I think the Central Valley’s history’s super cool. But I think all California history’s cool.
Though it was an unsettled wilderness on the far northern reaches of the Spanish Empire, Spaniards only started settling there in the late 1700’s by establishing missions and presidios, with the intention of preventing English and Russians from staking claims to Alta California. From San Diego to the Bay Area there were 21 total missions established between 1769 and 1823, all of them within thirty miles of the coast. Their ostensible purpose was to teach Indians agriculture and Christianity, which was done, but with some brutality.
Spanish speaking civilization did percolate eastward into the Central Valley, but only in small numbers after Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1820. It’s estimated that there were just under 10,000 non-Indians in California by 1845. (1) Though most were Spanish-speaking, there was a fair number of Anglos and other Europeans that had moved in as well. Regardless, there was to be no way those Californios – one of them being an ancestor of mine in Los Angeles – would be able to repulse the Anglo-American onslaught that was coming.
This started in 1846 when Congress declared war on Mexico as a result of blood shed down by Fort Brown on the Rio Grande after the Republic of Texas annexed in late 1845. American armies were sent to Old Mexico, New Mexico and California. Epic battles ensued. Mexicans fought bravely – and they did. However, the result of the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1848 was the annexation to the United States of what’s now New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and the grand prize of California.
The lethargic Spanish-speaking population was shortly overwhelmed by English speakers. This started in 1849 after the discovery of gold in the Sierras, a mountain range the Spanish never really explored because it was too far away from their missions and presidios by the coast. They figured there was no need to explore them. They were wrong. By 1850 there 100,000 non-Indians in California, which included former Mexicans turned American citizens. But this was just the beginning.
Though the momentum of the 1849 Gold Rush had waned by the time of the Civil War, in the 1860’s, there were other mining operations for metals and minerals throughout the state which continued to attract men and capital. Improved wagon roads and railroads brought by Anglo-Americans, especially after the Civil War, would foster the fullest exploitation of the other natural resources of California in the form of timber harvesting, farming, ranching, fishing, oil production and, of course, citrus crops like oranges. Can you say “Orange County”? By 1900 there were 1.5 million people living there, which is a 1,500% increase over 50 years.
But this was still just the beginning.
California in the 20th century took off like a rocket. Managing literally every drop of water within the state was the most necessary adjunct for this. I’ve already mentioned the vast development of the Central Valley in the 1930’s, which was funded by the federal government as part of FDR’s New Deal. There were also state-funded water projects to maximize irrigation.
However, what I find most fascinating were the Machiavellian machinations executed to bring water to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both were bereft of natural waters supplies capable of growing their populations to the large numbers we now see. They should not exist where they do. However, they do. But more on that later.
The point is that once this most basic need of life was under the utmost control, California started becoming the most populous state in the Union. In 1900 it was #21. By 1920 it had moved to #8. By 1940 it was #4. In 1962 it became #1. The Central Valley of the 1930’s, WWII in the 40’s, Happy Days in the 50’s, Free Love in the 60’s and a still-strong but declining business-friendly climate into the 70’s all motivated people to move west along the Highway of American Dreams, and other highways of course, well into the 21st century.
But that is now changing of course. Though the Great Exodus started to pick up steam in the early teens, there was still net positive population growth up until 2019. However, 2020 and 2021 saw the first net declines in, well, California’s entire history. The pure evil of Governor Gruesome Newsom in the Covid-19 era made this net decline official.
I need to limit myself here, because 2020 was obviously after this 2019 trip, and I don’t want to confuse people. Still, nothing else better evinces liberals’ naked despotism masked as compassion like Commifornia’s Covid protocols. Y’all heard how draconian California was. I’ll just say the vaccine passport that Los Angeles and San Francisco imposed was the arguably one of the greatest evils I’ve seen in my lifetime. It was satanic, and that is meant literally.
Again, what a tragedy that such a beautiful land has been taken over by such evil. What a tragedy that liberalism is so powerful over the state and city governments. Of course, I’ve only scratched the surface of the evil and insanity of California politics. However, I can’t believe what’s causing the Great Exodus to be an unplanned thing. I believe it’s a deliberate agenda to depopulate the state of conservatives, and turn it into… honestly, I don’t know what.
Putting aside political passions for a second, California’s going to be one hell of a train wreck to watch over the next ten years. Mark my words.
But I want to move on to the end of the day now. I was getting tired.