The Greek word “Eureka,” translated as “I have found it,” has appeared on the state seal since 1849, when California’s first Constitutional Convention convened in Monterey preparatory to anticipated U. S. statehood. In 1849, the immense population influx from around the globe to California’s gold fields was called the Golden Migration, because most of the immigrants came looking for a fortune in gold. The seal was designed by Major Robert Garnett of the United States Army and adopted October 11, 1849. The spear-holding woman in the foreground is Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, signifying the political birth of the state as one springing forth “whole,” without having first been accorded official status as a United States Territory. The 31 white stars in a semi-circle above her head represent the number of states in the Union after California was admitted. The grizzly bear represents California wildlife, and the grapes symbolize the state’s agricultural richness. On the left a gold miner wields an ax. Ships on the Sacramento River illustrate the state’s commercial greatness, and the peaks of the Sierra Nevada make up the background.
Considering the short time Robert Semple lived in California, he made several contributions to the development of the state. Born in Kentucky, he apprenticed as a printer and somehow learned enough about dentistry to practice. In 1845, aged 39 and widowed, he joined a group of ten adventurous men journeying to Continue reading The Pioneers: Robert Semple
Many flags have flown over California soil. A few are: the Spanish Empire’s royal standard of Carlos V; the Mexican Republic’s banner of green, white and red vertical bars; the Flag of Argentina hoisted by revolutionary (some say pirate) Hippolyte de Bouchard for sixteen days in 1818; the flags of Russia and the Russian- Continue reading Flags Over California
After Spain sent the Franciscan padres to California in 1769, they encouraged further colonization by awarding land grants to “deserving” individuals, a practice continued by the Mexican government when that nation achieved its independence from Spain in 1822. Property was measured in leagues; and even Continue reading Land Grant Maps
New Yorker Billy Mulligan and his gang of young toughs came for the California Gold Rush, arriving in San Francisco by ship in late 1849. Aged 21, Billy was already a hard drinking, thrill-seeking gambler, an armed thug, a convicted burglar, and a paid ballot box stuffer. Almost immediately, the fashionably clad group rejected Continue reading Badman Billy Mulligan