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Mountain Landscape, Yosemite National Park, California, United States Of America.

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posted by DM PHOTOGRAPHY alias [email protected] on Wednesday 2nd of December 2015 02:24:26 PM

Yosemite National Park (/joʊˈsɛmɪti/ yoh-SEM-it-ee)[4] is an American national park in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California,[5][6] bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of 748,436 acres (1,169 sq mi; 3,029 km2)[2] and sits in four counties: centered in Tuolumne and Mariposa, extending north and east to Mono and south to Madera County. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity.[7] Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.[8] On average, about four million people visit Yosemite each year,[9] and most spend the majority of their time in the seven square miles (18 km2) of Yosemite Valley.[7] The park set a visitation record in 2016, surpassing five million visitors for the first time in its history.[10] Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea. Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development, ultimately leading to President Abraham Lincoln's signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864. John Muir led a successful movement to have Congress establish a larger national park by 1890, one which encompassed the valley and its surrounding mountains and forests, paving the way for the National Park System.[11] Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral and oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine. Of California's 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% are within Yosemite. The park contains suitable habitat for more than 160 rare plants, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy.[7] The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granitic rocks and remnants of older rock. About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and then tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes. The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in the formation of deep, narrow canyons. About one million years ago, snow and ice accumulated, forming glaciers at the higher alpine meadows that moved down the river valleys. Ice thickness in Yosemite Valley may have reached 4,000 feet (1,200 m) during the early glacial episode. The downslope movement of the ice masses cut and sculpted the U-shaped valley that attracts so many visitors to its scenic vistas today. The name "Yosemite" (meaning "killer" in Miwok) originally referred to the name of a tribe which was driven out of the area (and possibly annihilated) by the Mariposa Battalion. Previously, the area had been called "Ahwahnee" ("big mouth") by indigenous people.[12] The name Yosemite itself is from the Native American word "uzumate," which meant grizzly bear. The indigenous tribe that lived in the Valley were called Yosemites by caucasians and by other tribes because they lived in a place where grizzly bears were common and they were reportedly skilled at killing the bears. Yosemite Valley has been inhabited for nearly 3,000 years, although humans may have first visited the area as long as 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.[14] The indigenous natives called themselves the Ahwahnechee, meaning "dwellers in Ahwahnee".[15] They are related to the Northern Paiute and Mono tribes. Many tribes visited the area to trade, including nearby Central Sierra Miwoks, who lived along the drainage area of the Tuolumne and Stanislaus Rivers.[16] A major trading route went over Mono Pass and through Bloody Canyon to Mono Lake, just to the east of the Yosemite area. Vegetation and game in the region were similar to that present today; acorns were a staple to their diet, as well as other seeds and plants, salmon and deer.[17][unreliable source?] The California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century dramatically increased travel by European-Americans in the area, causing competition for resources between the regional Paiute and Miwok and the miners and hangers on. In 1851 as part of the Mariposa Wars intended to suppress Native American resistance, United States Army Major Jim Savage led the Mariposa Battalion into the west end of Yosemite Valley. He was pursuing forces of around 200 Ahwahneechee led by Chief Tenaya.[18] Accounts from this battalion were the first well-documented reports of ethnic Europeans entering Yosemite Valley. Attached to Savage's unit was Dr. Lafayette Bunnell, the company physician, who later wrote about his awestruck impressions of the valley in The Discovery of the Yosemite. Bunnell is credited with naming Yosemite Valley, based on his interviews with Chief Tenaya. Bunnell wrote that Chief Tenaya was the founder of the Ah-wah-nee colony.[19] The Miwok, a neighboring tribe, and most white settlers considered the Ahwahneechee to be especially violent because of their frequent territorial disputes. The Miwok term for the Pai-Ute band was yohhe'meti, meaning "they are killers".[20][21] Correspondence and articles written by members of the battalion helped to popularize the natural wonders of the Yosemite Valley and the surrounding area.