California History Discussion (250 Words) Reading: Chapters 2, 3, 4,5, 6 (no 1) Question:  In your opinion, what were the three most important impacts of

California History Discussion (250 Words) Reading: Chapters 2, 3, 4,5, 6 (no 1)

Question:  In your opinion, what were the three most important impacts of

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California History Discussion (250 Words) Reading: Chapters 2, 3, 4,5, 6 (no 1)

Question:  In your opinion, what were the three most important impacts of European exploration/exploitation/colonization on California’s indigenous peoples? Make sure you include an explanation of why you came up with your answers.

Write three paragraphs with specific topics and exact details in your discussion. (250-350 words).

(Remember, three paragraphs, one topic per paragraph). C A L I F O R N I A

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An Interpretive History


James J. Rawls
Instructor of History

Diablo Valley College

Walton Bean
Late Professor of History

University of California, Berkeley


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Published by McGraw-Hill, a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1221 Avenue of the
Americas, New York, NY 10020. Copyright © 2012 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights
reserved. Previous editions © 2008, 2003, and 1998. No part of this publication may be reproduced or
distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior
written consent of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., including, but not limited to, in any network or
other electronic storage or transmission, or broadcast for distance learning.

Some ancillaries, including electronic and print components, may not be available to customers outside
the United States.

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

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ISBN: 978-0-07-340696-1
MHID: 0-07-340696-1

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All credits appearing on page or at the end of the book are considered to be an extension of the copyright

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Rawls, James J.
California : an interpretive history / James J. Rawls, Walton Bean.—10th ed.

p. cm.
ISBN-13: 978-0-07-340696-1 (alk. paper)
ISBN-10: 0-07-340696-1 (alk. paper)

1. California—History. I. Bean, Walton. II. Title.
F861.R38 2011



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About the Authors

JAMES J. RAWLS, an instructor of history at Diablo Valley College, received his
B.A. in history from Stanford University. He was awarded an M.A. and Ph.D. in
history from the University of California, Berkeley, completing his doctoral
dissertation under the guidance of Walton Bean. Dr. Rawls also has taught as a visit-
ing associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He serves as the
Reviews Editor of California History, the journal of the California Historical Society.
He is the author of Indians of California: The Changing Image, Chief Red Fox
is Dead: A History of Native Americans since 1945, and California Dreaming;
coauthor of Land of Liberty: A United States History, California: Adventures in Time
and Space, and California Vistas: Our Golden State; editor of New Directions in
California History: A Book of Readings and California History: Teaching with
Primary Sources; and coeditor of A Golden State: Mining and Economic Develop-
ment in Gold Rush California and California: A Place, A People, A Dream. His
articles and reviews have appeared in such publications as Journal of American
History, Pacific Historical Review, and American Indian Quarterly.

The late WALTON BEAN was, for more than 35 years, a member of the University
of California, Berkeley, faculty where he taught undergraduate courses in California
history and graduate courses in California and twentieth-century United States
history. His highly acclaimed book, Boss Ruef ’s San Francisco, won the Common-
wealth Club of California’s gold medal and the annual prize of the Pacific Coast
Branch of the American Historical Association. He received his A.B. and M.A. from
the University of Southern California and was awarded his Ph.D. from the
University of California, Berkeley.

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Crescent City


San Francisco

San Jose


San Luis Obispo

Palm Springs

San Diego



Santa Cruz

Long Beach




Pit R

Shasta LakeTrinity R.




Eel River

ento R



r R


Yuba R.

ican R

Clear Lake


ne R


HaywardSan Mateo
Redwood City

Palo Alto









s R


d R

Mono Lake


R.San Joaquin R.

Salinas R.





