The Bear Flag Revolt

The Bear Flag Revolt was a short-lived, quasi-military action in Northern California. It began the night of June 12, 1846, when a group of Americans and other non-Mexican citizens decided to start an armed insurrection against the Mexican government because they feared their expulsion from California was imminent if they did nothing. They captured a large number of Mexican military horses, using them to attack the headquarters of General Mariano Vallejo at his home in Sonoma. They took him prisoner and declared California an independent republic. Of course, they needed a flag. One was created using spare canvas for the body and red flannel for a stripe.  A gold star and a painted bear–thought by some to more closely resemble a pig–completed the design. The Bear Flaggers didn’t know that just two months earlier, the United States had declared war against the Republic of Mexico. Commodore John B. Sloat effectively trumped the Bear Flag Revolt on July 7, 1846, by raising the Stars and Stripes over the government house in Monterey.

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