1542 - The Portuguese-born sailor,
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, becomes the first European
to explore California, landing at San Diego on September
28, 1542. He went on to discover the Catalina Islands,
the sites of San Pedro, Santa Monica and the Santa
Barbara Channel Islands.
1579 - Sir Francis Drake landed North of San Francisco
Bay and claimed the territory for England.
José de Gálvez arrives in Mexico
as Visitor General of New Spain. He launched a program
of colonizing Alta California.
1767-1770 Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola led
an expedition from Mexico to make settlements in
Alta California. He would eventually found San Diego
Serra built the first California Mission called
San Diego de Alcala
1820 Early in the nineteenth century, ships from Boston
began to visit the Spanish towns and missions along
the upper and lower California coast.
1846 The United States invades Mexico from the east,
reaching San Diego in December.
becomes a U.S. possession with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo,
which ended the Mexican War.
Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's sawmill in
Coloma, along the south fork of the American River,
thus kicking off the famous Gold Rush of 1849 from
where the term "49ers" was born.
1850 California was admitted as the 31st state on September
1860 - The Pony Express, a mail service between
St. Louis, Missouri and Sacramento is established.
1869: The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad
enables Americans from the eastern states to pack
up and move to California. Thousands upon thousands
of settlers head for the "Golden State."
Francisco earthquake and fire virtually destroys
first film studio opened.
Golden Gate Bridge was completed and was opened
to pedestrian traffic.