the priest and homes for the Indian converts. • Most missions resembled small self- contained cities much like the plantations of the South Jobs of the Native American Converts • Labored in the wheat • Artists worked to fields, orchards or beautify the church vineyards. • Tended to sheep and • Work in the kitchen or cattle. workrooms grinding wheat into flour, tanning hides, making tile and adobe bricks or weaving cloth. • . Mission Life was a difficult transition • Missions required the Native Americans to give up their nomadic life for one that was more sedentary. • The work could be very demanding. • The lives of Native American converts could be compared to the slaves in the South. • With in 65 years of mission life, one half of the Native American population was wiped out due to diseases. California Rancheros • 1821 Mexico wins its independence from Spain and takes over CA and TX. • As early as 1820, US citizens started to settle in California along side the Californios as ranchers, storekeepers, tinsmiths, carpenters, lumberjacks etc. • In 1833 the Mexican government secularizes the missions hoping to break the bond of loyalty with Spain. California Rancheros • The Mexican government began to give away mission land to rancheros through the use of land grants. • To obtain a land grant you needed a diseno – a drawing that described the land. The Gold Fields • In 1849 James Marshall found a pea sized nugget of gold at Sutter’s Fort. • Sutter swore Marshall and others to secrecy. • To prove gold was found in California, a tea caddy’s worth was sent back to President Polk in Washington D.C. • Everyone was headed to California from every walk of life via any mode of transportation. The Journey West • Many chose to travel by sea. They boarded ship (Clipper ships) that sailed 18,000 miles down along the East Coast, around Cape Horn (the tip of South America) and on up to San Francisco. • The trip took about 89 days and cost approximately $400. • It was the most popular route. The Journey West • Others broke their voyage and chose to trek through the fever-ridden and snake infested jungles of Panama hoping to catch a vessel northward on the other side. The Journey West • Yet a third group chose to – Crossing the Great follow the overland paths Basin proved perilous. (The Overland Trail) laid During this 40 day by the mountain men trek, people got lost, – From Independence, ran out of water or MO up to the South exhaustion took over. Pass (Wyoming) – Over 5,000 would die everything was fine of cholera and the path/route was clearly laid out. Tales of Riches • Tall tales flourished in the gold fields and beyond as more and more people moved westward looking for the one great “get rich quick” strike. Looking for the “Mother Lode” • It was said that all you had to do is stick your thumb in the ground and when pulled out it would be covered in gold dust. • People would say that there was so much gold that people just tripped over nuggets the size of boulders. Tales of Riches • In just 60 days you could go from dirt poor to filthy rich – rich enough for 5 generations. • Only 4-6 hours a day work could yield $10,000. • Women as well as men caught the “Gold Fever”. Their lot was much better as there were few women and they could have the pick of the bunch. • People who came to the gold fields of California were known as “Forty-niners”. Tales of Riches • Many Chinese immigrants (often as contract laborers) came to work on the “Gold Mountain” in the mines. • The Chinese would be defrauded, not allowed to testify in court, etc. Tales of Riches • Because of this, they would create a counter culture separate from the mainstream. They would even go so far as to build an entire city underground complete with a saloon, hotel, jail and church. Mining Camps • All that glitters is not gold. • Mining camps were fly by night “towns” inhabited mostly by men – the rough and tumble types – who were not known for their manners. Mining Camps • Disputes were common, eruptions of violence a nightly occurrence. • To settle the disputes, vigilante group were formed to take matters into their own hands (judge, jury and executioner if necessary Mining Camps • Money was made not in the gold fields, but by those who supplied the miners with shovels, tents, cradles and the like. • Levi Strauss, a Swiss immigrant, would create durable dungarees worn by the miners. • It became the official uniform of the gold fields. Mining Camps • Women earned a • Lola Montez was a living too (no not like famous dancer. that!) They were Tickets were $65 – laundresses and that’s $3000 today – cooks who earned to see her dance. $16 a week. • They would spear head the movement to bring schools and churches to the west. Mining Camps • Since fresh fruit and veggies were both scarce and exorbitantly priced, most miners lived off of flapjacks, sourdough bread, beans and pickled or dried pork. – 1 lb of potatoes in CA cost $1, but in NYC $0.005. – 1 lb of dried apples cost $1 in CA, but in NYC $0.04. • This resulted in the miners being susceptible to diseases. Mining Camps • Mining camps took on colorful names – Shinbone Peak, Rough and Ready, Muddy Gulch etc. • Mining towns were transitory. They were there one minute and gone with the next big strike. “Boom” when gold was found and “Bust” when news of strike was found somewhere else. Mining Camps • The result was the creation of ghost towns – where a town could be deserted in a matter of hours and the only thing left would be the wooded structures if you were lucky, but most people took the wood with them to the next town. Statehood for California • The idea of statehood for California was controversial. • San Francisco was cosmopolitan where anything goes, but the rest was a random collection of pueblos. • African Americans were seen as free citizens. There was a fear that CA would upset the balance of free/slave states. • After the Compromise of 1850 CA became the 31st state in the Union. Impact of the Westward Movement • The Westward Movement created a sense of regionalism – a sense of belonging to a specific area or region – among the pioneers. Impact on Inhabitants • Californios and rancheros lost land to white encroachment as the courts failed to honor their land grants or uphold their rights as US citizens. • The Native Americans were alarmed by the large number of pioneers “sailing” across the prairie, but because they did not stay, they were left alone for the most part. Impact on Inhabitants • The Native Americans in California lost their land and their way of life first to the missions then to the influx of settlers. • Often times they were abused or murdered despite the efforts of Juanipero Serra. Impact on Pioneers • Because of the unique topography, the pioneers learned to be tough, resourceful and frugal. • The trials and tribulations faced by the pioneers was a form of bonding in which they shared a common experience which then lead to a sense of community in the West • This would be carried through in the development of towns where schools and churches had to be built; neighbors helped neighbors building homes and raising barns. Impact on Pioneers • Even though they helped each other, people settling in the West had a strong sense of individualism and self-reliance. • And the rest they say is “history”!
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