[citation needed] Chief Tenaya and his Ahwahneechee were eventually captured and their village burned; they were removed to a reservation near Fresno, California. The chief and some others were later allowed to return to Yosemite Valley. In the spring of 1852 they attacked a group of eight gold miners, and then moved east to flee law enforcement.[22] Near Mono Lake, they took refuge with the nearby Mono tribe of Paiute. They stole horses from their hosts and moved away, but the Mono Paiutes tracked down and killed many of the Ahwahneechee, including Chief Tenaya. The Mono Paiute took the survivors as captives back to Mono Lake and absorbed them into the Mono Lake Paiute tribe.[citation needed] After these wars, a number of Native Americans continued to live within the boundaries of Yosemite. A number of Indians supported the growing tourism industry by working as laborers or maids. Later, Indians became part of the tourism industry itself by selling baskets or performing for tourists.[23] A reconstructed "Indian Village of Ahwahnee" has been erected behind the Yosemite Museum, located next to the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. In 1855, entrepreneur James Mason Hutchings, artist Thomas Ayres and two others were the first to tour the area.[18] Hutchings and Ayres were responsible for much of the earliest publicity about Yosemite, writing articles and special magazine issues about the Valley.[24] Ayres' style in art was highly detailed with exaggerated angularity. His works and written accounts were distributed nationally, and an art exhibition of his drawings was held in New York City. Hutchings' publicity efforts between 1855 and 1860 led to an increase in tourism to Yosemite.[25] Wawona was an Indian encampment in what is now the southwestern part of the park. Settler Galen Clark discovered the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia in Wawona in 1857. He had simple lodgings built, and roads to the area. In 1879, the Wawona Hotel was built to serve tourists visiting Mariposa Grove. As tourism increased, so did the number of trails and hotels developed by people intending to build on the trade.[citation needed] The Wawona Tree, also known as the Tunnel Tree, was a famous giant sequoia that stood in the Mariposa Grove. It was 227 feet (69 m) tall, and was 90 ft (27 m) in circumference. When a carriage-wide tunnel was cut through the tree in 1881, it became even more popular as a tourist photo attraction. Everything from horse-drawn carriages in the late 19th century, to automobiles in the first part of the 20th century, traveled the road which passed through that tree. The tree was permanently weakened by the tunnel, and the Wawona Tree fell in 1969 under a heavy load of snow. It was estimated to have been 2,300 years old. It is unclear how much longer it may have lived if it had not been damaged. Yosemite's first concession was established in 1884 when John Degnan and his wife established a bakery and store.[26] In 1916, the National Park Service granted a 20-year concession to the Desmond Park Service Company. It bought out or built hotels, stores, camps, a dairy, a garage, and other park services.[27] Desmond changed its name to the Yosemite National Park Company in December 1917 and was reorganized in 1920.[28] The Curry Company had been started in 1899 by David and Jennie Curry to provide concessions in the park. They also founded Camp Curry, formerly known as Half Dome Village, now restored back to Curry Village.[29] The Currys lobbied reluctant park supervisors to allow expansion of concession operations and development in the area.[citation needed] Administrators in the National Park Service felt that limiting the number of concessionaires in each national park would be more financially sound. The Curry Company and its rival, the Yosemite National Park Company, were forced to merge in 1925 to form the Yosemite Park & Curry Company (YP&CC).[30] The company built the Ahwahnee Hotel in 1927. Concerned by the effects of commercial interests, prominent citizens including Galen Clark and Senator John Conness advocated for protection of the area. A park bill was prepared with the assistance of the General Land Office in the Interior Department.[31] The bill passed both houses of the 38th United States Congress, and was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on June 30, 1864, creating the Yosemite Grant.[32][33] This is the first instance of park land being set aside specifically for preservation and public use by action of the U.S. federal government, and set a precedent for the 1872 creation of Yellowstone as the first national park.[11] Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove were ceded to California as a state park, and a board of commissioners was proclaimed two years later.[citation needed] Galen Clark was appointed by the commission as the Grant's first guardian, but neither Clark nor the commissioners had the authority to evict homesteaders (which included Hutchings).[32] The issue was not settled until 1872 when the homesteader land holdings were invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court.[34] Clark and the reigning commissioners were ousted in 1880, this dispute also reaching the Supreme Court in 1880.[35] The two Supreme Court decisions affecting management of the Yosemite Grant are considered important precedents in land management law.