History provides a glimpse of the diversity of California’s inhabitants, including the Native Americans, Chinese and Japanese. Several cultures prevail in the land and throughout the history of California different government had attempted to subdue its original people. Let us consider the succession of the most famous explorations in California.
Prehistoricinhabitants of California practiced complex religions, hunted with arrowheads made of flint, and subsisted largely on the abundant available acorns supplemented by numerous small animals. coastal peoples ate fish and shellfish. Indigenous Californians often lived in small communities of about 150 people. This was the setting when the Europeans first set foot in California. Most historians agree that Portuguese-born Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo was the first European to explore California. Sailing under the Spanish flag in 1542, Cabrillo hoped to find the Northwest Passage. instead, he found the California coast and claimed the new-found land for Spain. With his entrance into California, the course of California Indian history changed drastically.
Traditionally, California Indians have been portrayed in history as a docile primitive people, who openly embraced the invading Spaniards and were rapidly subdued. This naive argument adds little to a sensible understanding of native history in California and undoubtedly is derived from crude feelings of racial superiority on the part of its advocates. The relationship between the Spanish and the Indians was not a peaceful co-existence. Rather, the history of California Indians is the story of an attempt to survive a series of invasions and the hardships that ensued.
In 1579, an Englishman, Sir Francis Drake, sailed into California. Drake spent five weeks among the California natives and before leaving, he claimed the whole territory for the English Crown. He based his claim on the "right of discovery." Thus, within the first 40 years of European influence in California, two countries had claimed the land, and neither had acknowledged the rights of the natives who had resided on it for thousands of years. Other explorers of early California included Pedro de Unamuno in 1587, Sebastian Rodriquez Cermeno in 1595, and Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602-1603. However, no Europeans settled in California for nearly 200 years thereafter.
On July 16, 1769, the Spanish founded the first mission in California. Father Junpero Serra, a Franciscan friar of the Roman Catholic Church, established the Carmel Mission, originally known as Mission San Carlos Borromeo, at Monterey Bay in 1770 (Chan and Olin 60). It was one of the chains of 21 missions built by the Franciscans between 1769 and 1823. These missions ultimately became the foundation for Spanish settlements in California. Spain’s Indian policy at the time of the invasion of California was a mixture of economic, military, political, and religious motives. Indians were regarded by the Spanish government as subjects of the Crown and human beings capable of receiving the sacraments of Christianity. It was essential under ‘missionization’ that California Indians be ‘reduced’ into settled and stable communities where they would become good subjects of the King and children of God. Missionization required a brutal lifestyle similar in several respects to the forced movement of black people from

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