Santa Maria


Santa Barbara



San Bernardino


Santa Ana
San Clemente


La Jolla



El Centro




Huntington Beach


Los Angeles








‘S V




Santa Rosa














Red Bluff

San Rafael

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Preface xv


Chapter 1 Geography and History 2

The Origins of California 2
Regional Diversity 5
The Climates of California 8

Chapter 2 The Original Californians 11

Food and Population 12
Aspects of Material Culture 14
Location, Linguistic Groups, Tribes 15
Social Culture 16

Chapter 3 European Exploration and Founding 22

The Finding and Naming of California 22
Cabrillo and Alta California 23
Francis Drake and Nova Albion 25
The Manila Galleon and the California Coast 27
Vizcaíno and Monterey 28
Spain’s Indian Policies 29
The Mission as a Frontier Institution 30
Gálvez and the Plan for Alta California 32
The Franciscans and Father Serra 33
The Sacred Expedition 35

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viii Contents

Chapter 4 Outposts of a Dying Empire 40

Bucareli, Anza, and the Founding of San Francisco 40
Neve and the Pueblos of San José and Los Angeles 42
Native Resistance 45
The Impact of the Missions 48
Attempts at Reinforcement 52
Exploration of the Central Valley 53
The Coming of the Russians 54
The Last Years under the Spanish Flag 55

Chapter 5 A Marginal Province of a Troubled Republic 58

Government and Politics in Theory and Practice 58
The Secularization Problem 60
From Echeandía to Figueroa 61
Figueroa and Secularization 63
Alvarado and Provincial Autonomy 65
The Heyday of the Rancheros 66

Chapter 6 American Infiltration 72

The Yankee Traders 72
The Beaver Trappers 74
Early Settlers 76
Covered Wagons, 1841 to 1846 79


Chapter 7 The American Conquest 84

Overtures, Diplomatic and Undiplomatic 84
Plans of the Polk Administration 86
John Charles Frémont 87
The Bear Flag Revolt 90
The Mexican War and California 92

Chapter 8 The Gold Rush and Economic Development 98

Marshall’s Discovery at Sutter’s Mill 98
The Forty-Eighters 99
The Forty-Niners 102
The Diggings 106
Early Mining Methods 107
Mining Camp Law 108

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Contents ix

From an Adventure to a Profession 110
An Economic Multiplier 111
The Historical Significance of

the Gold Rush 112

Chapter 9 A New State and Frontier Politics 117

Military Governments 117
The Constitutional Convention

and Its Problems 118
The First Legislature 122
The Admission of California to the Union 123
The Feud between Broderick and Gwin 124
Movements for State Division 126
California and the Civil War 127

Chapter 10 Crime and Punishment 130

The Nature of Vigilantism 130
The Hounds in San Francisco 132
The San Francisco Committee of 1851 133
Statewide Vigilance 134
The San Francisco Committee of 1856 135

Chapter 11 Racial Oppression and Conflict 140

Treatment of Mexican Miners 140
Land-Title Troubles 141
The Act of 1851 and the Land

Commission 144
Early Discrimination against the

Chinese 145
The “Indian Question” 148
Episodes in Extermination 150
Decline and Exploitation 153
Blacks Enslaved and Free 154

Chapter 12 Culture and Anarchy 158

Newspapers and Literary Magazines 158
Writers of the Fifties 159
Bret Harte 162
Mark Twain 162
Joaquin Miller 164
Ina Coolbrith 164
Churches and Schools 165

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x Contents


Chapter 13 Building the Central Pacific Railroad 168

Early Transportation 168
Judah and the Conception of the

Central Pacific 169
Enter the Four “Associates” 170
Federal and State Support 172
Difficulties and the Death of Judah 174
Solving the Problems of Construction 175

Chapter 14 The “Terrible Seventies” 179

The Onset of Depression 179
Transportation Monopoly 180
Land Monopoly 184
The Comstock and Overspeculation 187

Chapter 15 Political Turmoil and a New Constitution 191

The Increase of Anti-Chinese Sentiment 191
The Workingmen’s Party of California 194
The Constitution of 1879 197
The Frustration of Reform 198
Chinese Exclusion and Segregation 199

Chapter 16 Economic Growth 201

The Wheat Bonanza 201
Wines 202
The Citrus Industry 203
The Rise of Southern California 206
Water and Land 208
Electric Railways and Urbanization 210

Chapter 17 Culture and Oligarchy 214

Henry George 214
Ambrose Bierce 215
Frank Norris 216
Jack London 218
Hubert Howe Bancroft 220
Lords of the Press 222
The Arts and Architecture 223
Schools, Colleges, and Universities 225