[36] Hutchings became the new park guardian.[37] Access to the park by tourists improved in the early years of the park, and conditions in the Valley were made more hospitable. Tourism significantly increased after the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869, but the long horseback ride to reach the area was a deterrent.[32] Three stagecoach roads were built in the mid-1870s to provide better access for the growing number of visitors to Yosemite Valley.[citation needed] John Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist and explorer. It was because of Muir that many National Parks were left untouched, such as Yosemite Valley National Park. One of the most significant camping trips Muir took was in 1903 with then president Theodore Roosevelt. This trip persuaded Roosevelt to return "Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove to federal protection as part of Yosemite National Park".[38] Muir wrote articles popularizing the area and increasing scientific interest in it. Muir was one of the first to theorize that the major landforms in Yosemite Valley were created by large alpine glaciers, bucking established scientists such as Josiah Whitney, who regarded Muir as an amateur.[37] Muir wrote scientific papers on the area's biology. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted emphasized the importance of conservation of Yosemite Valley. Overgrazing of meadows (especially by sheep), logging of giant sequoia, and other damage caused Muir to become an advocate for further protection. Muir convinced prominent guests of the importance of putting the area under federal protection; one such guest was Robert Underwood Johnson, editor of Century Magazine. Muir and Johnson lobbied Congress for the Act that created Yosemite National Park on October 1, 1890.[39] The State of California, however, retained control of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove. Muir also helped persuade local officials to virtually eliminate grazing from the Yosemite high country.[citation needed] The newly created national park came under the jurisdiction of the United States Army's Troop I of the 4th Cavalry on May 19, 1891, which set up camp in Wawona with Captain Abram Epperson Wood as acting superintendent.[39] By the late 1890s, sheep grazing was no longer a problem, and the Army made other improvements. The cavalry could not intervene to ease the worsening condition of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove. The cavalry left another legacy in the park, the ranger hat. From 1899 to 1913, cavalry regiments of the Western Department, including the all Black 9th Cavalry (known as the "Buffalo Soldiers") and the 1st Cavalry, stationed two troops at Yosemite and brought with them the trooper's campaign hat with its distinctive Montana Peak we recognize today as the "ranger hat". This peak had been formed into the trooper's stetson by veterans of the 1898 Spanish–American War to better shed tropical rain. Muir and his Sierra Club continued to lobby the government and influential people for the creation of a unified Yosemite National Park. In May 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt camped with Muir near Glacier Point for three days. On that trip, Muir convinced Roosevelt to take control of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove away from California and return it to the federal government. In 1906, Roosevelt signed a bill that did precisely that. The National Park Service was formed in 1916, and Yosemite was transferred to that agency's jurisdiction. Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, Tioga Pass Road, and campgrounds at Tenaya and Merced lakes were also completed in 1916.[40] Automobiles started to enter the park in ever-increasing numbers following the construction of all-weather highways to the park. The Yosemite Museum was founded in 1926 through the efforts of Ansel Franklin Hall.[41] In the 1920s, the museum featured Native Americans practicing traditional crafts, and many of the Sierra Miwok continued to live in Yosemite Valley until they were evicted from Yosemite in the 1960s.[42] In 1903, a dam in the northern portion of the park was proposed. Located in the Hetch Hetchy Valley, its purpose was to provide water and hydroelectric power to San Francisco. Muir and the Sierra Club opposed the project, while others, including Gifford Pinchot, supported it.[43] In 1913, the U.S. Congress authorized the O'Shaughnessy Dam through passage of the Raker Act. In the late 1920s a bid for Yosemite for the 1932 Winter Olympics was put forward. Ultimately, the 1932 Winter Olympics were awarded to Lake Placid, New York.[45] In 1937, conservationist Rosalie Edge, head of the Emergency Conservation Committee (ECC), successfully lobbied Congress to purchase about 8,000 acres of old-growth sugar pines on the perimeter of Yosemite National Park that were to be logged.[46] In 1984, preservationists persuaded Congress to designate 677,600 acres (274,200 ha), or about 89% of the park, as the Yosemite Wilderness—a highly protected wilderness area.