Yeah? Well...uh...OK, we did. We stole it fair and square. And we're keeping it! Thanks for the tacos.
You know, a lot of Yankees think that the battle of the Alamo was a battle between Mexicans and white settlers from the East, but it wasnt. Many, perhaps most, of those white settlers had intermarried with Hispanic settlers, and so early Texas was made up of many mixed-race people. I say mixed-race because many Mexicans are a mix of Spanish and Indians. Once Cortez landed in 1519, the mixing began. (Actually, it began earlier. Cortez found Spanish men married to Mayan women when he stopped off at Yucatan. The men were from earlier explorers ships.)
Did you know that all of Central America, from Guatemala to Panama, was part of Mexico in the early 19th Century, and that each country now was a former state in Mexico? The main reason Mexico gave up the Southwestern U.S. and Central America was because it didnt have a large enough military to maintain and hold that much territory.
And of course you know that Mexico used to belong to Spain. Are we going to run history backwards for a while? Is Mexico going to give California back to Spain?
When Mexico fought and obtained independence, California lost virtually all its centralized support. As members of an isolated community, Californios spent three decades in political confusion (at one point, a Californio-based republic was declared). The richest families turned to the one industry guaranteed to earn a comfortable living -- selling hides and tallow generated from the virtually free cattle that roamed vast ranchos. In an attempt to increase the non-Indian population, foreigners of all types were admitted. Soon a sizable minority of Yankees grew, dominating the merchant class and entering into important positions in the political and social structure.
The Bear Flag Revolt and the Mexican-American War
The defense of California, completely neglected by Mexico and lacking support from unstable Californio administrations, led to the unusual condition where any of several world powers could have easily occupied California. In point of fact, the Yankee residents themselves were the first to do it, in the Bear Flag revolt of June 1846. Just one month after, due to the Mexican-American war that in turn stemmed from the Yankee takeover of Texas, the American Navy took control of California without firing a shot. Most Californios were resigned to inevitable Yankee rule, though a revolt at Los Angeles led to a pocket of Californio resistance lasting from September 1846 to January 1847.
California was officially made a territory with the end of the Mexican-American war February 2, 1848, nine days before gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill. Through some local PR efforts, and support in late 1848 from President Polk himself, a gold mania swept the States and the world resulting in the remarkable 49er migration. The population soared, quickly (and brutally) overwhelming the Californios and Indians. Political leaders seized the moment to obtain a constitution and voter's ratification by November 1849, with recognition by the U.S. congress in October 1850. Meanwhile, the great influx of miners was redirected to farming, trade, and business. The beauty, richness, and climate of California -- as well as a lack of options for bankrupt miners -- kept the population here long after the gold mania died down. The State of California, a chaotic mix of ethnicities and incomes, hopes and cynicism, was born.