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Contents xi

Chapter 18 Politics in the Era of Railroad Domination 230

The Colton Letters 231
The Huntington-Stanford Feud 232
Los Angeles Fights for a Free Harbor 232
The Funding Bill 233
The Southern Pacific Machine 234
William F. Herrin 236
Failure of Nineteenth-Century Reform Movements 237


Chapter 19 Labor and Capital 240

Backgrounds of the California Labor Movement 240
The Rise of Unions in San Francisco 241
The Triumph of the Open Shop in Los Angeles 244
Agricultural Labor: Unorganized and Disfranchised 246
The IWW 248

Chapter 20 The Roots of Reform 252

Boss Ruef and the Union Labor Party 252
The San Francisco Graft Prosecution 254
The Good Government Movement in Los Angeles 257
The Lincoln-Roosevelt League 258

Chapter 21 The Republican Progressives in Power 263

Regulation, Efficiency, and Finance 264
Political Reform 265
Woman Suffrage 266
Public Morals 269
The Progressives and Labor 270
The Anti-Japanese Movement 274
The Decline of Progressivism 277

Chapter 22 The Triumph of Conservatism 281

The Rise and Fall of the Socialist Movement 281
The Mooney Case 282
The Criminal Syndicalism Law 284
The Decline of Organized Labor 286
The Collapse of the Democratic Party 287
The Continuing Decline of Republican

Progressivism 287
The Federal Plan for Reapportionment 289

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xii Contents

Chapter 23 New Industries for Southern California 291

Origins of the Oil Industry 291
The Oil Boom of the Twenties 294
The Automobile Revolution 295
The Movies Discover California 297
The Rise of “The Industry” 298

Chapter 24 Controversies over Land and Water 303

The Yosemite and John Muir 303
The Hetch Hetchy Controversy 306
The Owens Valley–Los Angeles Aqueduct 307
The Boulder Canyon Project 309
The Colorado River Aqueduct 312
The Central Valley Project 314
The 160-Acre Limit 315


Chapter 25 The Great Depression 318

“Sunny Jim” 318
Social Messiahs 320
Depression and Deportation 321
Labor Strife 322
Upton Sinclair and EPIC 325
From Merriam to Olson 328

Chapter 26 Cultural Trends 331

Robinson Jeffers 331
John Steinbeck 332
William Saroyan and Other Writers 335
William Randolph Hearst and Other Journalists 336
The Arts 337
Architecture 339

Chapter 27 Wartime Growth and Problems 343

The Impact of Federal Spending 343
Wartime Shipyards 345
“Americans All” 345
The Rise of the Aircraft Industry 348
The Relocation of Japanese Americans 350

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Contents xiii

Chapter 28 Politics California Style 357

Nonpartisanship Favors the Republicans 357
Filling the Void 358
The Governorship of Earl Warren 361
The Spurious Issue of “Loyalty” 362
The Governorship of Edmund G. Brown 366
Extremists, Right and Left 368

Chapter 29 Industrialized Agriculture
and Disorganized Labor 372

Green Gold 372
The Empire of Agribusiness 373
“Farm Fascism” in the 1930s 374
The Rise and Fall of the Bracero Program 376
Unionization Breaks Through 378
Equal Protection of the Laws 381

Chapter 30 Diversity and Conflict 384

California Indians 384
Asians 388
African Americans 390
Latinos 395
Gender Matters 399


Chapter 31 A Season of Discontent 404

The Growth Rate: Peak and Slowdown 404
Transportation 406
Reapportionment 407
Education 409
Campus Turmoil 410
The Hippie Movement 414
Black Radicalism 415
The Decline of Radicalism 416

Chapter 32 Culture and Identity 418

Literature 418
Painting and Sculpture 424
Architecture 428
Music 430

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xiv Contents

Chapter 33 Recent California Politics 435

The Conservative Revival 435
The Era of Limits and Beyond 438
The Politics of Resentment 441
The Perils of Moderation 444
The Politics of Personality 449

