California Timeline History

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arrow 1533: Two ships landed at Baja in La Paz Harbor, local residents killed 20 and ships retreated

1535: Hernando Cortes led expedition to La Paz, established small colony

arrow 1540: Sea expedition led by Hernando de Alarcon up Gulf of California to mouth of Colorado River, became first Europeans on California soil

arrow 1542: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became the first European to explore California, landed at San Diego, discovered Catalina Islands, sites of San Pedro and Santa Monica and Santa Barbara Channel Islands

arrow 1579: Sir Francis Drake landed north of San Francisco Bay, claimed the territory for England

arrow 1669: Gaspar de Portolb, governor of the Californias, led an expedition up the Pacific coast, established California's first mission on San Diego Bay

arrow 1769: Sargent Jose Ortega discovered entrance to San Francisco Bay

arrow 1776: Presidio of San Francisco and Mission Dolores founded

arrow 1812: Russian fur traders established Fort Ross

arrow 1812: Mexico won independence from Spain, became California's new ruler

arrow 1826: Native Americans attacked Mission San Francisco Solano

arrow 1848: Gold discovered at Sutter's sawmill in Coloma

arrow 1849: California Gold Rush began; California became U. S. property with Treaty of Guadalupe

arrow 1849: Fire devastated San Francisco

arrow 1850: California became 31st state

arrow 1869: First westbound train arrived in San Francisco

arrow 1882: Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, barring all Chinese immigration

arrow 1900: Oil discovered along Kern River

arrow 1906: San Francisco earthquake killed more than 3,000, left 225,000 homeless

arrow 1910: Angel Island opened, entry point to U. S. for immigrants

arrow 1911: Women won right to vote

arrow 1928: California Hockey League created

arrow 1928: Great Highway and Ocean Beach Esplanade in San Francisco completed

arrow 1933: Long Beach earthquake caused widespread damage throughout southern California; Alcatraz made a prison

arrow 1934: Bloody Thursday riots took place in San Francisco

arrow 1936: San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened

arrow 1936: Golden Gate Bridge completed

arrow 1936: Parker Dam completed

arrow 1942: Japanese Americans relocated to U.S. concentration camps; Japanese submarine shelled an oil field near Goleta.
arrow 1945: United Nations Charter signed in San Francisco

arrow 1952: Bakersfield hit by earthquake, caused over $50 million in property damage

arrow 1969: Native Americans occupied Alcatraz Island

arrow 1969: Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk shot and killed

arrow 1989: 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Bay Area

arrow 1992: California became first state to elect two women to U.S. Senate - Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein

arrow 2000: Electricity crisis caused blackouts and large rate increases

arrow 2003: Governor Davis recalled; Arnold Schwarzenegger elected

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