Because the flag is a legacy of the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846, when American settlers in Mexican Alta California declared a new republic. Led by William B. Ide, the Americans issued a declaration of independence and hoisted a flag, its white ground emblazoned with a grizzly bear facing a red star. California had been part of New Spain and then became part of Mexico, as the Department of Alta California. This is a biographical study of Ide, who wrote the proclamation for the Bear Flag Revolt in California. They nearly came to blows with the Mexican authorities after planting an American flag atop Gavilán Peak (now Frémont Peak, near Salinas, California), but retreated into the Oregon Territory. It was published in 1996 during the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary year. Then for the first time there was something like war. Corrections? READ MORE: 9 Things You May Not Know About California. “People who thought of themselves as Español, or white, are now, many of them, considered Brown—or ‘greasers,’ a term used increasingly in the California papers.”. The design originated in 1846, when California was a part of Mexico. Pioneer John Bidwell, who chronicled many of the events surrounding the “Bear Flag Revolt,” wrote: Contains a single red star, a red stripe along the bottom, and a California grizzly bear. The republic lasted until US troops arrived in July and replaced the bear flag with the Stars and Stripes. The Bear Flag Revolt In 1846, settlers from the United States came to believe through rumors that the Mexican government was going to launch a preemptive strike. A very few of them obtained grants of land from the Mexican authorities, which put the legality of the settlers' claims to land into question. 9 Things You May Not Know About California, The U.S. States: 50 States and State Capitals. The grizzly bear on the California state flag (the "Bear Flag") is one such example. In June of 1846, a group of Americans took over the Mexican Pueblo of Sonoma and declared a new “California Republic.” This is the story of their uprising. The revolt became known as the Bear Flag Revolt, after the design of the new republic’s flag. Riding into the city at dawn, they arrived at the Casa Grande, where Col. Vallejo invited them in to discuss his surrender. THE BEAR FLAG REPUBLIC General Vallejo was sympathetic to California's incoming wave of American settlers, but the Mexican government wanted the intruders expelled. A modified version of the original bear flag became California’s state flag in 1911, roughly a decade before the California grizzly bear went extinct. Thus, California became territory occupied by the United States, and soon thereafter, was admitted as the 31st state in the Union. Frémont re-entered California in late May and met with a group of American settlers in the Sonoma Valley on June 8. Bear Flag Revolt, (June–July 1846), short-lived independence rebellion precipitated by American settlers in California’s Sacramento Valley against Mexican authorities. Updates? Known as the Bear Flag Revolt, a reference to the short-lived republic’s flag, this event was something between an American invasion and a miniature war of independence. Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2007 Barbara Warner's volume, published by the SONOMA VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY and still available through them, is a major addition to the voluminous literature of the Bear Flag Revolt. Related searches. On June 14 another group captured Sonoma, the chief settlement north of San Francisco. The result was the Republic of Texas, an independent nation ruled by American settlers, which was then absorbed into the United States in 1846—triggering the Mexican-American War. In 1835, a revolt began in the Mexican province of Texas. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The Bear Flag Revolt and the Anglo-American Conquest of California by Warren A. Beck and Ynez D. Hasse Fremont and the Bear Flag Revolt. At the beginning of July, Commodore John Sloat, commander of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet, arrived at Monterey Bay. California officially became the 31st state on September 9, 1850. Two days later, the Bear Flag Revolt officially ended as California was absorbed into the union. https://www.britannica.com/event/Bear-Flag-Revolt, National Park Service - Golden Gate National Recreation Area - Bear Flag Revolt, June 1846, Bear Flag Revolt - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Bear Flag Revolt, June 1846 As American settlers moved into Mexican-controlled California, most groups settled either in the Sonoma-Napa area, or north of Sutter's Fort near present day Sacramento. Bear Flag Fish Co. is a high end, sustainable fish market that is passionate about bringing healthy living to our local community and future generations. All Rights Reserved. Publisher's beige cloth with color facsimile of the Bear flag on front cover, title in gilt … READ MORE: The U.S. States: 50 States and State Capitals. