“From 1836 to 1846, California no longer took orders from Mexico”

Marcus Ruiz Evans
6 min readDec 24, 2019

Nation of California lasted for a decade — before Americans ever showed up.

California “Lone Star” Republic Flag 1836 — Pio Pico and Mariijano Vallejo the governors of North and South — but took action that CA be more independent. Years before the Bear Flag revolt.

In 1836, Juan Alvarado vowed to gain increased autonomy for California from Mexican rule with either “bullets or words.” He hoisted this white flag with a single, centered, red five-pointed star at Monterey. ( Click here for more on the significance of the red star )”

“In 1834, Alvarado had been elected to the Alta California Legislature as a delegate and appointed customs inspector in Monterey. The Mexican government had then appointed Lieutenant Colonel Nicolas Guterrez as Governor against the wishes of the legislature. In November of 1836, Alvarado and Jose Castro (with Vallejo’s political support) surrounded the presidio at Monterey and forced Guterrez to surrender power to them. At the time of Alvarado’s revolt, he still favored remaining a part of Mexico, and working with the Mexican government. With Vallejo’s political support, he went on to become a two-time Governor of Alta California from 1836–1837, and later between 1842–1845.”

Californios supported Jose Marie Castro who led independence movement against Mexico years before the Bear Flag revolution.

“Multicultural America: A Multimedia Encyclopedia, Volume 1” edited by Carlos E. Cortés


“Some wealthy Californios fought on the side of the Anglo American settlers, because, much like their Tejano counterparts at the Battle of the Alamo, they supported their own personal status and property against a government in Mexico City and in a new emerging U.S. social order. Prior to the Bear Flag Revolt, some Californios even supported their own independence movement under the leadership of Mexican Brigadier General Jose Marie Castro, who was stationed in the Monterey Bay area. Many poor Mexicans and Indians fought against the Anglo American settlers and their wealthy Californio counterparts, who understood that, with the Bear Flag Revolt, U.S. occupation and annexation were imminent. “

One year before the Bear Flag revolution, Mexico tried to retake control of California by force, and was militarily fought off by Californios, effectively making California independent of Mexico

The second battle of Cahuenga pass and the warlords of Burbank, by Wes Clark, Avacado Memories, Excerpt from Burbank — An Illustrated History by E. Caswell Perry.


“In 1842 an unpopular governor, Manuel Micheltorena, was appointed by Mexico City. Supported by his army of 300 cholos, or convict soldiers, he was bitterly resented by the Californios. In November 1844 an active revolt against him was initiated by both Northern and Southern Californians, themselves rivals but united in their desire to oust Micheltorena. Micheltorena defeated the northern faction, led by Jose Castro, near San Jose. But coming south to Los Angeles, even after building up his army to about 400, he was met by about the same number of Californios led by Juan Bautista Alvarado.

The two small armies met between February 19–20, 1845, in the so-called Battle of Cahuenga. This was just west of Cahuenga Pass, on the San Fernando Valley side, at Alamos near present-day Studio City. One side had two small cannon, the other had three, and they limited their combat to a long-range artillery duel. The casualties totaled one horse and one mule, and both sides soon ran out of ammunition. The action could only be continued by each side’s recovering the cannon balls of the other. Even today, an occasional cannon ball turns up when excavations are made in the battlefield area.

Micheltorena withdrew, stopping the desultory conflict. Finally, on February 22, Micheltorena agreed to leave California, taking his army with him. For all practical purposes, Mexico’s control of Alta California was a thing of the past. Pio Pico was made the civil governor at Los Angeles and Jose Castro set up a rival regime at Monterey.”

Starr, Kevin. (1980). California ! Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Book, pg 73


“A governor was sent from Mexico City to California. The Republic of Mexico could only pay for a small number of soldiers to be stationed in California. In time the native born rancheros began to run things their own way. From 1836 to 1846, California no longer took orders from Mexico,” (Starr 73).

California under the Californios was not part of Mexico or saw themselves as Mexicans or were really Mexican like people in Mexico

Amnesty and Historical Guilt: the Mexican-American War By John Bennett, American Thinker, June 2, 2013


As historians have pointed out, Mexico wasn’t extensively using the territory, and Mexicans at the time generally didn’t want to live in the Southwest region.

Berkeley historian Brian DeLay says, “There simply were far fewer people in Mexico that were willing to move to the far north, this dangerous and unknown place to try to start better lives for themselves; they had other opportunities in Mexico.”

For the record — the original Californians (The Californios) — Were NOT Mexican, they were mixed race, Latino, Native, Africa-America, European, Asian.

Alexander V. King, “Californio Families, A Brief Overview”, San Francisco Genealogy, Society of Hispanic Historical & Ancestral Research, January 2004


Ethnic Variety

“Californios included the descendants of agricultural settlers and retired escort soldiers deployed from what today is Mexico. Most were of mixed ethnicities, usually Mestizo (Spanish and Native American) or mixed African-American and Indian backgrounds. Despite the depictions of the popular shows like Zorro, very few Californios were of “pure” Spanish (Peninsular or Criollo) ancestry. Most with unmixed Spanish ancestry were Franciscan priests, along with career government officials and military officers who did not remain in California.[7]”

Mason, The Census of 1790; Gostin, Southern California Vital Records; Haas, Conquests and Historical Identities in California; and Pitt, Decline of the Californios California Spanish Genealogy — California Census 1790.

THE CENSUS OF 1790 CALIFORNIA California Spanish Genealogy by SFgenealogy

1852 California was officially racist to African Americans, Asians, and Native people

In 1862 the California legislature passed An Act to Protect Free White Labor Against Competition with Chinese Coolie Labor, and to Discourage The Immigration of the Chinese into the State of California.


A History of Black Americans in California: from Five Views: An ethnic historic site survey for California A.M.E., Episcopal Church, Stanislaus County


A statewide committee of Black men selected by the Second Convention’s general assembly spearheaded the campaign to repeal the 1852 law that barred Black children from the common schools.

Americanization and the California IndiansA Case Study of Northern California. History 383 — Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer, Humbolt University


Studies conducted in the late 20th Century of the California archives found that while it was impossible to determine exactly the total number of units and men engaged in militia attacks against the California Indians during the period of 1850 to 1859, the official record verifies that the governors of California called out the militia on “Expeditions against the Indians” on a number of occasions, and at considerable expense — $843,573.48. (Comptroller of the State of California, Expenditures for Military Expeditions Against Indians, 1851–1859, Sacramento: The Comptroller, Secretary of State, California State Archives, Located at “Roster” Comptroller №574, Vault, Bin 393.)


C. Alan Hutchinson. “Mexican Government and the Mission Indians of Upper California 1821–1835,” The Americas, 21 (April 1965): 340–45.

“Critics, among them some Californios, were skeptical about the arguments of the Franciscans and doubted the efficacy of the mission system. Their thinking was influenced by the new philosophy of liberalism and its emphasis on humanitarianism and equal rights. These critics argued that Indians were equal to other Mexicans and entitled to equal rights. They opposed the absolute authority Franciscans had over the Indians and advocated the secularization of the missions.”



Marcus Ruiz Evans

President Yes California/ Calexit movement. Interviewed by Politico, New York Times, FOX, WashPost, LA Times, LA Weekly, Sac Bee, Daily Show w/TN, Mother Jones