Chapter 34 The Environment and Energy 460

Regional Protection 460
Biodiversity 464
Growth Control 465
Air Pollution and Global Warming 466
Water Resources 470
Toxic Wastes 473
Renewable Energy 474
Nuclear Power 477
Petroleum Dependency 478

Chapter 35 The New California Economy 482

The Sunbelt Shift 482
The Pacific Rim 483
Post-Industrialism 486
High Technology 487
The Internet Revolution 489
The Arsenal of America 491
Tourism 493
Entertainment 495
Agriculture 496

Chapter 36 Contemporary California Society 500

Transportation 500
Housing 503
Education 506
Health Care 512
Criminal Justice 515
The New Californians 518

Index 527

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California is more than just another state. It is also a dream, a fantasy, a state of
mind. This California of our collective imagination draws its power from universal
human needs. Founded on expectation and hope, it promises to fulfill our deepest
longings for opportunity and success, sunshine and beauty, health and long life,
freedom, and even a foretaste of the future.

Two of the logical consequences of this dreamlike image of California have been
growth and diversity. Throughout its history, the Golden State has attracted from
across the country and around the world millions of newcomers pursuing the
California dream. Today California is by far the most populous state in the union,
home to about one out of every eight persons living in the United States. California
is also the nation’s most ethnically diverse state. Ethnic minorities make up over
half of the state’s burgeoning population of more than 38 million; in other words,
every Californian now is a member of one minority group or another.

For many Californians, the dream of a better life has been realized. California is
the nation’s wealthiest state, ranking first in industrial and agricultural production.
It leads in high technology and is home to the nation’s entertainment industry. If
California were a separate country, it would rank eighth among the nations of the
world in gross domestic product.

Other Californians have found the dream denied. Running through the state’s
history is a bitter strain of conflict. On its way to greatness, California has been bur-
dened by a legacy of racism and nativism, episodes of discrimination and exclusion,
a sometimes violent struggle between labor and capital, and an intense contest over
the state’s land and water resources. In recent years, problems such as pollution, in-
come inequality, and a deteriorating infrastructure have caused deep concern among
many Californians. This concern has been compounded by a widespread distrust of
government. As frustration deepened in the early twenty-first century, thoughtful
observers questioned whether the state would be able to meet the ongoing chal-
lenges of growth and diversity generated by the California dream.

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xvi Preface

First published 45 years ago, California: An Interpretive History has become the
standard in the field. The tenth edition retains all the strengths of the earlier editions.
It provides a comprehensive survey of the state’s cultural and social affairs, along
with an account of its political and economic history; it appraises the state’s virtues
and accomplishments, as well as its faults and failures. Original interpretations are
offered of California’s most controversial and persistent problems.

To guide the reader through the interpretive narrative, the text is divided into six
sections, each of which begins with an overview of the chapters ahead. This divi-
sion provides a sense of interpretive cohesion, giving the reader a broad perspective
on the various eras of state history. Likewise, each chapter opens with a brief intro-
ductory section, previewing the material to be covered.

The preparation of the tenth edition has been guided by the assumption that the
main body of the text remains sound. Thus, as in previous editions, the earlier chap-
ters have not been changed significantly in either content or sequence. New schol-
arship in the field has been included wherever relevant; and minor changes have
been made to smooth the narrative and define unfamiliar terms. Throughout the
text, greater attention has been paid to the diversity of California’s population—in
matters of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Most particularly, new
“voices” from the historical record have been added to enliven the prose and allow
the reader to identify more readily with the events being described. New illustra-
tions have been added, and the selected bibliographies at the end of each chapter
have been updated.

The last of the six units, “The Challenge of California,” has been substantially
revised to reflect the most recent developments in the state’s dynamic political, eco-
nomic, cultural and social history. The political narrative encompasses the second
term of the Schwarzenegger administration and the advent of new leadership in
the election of 2010. Additional interpretive material focuses on a wide range of
topics—the collapse of the housing bubble and subsequent mortgage meltdown, the
ongoing structural deficit in state finances, the debate over health-care reform, racial
disparities in public education, protests against increased fees in higher education,
the reform of state water policy, the renewed search for alternative fuels, and the
passage of landmark global-warming legislation.

