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Los Californios

Notables Intro.

Spain controlled its furthest frontier territory, California, from 1769 until 1821, when Mexico assumed control of California from 1821 to 1846. California was annexed by further settlers, during the Bear Flag Revolution during 1846-1850. California later attained statehood in the United States of America in 1850. During these years, for the Californio settlers, large amounts of land were required for proper cattle raising, which provided for their hide and tallow industries. The Berryessa family arrived in 1777. Other land-grant families arrived, such as the Peña´s and the Vaca´s, arrived closer to the year 1841.  Some additional land grant families of Solano and Yolo counties were: Armijo, Solano, and Vallejo. Wolfskill was granted land because he became a Mexican citizen by learning Spanish, becoming Catholic, and by marrying into a Mexican family.

The Gold Rush of 1848 and 1849 brought many gold seekers from the United States and other parts of the world. Miners eventually moved from the Sierras to the valley regions to look for other ways to make a living.  Some established stores, hotels, saloons, and supporting businesses. Farms and ranches of all kinds were developed. Crops like wheat and barley were popular, and sheep and cattle were raised in large numbers. Two early families that settled in the Dixon area were Sweeney and Currey. A member of the Currey family came to California in 1849 and became a judge. Judge Currey was instrumental in helping many of the Californio land grant holders settle their land disputes against newly arrived settlers and squatters. At the same time, native peoples were exposed to genocide, European diseases, and broken land treaties and rendered nearly extinct. Many Chinese left the mining camps due to the harsh treatment they received from other miners.  Many moved to San Francisco where they created America’s first Chinatown, which grew into an active neighborhood and community. In the mid-1800s, Dixon also had many businesses owned by people of Chinese heritage.

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