California State Flag
U.S. state flag consisting of a white field (background) with a grizzly bear above the words “California Republic” and a red stripe; in the upper hoist corner is a single red star. In the Bear Flag Revolt of , which occurred during the Mexican-American War, a group of American settlers in what was then the Mexican-ruled territory of California proclaimed independence and hoisted the original . Official State Flag of California. Designed by William Todd (nephew of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln), the historic bear flag was raised at Sonoma, California in by American settlers in revolt against Mexican rule (officially adopted as the state flag of California in ). All State Flags.
In how to solve community health problems Bear Flag Revolt ofwhich occurred during the Mexican-American Wara group of American settlers in what was then the Mexican-ruled territory of California proclaimed independence and hoisted the original Bear Flag June 14, The following month American naval forces seized control of the area, and the flag of the short-lived California Republic was replaced by the Stars and Stripes.
Memory of the Bear Flag was preserved, although original examples were lost or destroyed, and in the California legislature recognized it as the official state flag. The California grizzly bear, shown as the central emblem on the flag, is now extinct. The California flag, like those of Hawaii and Texasis unusual in that it features a design used by a formerly independent country.
Flag of California. Additional Info. Contributors Article History. Flag of Wuat United States state flag.
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In approximately Americans were living in California, compared with between 8, and 12, Mexicans. Nonetheless, early in June a group of about a dozen Americans seized a large herd…. The 50 stars stand for the 50 states of the union, and the 13 stripes stand for the original 13 states. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! Email address. Statw signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.
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The California state flag is also known as the Bear Flag. The flag used today was first adopted on February 3, It is believed that the bear on the flag is based on the last California grizzly kept in captivity. This bear was named “Monarch.”. Apr 26, · It’s a recognizable flag: a grizzly bear walks on a patch of grass towards a red, five-pointed star, while a matching red stripe runs along the bottom. “California Republic,” it reads. Though formally adopted in as the official state flag, Author: Juliet Bennett Rylah.
Stop at any souvenir shop on the Venice Boardwalk or Hollywood Boulevard and someone will try to sell you a shirt, cap, or mug with a California state flag print. Though formally adopted in as the official state flag, its origins date back to a short-lived revolt in Back in the mids, the burgeoning United States and Mexico had a tense relationship, largely over who would control what land. In , Texas became independent of Mexico, but as of , had not been annexed into the United States.
In , James K. Polk won the U. Polk and many of his contemporaries believed in the Manifest Destiny; that is, that the United States should continue to spread westward to the Pacific Ocean. This led to the two-year Mexican-American War , which came to an end in with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
The agreement forced Mexico to sell quite a bit of land north of the river to the U. In June of , 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 details of this revolt vary largely from account to account. Some see the settlers as celebrated rebels, while others view them as complete monsters.
Captain John C. He encouraged the disgruntled American settlers in the area, who feared they might be evicted, to stand up against Mexican control. In June, a group of rowdy settlers stole several Mexican horses. Then, settlers Ezekiel Merritt and William Ide stormed the Mexican settlement of Sonoma with a small group of 25 or so men. Ide and Merritt had decided that California should be its own republic and thus, needed its own flag.
Another settler, William Todd, agreed to draw it. According to William J. Trinkle, an attorney and operator of the virtual Bear Flag Museum , the flag was drawn sometime between June 14 and June 17, Most of the Bear Flaggers died in the s without explaining the flag, Trinkle said. The star may relate to the Texan flag and its lone star. Some speculate the bear stood for courage and fierceness, while other sources report it was to reflect the many bears seen on the territory.
According to an article written by politician John Bidwell in , several Native Californians thought the crude drawing actually looked more like a pig than a bear. The Bear Flag Revolt lasted less than a month. Though the Bear Flaggers had raised their flag in Sonoma, the U. Navy showed up on July 9 and raised their own flag. In , California would become part of the United States. No independent republic was to be had.
Navy Commander John B. Trinkle points to letters the younger Montgomery wrote to his mother, in which he not only described the flag, but drew her a picture of it. From that point, the flag made its way around California Navy officials and politicians until reaching the Society of California in There, the San Francisco earthquake of and the fires that followed the disaster destroyed both the original flag and another copy of it.
Still, groups including the Native Sons of the Golden West continued to use the Bear Flag imagery and pushed for it to become the state flag. The flag is not without its controversy. The Bear Flaggers are described unfavorably by many historians, frequently referred to as drunks, thieves, slave owners, and—in the case of Bear Flagger Second Lt. Reports indicate Bear Flaggers were needlessly hostile to indigenous people, many of whom were later killed in subsequent conflicts.