Also now available for students and instructors is an expanded and updated Website, The site includes student quizzes and exercises. Instructors
may download from the site dozens of historic photos, paintings, broadsides, and other
documents from the collections of the California Historical Society. These images are
password protected; instructors may use the downloaded images to create PowerPoint
classroom presentations. The site also includes an Instructor’s Manual with objective
and essay questions for each chapter as well as suggested lecture topics and audio-
visual resources.

I have benefited from the advice and assistance of many individuals in the prep-
aration of this book. My greatest debt is to Eugene C. Lee, former Director of the
Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, who
generously read and commented on the new material in the latter chapters of
this edition. Likewise, for many kindnesses, I am indebted to Professor Charles

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Preface xvii

Faulhaber, the Director of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, and to David
Crosson, the Executive Director of the California Historical Society in San Francisco.
I also acknowledge the assistance of the late Ted K. Bradshaw, James D. Hart and
James J. Parsons, all of the University of California, Berkeley. Special thanks to my
father, Jabus W. Rawls, who provided valuable technical support, and to the Honor-
able Allen G. Minker for his helpful suggestions on recent California politics.

Others who have contributed to the book’s improvement are Ricardo Almeraz,
Allan Hancock College; Art R. Aurano, Antelope Valley College; Gordon Morris
Bakken, California State University, Fullerton; Jacqueline R. Braitman, University
of California, Los Angeles; Gregg M. Campbell, California State University,
Sacramento; Stephen Cole, Notre Dame de Namur University; Vanessa Crispin-
Peralta, Westmont College; Kathryn Wiler Dabelow, Pasadena City College;
Raymond F. Dasmann, University of California, Santa Cruz; David Eakins, San
Jose State University; Robert L. Fricke, West Valley College; Joel Goldman, San
Francisco State University; Gerald Haslam, California State University, Sonoma;
Deanna Heikkinen, Lake Tahoe Community College; Robert V. Hine, University of
California, Riverside; James D. Houston, University of California, Santa Cruz;
Linda Ivey, California State University – East Bay; Kenneth Kennedy, College of
San Mateo; William King, Mt. San Antonio College; Dan Krieger, California Poly-
technic State University, San Luis Obispo; Gary F. Kurutz, California State Library;
Anne Lindsay, California State University at San Bernardino; Ward M. McAfee,
California State University, San Bernardino; Delores Nason McBroome, Humboldt
State University; Shirley Ann Wilson Moore, California State University,
Sacramento; Spencer C. Olin, Jr., University of California, Irvine; Donald H.
Pflueger, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Robert Phelps, California
State University – East Bay; Brian Plummer, Azusa Pacific University; Narges
Rabii, Santiago Canyon College; Margaret E. Riley, Las Positas College; Allan
Schoenherr, Fullerton College; Mark Sigmon, San Francisco State University; Ray
Stafanson, Chabot College; James Steidel, Cañada College; Mark S. Still, College of
San Mateo; Gregory H. Tilles, Diablo Valley College; Bonnie N. Trask, Fresno City
College; Jules Tygiel, San Francisco State University; Mary Jo Wainwright, Imperial
Valley College; James C. Williams, California History Center, DeAnza College;
Jerry Williams, California State University, Chico; and Charles Wollenberg, Vista

My students at Diablo Valley College have continued to share with me their
enthusiasm for California history, and to them I am especially grateful.

James J. Rawls

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For Linda

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rowth and diversity have been at the heart of California since its earliest
beginnings. Through eons of geologic time, the land itself grew as disparate
bits of migrating terrain attaching themselves to the continent’s western edge.

By the time of human settlement, the present boundaries of California encompassed
North America’s greatest variety of landforms and climate zones. The land was teeming
with a vast array of flora and fauna.

Likewise, the first people to inhabit California were nothing if not diverse. Few
places in the world supported a greater variety of cultures. Native Californians spoke
dozens of languages; they thrived and flourished in each of the state’s varied ecolog-
ical niches, successfully adapting to and inevitably transforming their surroundings.
Long before European contact, California was one of the most densely populated
regions in North America.

