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List of Governors of California before admission facts for kids

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This is a list of the Governors of early California, 1769–1850, before its admission as the 31st U.S. state. Founded by Gaspar de Portolá at San Diego and Monterey, the vast country was a sparsely-settled Spanish province for 53 years, until the Mexican War of Independence ended in 1821.

A year after Mexico's independence from Spain, Alta California became a federal territory of Mexico. As time went on, Alta Californians began to resent Mexico's neglect and incompetent, non-local governors. Beginning with the Tennessean-led revolt of 1824, California resisted Mexican rule, culminating in the revolution of 1836. Two years later, California was admitted as a state by the general government in faraway Mexico City.

The revolution in November 1836 found success when the Diputación (territorial legislature) of California declared independence. California-born Juan Alvarado was elected governor, who then gathered support for independence from the whole country, from Sonoma to Los Angeles. Mexico retaliated by propping up Carlos Carillo as puppet-governor in Los Angeles and inciting a brief and bloodless civil war. That conflict ended in 1838, when the general government of Mexico accepted California as a sovereign state and recognized Alvarado as the real governor. The territorial Diputación became the new state's Asambléa (Assembly).

In 1846, the "Bear Flag Revolt" in Sonoma declared California an independent republic—the "Bear Flag Republic". The government was separated permanently from Mexico. Less than a month later, the independent republic came under American protection (at the outset of the Mexican-American War). Like Texas, the Republic of California never was demoted to a U.S. territory but was admitted directly as the 31st U.S. state on September 9, 1850. Peter Burnett, the last governor of the republic, became its first governor after admission.

For governors of the state after admission in September 1850, see List of Governors of California.

Gaspar de Portolá
Gaspar de Portolá i Rovira, founder and first governor of California
Pedro Fages
Pedro Fages
Jose Castro
José Castro
Juan Bautista Alvarado
Pio Pico
Pío Pico
Peter Hardeman Burnett - circa 1860
Peter Hardeman Burnett

Colony, 1769–1822

Gaspar de Portolá founded the first Spanish settlements in Alta California at San Diego (July 16, 1769), and at Monterey, the first capital (June 3, 1770).

Royal Banner of the Crown of Castille (Habsburg Style)-Variant.svg
  1. 1769–1770: Gaspar de Portolá
  2. 1770–1774: Pedro Fages
  3. 1774–1777: Fernando Rivera y Moncada
  4. 1777–1782: Felipe de Neve
  5. 1782–1791: Pedro Fages
  6. 1791–1792: José Antonio Roméu
  7. 1792–1794: José Joaquín de Arrillaga (acting)
  8. 1794–1800: Diego de Borica
  9. 1800: Pedro de Alberni (acting)
  10. 1800–1814: José Joaquín de Arrillaga
  11. 1814–1815: José Darío Argüello (acting)
  12. 1815–1822: Pablo Vicente de Solá

Territory, 1822–1836

Luis Argüello became the first governor under independent Mexico (also the first native Californio governor) in 1822, when a dignitary handed down an order to unfurl the "colors of the Three Guarantees throughout all the territory of the Californias, and the lowering of the Spanish flag with all due solemnity" (Avarado, Historia de California). California's first revolt against Mexico took place the same year as Mexico's first constitution, 1824.

Flag of Mexico (1823-1864, 1867-1893).svg
  1. 1822–1825: Luis Antonio Argüello
  2. 1825–1831: José María de Echeandía
  3. 1831–1832: Manuel Victoria
  4. 1832: Pío Pico
  5. 1832–1833 (north): Capt. Agustín V. Zamorano
  6. 1832–1833 (south): José María de Echeandía
  7. 1833–1835: Gen. José Figueroa
  8. 1835: Lt. Col. José Castro (acting)
  9. 1836: Nicolás Gutiérrez (acting)
  10. 1836: Mariano Chico
  11. 1836: Nicolás Gutiérrez (acting)

Sovereignty, 1836–1846

In 1836, California declared Independence from Mexico and fashioned its own flag, known as the "California Lone Star". After 1837, the governorship was disputed between popularly elected Alvarado, in the capital, and Mexican puppet Carlos Carrillo, in Los Angeles. This ended when Mexico conceded statehood to California and recognized Alvarado as its legal governor.

California Lone Star Flag 1836.svg
Flag of Mexico (1823-1864, 1867-1893).svg
  1. 1836–1842: Juan Bautista Alvarado
    1837–1838: Carlos Antonio Carrillo (rival)
  2. 1842–1845: Brig. Gen. Manuel Micheltorena
  3. 1845–1846: Pío Pico

Republic, 1846–1850

Military governors were appointed during this time, until Burnett. On September 9, 1850, California was admitted into the U.S.

US Cav 35.svg
  1. 1846: Cdre. John Drake Sloat
  2. 1846–1847: Cdre. Robert F. Stockton
    1846–1847: Gen. José María Flores (rival)
  3. 1847: Gen. Stephen W. Kearny (presidential appointee)
    1847: Lt. Col. John C. Fremont (mutineer)
  4. 1847–1849: Gen. Richard Barnes Mason
  5. 1849: Gen. Persifor Frazer Smith
  6. 1849: Gen. Bennet C. Riley
  7. 1849–1851: Peter Hardeman Burnett (Burnett, a civilian, held office for a year before California was admitted into the U.S.)
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List of Governors of California before admission Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.