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... …and had established the short-lived Bear Flag Republic. The Bear Flag Revolt In June of 1846, in the midst of the war, a group of American settlers living in Mexican-controlled Northern California decided to declare California an independent republic. The bear was a symbol of strength, the stripe honored the U.S. flag… Three days later, a party set out for Sonoma. Photo12/Universal Images Group/Getty Images. Aware that skirmishes had broken out along the Rio Grande in April, and that Mexican forces were preparing to defend California, Frémont decided to return to Mexican territory in mid-May. For the rest of June, the Bears and Frémont’s men engaged in skirmishes with Mexican forces, seized key points around what is now San Francisco, and rallied more white settlers to their cause. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. And on July 5 the insurrectionists elected Frémont to head the “Republic of California.”. The Mexican governor declared null and void the acquisition of land by American settlers who had not been naturalized as Mexicans and threatened to expel them from the area. The Bear Flag Monument on the Sonoma Plaza, site of the raising of the original Bear Flag, is marked by a California Historical Landmark #7. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! On June 25 Capt. After accepting Vallejo’s official surrender, the Americans elected William B. Ide as their leader, declared the foundation of a new republic and hoisted a hastily assembled flag featuring a California grizzly bear over the Sonoma barracks. It is posted here solely for the educational purposes of my students. The Californios formally ceded Alta California in 1847 with the Treaty of Cahuenga. The Bear Flag was still flying, and had been for a week or more. There was much doubt about the situation. Known as the Bear Flag Revolt, a reference to the short-lived republic’s flag, this event was something between an American invasion and a miniature war of independence. John Charles Frémont arrived at Sonoma and gave his support to the Bear Flag Revolt. In 1846 approximately 500 Americans were living in California, compared with between 8,000 and 12,000 Mexicans. Polk made no secret of his desire to annex California and, as Heidenreich points out, the so-called surveying expedition “went to California with a howitzer.”, Frémont’s expedition entered Mexican territory in December of 1845 and quietly informed some of the roughly 800 American settlers of their willingness to assist a rebellion. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. We stand for the right to raise a flag in honor of your unique place in the world, whether that’s a patch of … Inspired by the brave souls of the Bear Flag Revolt, we celebrate the kindred spirits who stand their ground, have the good taste to dream big...and never waste a drop. In the mid-19th century, Mexico still controlled vast swaths of the what is now the Southwest United States. Nonetheless, early in June a group of about a dozen Americans seized a large herd of horses from a Mexican military commandant. Commissioned and premiered by Sonoma City Opera in September 1996, the opera centers around a town of "dreamers" who, though separated by sexual, racial, and cultural differences, are brought together through their dreams. Published Date: 1996 Publisher Some argued in favor of independence. The navy seized Monterey on July 7, declaring California a part of the United States. Omissions? Following the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846, California existed as an independent nation—for 25 days. The ensuing gold rush transformed California from a region sparsely populated with Hispanics and Native Americans to a bustling economic center controlled by white Americans—and with many more on the way. According to Dr. Linda Heidenreich, whose book This Land Was Mexican Once examines the Latinx experience of the Bear Flag Revolt and similar insurrections, the annexation of Texas made it clear to the Californios—Mexican residents of the province of Alta California—that their government was too poor, too unstable and too weak to stop American settlers from overrunning California. Frémont and Stockton completed the conquest of the future…, Reluctant to join the Bear Flag revolt of Americans in California against Mexico, he nonetheless helped draw up the Bear Flag Republic’s resolution of independence in July 1846.…. “If you read the reports of these meetings [of Californios], these people saw it coming,” Heidenriech says. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Prepared to take the town by force, they instead sat for brandy with Col. Mariano Vallejo of the Mexican army and accepted his surrender. For the next 25 days, California was an independent nation: the California Republic. Fremont hoists the grizzly-bear flag of the California Republic as California settlers declare themselves independent of Mexico during the Bear Flag Revolt in Sonoma, California, on June 10, 1846. During the Mexican War a group of US emigrants in Mexico's territory of California proclaimed the Republic of California at Sonoma in June, and raised the “bear flag”. Within days of that Bear Flag Revolt in 1846 and the proclamation of the short-lived 23-day California Republic, the United States was at war with Mexico across the Southwest. On July 9 forces under Commodore John D. Sloat occupied San Francisco and Sonoma, claimed California for the United States, and replaced the bear flag with the American flag. In 1846 approximately 500 Americans were living in California, then a province of Mexico, compared with between 8,000 and 12,000 Mexicans. It seems that the Bear Flag was created by the nephew of Mary Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln’s wife. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. It remains unclear when Frémont learned that war had formally broken out, but his instincts proved correct and allowed him to take some of the first actions of the Mexican-American War. Polk secretly instructed Frémont to invade California if war with Mexico broke out—in fact many historians believe that he actually ordered Frémont to start the war himself. “In both [California and Texas], you have a new racial system,” Heidenreich says. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. Though it lasted a total of just 25 days, the California Republic’s name and symbols now adorn perhaps the most distinctive state flag in the United States. The Men of the California Bear Flag Revolt and Their Heritage Author: Barbara Warner: Object ID: 2008.141.1 Other # or MS # 1938 Summary: Book regarding the history of the Bear Flag Revolt in California and the people who participated in it. Bear Flag Revolt (1846) Uprising by US settlers in California. Adam Arenson is an associate professor of history at Manhattan College and a co-editor of the new volume “Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States.”Virginia Scharff is an associate provost for faculty development and a distinguished professor of history and the director of the Center for the Southwest at the University of New Mexico. The Bear Flag Revolt (June–July 1846) was a short-lived independence rebellion precipitated by American settlers in California’s Sacramento Valley against Mexican authorities. Mexico had won its independence from Spain in 1821. The Bear Flag Revolt. Others considered inviting the United States to take over. All credit for this video goes to HISTORY.COM, A&E, and LIONSGATE. News of the U.S. declaration of war with Mexico soon reached California, and Frémont was appointed by Commodore Robert F. Stockton as major of a battalion there that consisted mostly of American volunteers. Although the United States was officially neutral, Americans like Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston led a rebellion against Mexican rule, and hundreds of Americans, including members of the U.S. Army, joined the fight. Though technically named the California Republic, the new nation came to be known as the Bear Flag Republic, and its founders were colloquially known as Bear Flaggers, Bears or Osos (“bears” in Spanish). What Was The Bear Flag Revolt. The Dreamers is a chamber opera in four scenes with music by David Conte and libretto by Philip Littell.. Saying he'd rather be accused of doing too much than too little, he began the U.S. occupation of California, landing 250 sailors and Marines and hoisting the Stars and Stripes over Monterey. The Bear Flag Revolt or Bear Flag Rebellion took place from June 8 to July 19, 1846 in what is today the American state of California. Now known as the Sacramento River Massacre, the scene was described by member of the expedition as “a scene of slaughter which is unequalled in the West.”. But the Republic was quick to fall. Like Frémont, he had been ordered to attack as soon as war was declared, but acted upon instinct instead of waiting to hear of an official declaration. The revolt was led by American William B. Ide against the Mexican government and was ostensibly a pro-American, anti-Mexican government rebellion by the territory's quickly increasing American population. “They were scattering for a plan, and it just wasn’t there.”. The Bear Flag Revolt is one of the central episodes in the events leading to the U.S. annexation of California. Californios had divided opinions about American annexation—many were fiercely resistant—but some felt American rule was preferable to the threat of Russian invasion. Storming of Independence Hill at the Battle of Monterey, in Monterey, California, on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican-American War. Suddenly, Californios became second-class citizens in their own country, while the new government tacitly encouraged its white citizens to purge the area of indigenous peoples. READ MORE: California's Little-Known Genocide. The Bear Flag was the original emblem of the California Republic and flown during the Bear Flag Revolt which preceded the U.S. acquisition of California when Mexico ceded the land to the United States under the terms of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. On June 10, settlers and members of Frémont’s expedition attacked a Mexican lieutenant and made off with his herd of horses. The details of this revolt vary largely from account to account. Fremont returned to the Sacramento area with Gillespie, and on June 6th sent horsemen up and down the valley with unsigned warnings that a band of 250 Californios had been spotted on their way to Sacramento, burning houses, destroying crops, and driving off cattle. Bear Flag Museum, California State Flag Online Museum, Bear Flag Revolt, Home Page First edition, one of 750 copies. ... the whole country south of Monterey was in a state of revolt . Large 8vo, 101 pp, uncut, b&w illus throughout. At dawn on June 14, 1846, a ragtag group of about 30 gun-toting Americans entered Sonoma, a small town in the Mexican territory of Alta California. T-shirt colors are available in the best-selling black, the classic white, and many others. 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