The arrival of European empire-builders in the late 1700s added to the diversity of
California. Spaniards began the process of colonization, intent on controlling and
transforming the native people. Efforts at enforced acculturation—most especially in
the Spanish missions—led to bitter conflicts and left an enduring legacy. The Spanish-
speaking settlers themselves were a diverse lot, including people of mixed European,
Indian, and African ancestry. With the achievement of Mexican independence from
Spain in 1821, California also became home to a substantial minority of English-
speaking settlers from a restless and ambitious nation to the east.

California Beginnings

California Indians under guard at the Spanish presidio in San Francisco, 1816. (Courtesy of the
California Historical Society, Templeton Crocker Collection, FN-25092.)

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C H A P T E R 1

Geography and History

California is a notoriously extraordinary place. Its natural charms are of mythic
proportions—the grandeur of Yosemite, the dark mystery of the redwoods, the
incomparable coastline, the sun-drenched skies. These qualities have contributed
mightily to the dreamlike image of California that resides in our collective imagi-
nation. Yet these natural qualities—and many more—also have played an important
role in the historical development of California.

The Origins of California

The earliest attempts to account for the origination of California were made by the
first peoples to live in the area. The Indians of California developed a wide variety
of creation stories, each with its own unique features and cast of characters.
Widely differing versions of creation flourished even within individual communi-
ties. The native people recognized the unlikelihood of agreement on matters of
such importance: “This is how we tell it; they tell it differently.”

Earth scientists today use the theory of plate tectonics to explain the origins of
California. Tectonics is the study of forces deep within the earth that give shape to
surface features such as mountains and ocean basins. The earth’s crust and upper
mantle consist of about 20 enormous plates that lurch and grind against one another,
moving at the rate of a few inches a year. (Why the plates are moving is one of the least
understood and most debated parts of the theory.) The largest of the plates is the Pacific
Plate, underlying about two-thirds of the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Plate’s collision
with the North American Plate is at the heart of the plate tectonics theory of the
creation of California.

“For an extremely large percentage of the history of the world, there was no
California,” writes John McPhee, author of Assembling California (1993). Accord-
ing to McPhee, the western edge of the North American continent once was far inland,

C H A P T E R 1

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CHAPTER 1 Geography and History 3

about where the Rocky Mountains are today. California began to emerge as the eastern-
most part of the state rose out of the primordial sea, carrying upward ancient ocean-floor
sediments. Then, over millions of years, other parts of California began to assemble,
a piece at a time. Fragments of the earth’s crust arrived individually and in massive
conglomerates, docking, or joining, themselves to the continent.

The main event was the collision of the eastward-moving Pacific Plate and the
westward-moving North American Plate. As the plates collided, the Pacific Plate
subducted, or descended, beneath the continent’s edge. The leading edge of the Pa-
cific Plate plunged deep into the earth and began to melt. The resultant molten rock
eventually cooled to form the granite core of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Erosion
later removed the surface rock, uncovering the granite below. With the weight of the
overburden removed, the mountains became uplifted along faults, or deep cracks. In
the enormous heat generated by subduction, metal-rich compounds dissolved into
solutions and were injected into the fissures of the rocks being formed above. Dif-
ferent combinations of minerals at different levels precipitated to form deposits of
copper, lead, tungsten, silver, and gold.

Subsequent dockings of Pacific Plate material doubled the width of California.
Geologists have identified rocks in this material that came from the entire Pacific
basin, encompassing origins stretching over half the surface of the earth. Thus, em-
bedded in the physical structure of California was a powerful metaphor for the later
cultural and ethnic diversity of what became the Golden State.

As the Sierra Nevada rose in the interior, the western edge of the continental
plate nosed out along the ocean floor. Sedimentary rocks and ocean-crust material
were churned up and piled in great confusion along the continent’s edge, forming a
low-lying range of mountains along the California coast. Between the newly
formed Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevada lay a deep trough that slowly filled
with volcanic debris and sediments eroded from the surrounding mountains. After
more than 100 million years of accumulated fill, this intermontane trough …

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