[47] The Park Service has reduced artificial inducements to visit the park, such as the Firefall, in which red-hot embers were pushed off a cliff near Glacier Point at night. Traffic congestion in Yosemite Valley during the summer months has become a concern. Two electric buses commenced service in September 1995. The buses are quiet and do not emit pollutants. Eventually, all the buses in Yosemite will be electric.[48][needs update] In 2016, The Trust for Public Land purchased Ackerson Meadow, a 400-acre tract on the western edge of Yosemite National Park, for $2.3 million in order to preserve habitat and protect the area from development. Ackerson Meadow was originally included in the proposed 1890 park boundary but never acquired by the federal government. On September 7, 2016, the National Park Service accepted the donation of the land, making the meadow the largest addition to Yosemite since 1949. Yosemite National Park is located in the central Sierra Nevada of California. Three wilderness areas are adjacent to Yosemite: the Ansel Adams Wilderness to the southeast, the Hoover Wilderness to the northeast, and the Emigrant Wilderness to the north. The 1,189 sq mi (3,080 km2) park is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Rhode Island and contains thousands of lakes and ponds, 1,600 miles (2,600 km) of streams, 800 miles (1,300 km) of hiking trails, and 350 miles (560 km) of roads.[50] Two federally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Merced and the Tuolumne, begin within Yosemite's borders and flow westward through the Sierra foothills, into the Central Valley of California. On average, about 4 million people visit the park each year,[9] with most visitor use concentrated in the seven-square-mile (18 km2) area of Yosemite Valley. Almost all of the landforms in the Yosemite area are cut from the granitic rock of the Sierra Nevada Batholith (a batholith is a large mass of intrusive igneous rock that formed deep below the surface).[51] About 5% of the park's landforms (mostly in its eastern margin near Mount Dana) are metamorphosed volcanic and sedimentary rocks.[52] These rocks are called roof pendants because they were once the roof of the underlying granitic rock.[53] Erosion acting upon different types of uplift-created joint and fracture systems is responsible for creating the valleys, canyons, domes, and other features we see today. These joints and fracture systems do not move, and are therefore not faults.[54] Spacing between joints is controlled by the amount of silica in the granite and granodiorite rocks; more silica tends to create a more resistant rock, resulting in larger spaces between joints and fractures.[55] Pillars and columns, such as Washington Column and Lost Arrow, are created by cross joints. Erosion acting on master joints is responsible for creating valleys and later canyons.[55] The single most erosive force over the last few million years has been large alpine glaciers, which have turned the previously V-shaped river-cut valleys into U-shaped glacial-cut canyons (such as Yosemite Valley and Hetch Hetchy Valley). Exfoliation (caused by the tendency of crystals in plutonic rocks to expand at the surface) acting on granitic rock with widely spaced joints is responsible for creating domes such as Half Dome and North Dome and inset arches like Royal Arches. Yosemite Valley represents only one percent of the park area, but this is where most visitors arrive and stay. The Tunnel View is the first view of the Valley for many visitors and is extensively photographed. El Capitan, a prominent granite cliff that looms over Yosemite Valley, is one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the world because of its diverse range of climbing routes in addition to its year-round accessibility. Granite domes such as Sentinel Dome and Half Dome rise 3,000 and 4,800 feet (910 and 1,460 m), respectively, above the valley floor. In the park are many domes.[citation needed] The high country of Yosemite contains beautiful areas such as Tuolumne Meadows, Dana Meadows, the Clark Range, the Cathedral Range, and the Kuna Crest. The Sierra crest and the Pacific Crest Trail run through Yosemite, with peaks of red metamorphic rock, such as Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs, and granite peaks, such as Mount Conness. Mount Lyell is the highest point in the park, standing at 13,120 feet (4,000 m). The Lyell Glacier is the largest glacier in Yosemite National Park and is one of the few remaining in the Sierra Nevada today.[citation needed] The park has three groves of ancient giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) trees; the Mariposa Grove (200 trees), the Tuolumne Grove (25 trees), and the Merced Grove (20 trees).[57] This species grows larger in volume than any other and is one of the tallest and longest-lived. The Tuolumne and Merced River systems originate along the crest of the Sierra Nevada in the park and have carved river canyons 3,000 to 4,000 feet (910 to 1,220 m) deep. The Tuolumne River drains the entire northern portion of the park, an area of approximately 680 square miles (1,800 km2). The Merced River begins in the park's southern peaks, primarily the Cathedral and Clark Ranges, and drains an area of approximately 511 square miles (1,320 km2).[59] Hydrologic processes, including glaciation, flooding, and fluvial geomorphic response, have been fundamental in creating landforms in the park.[59] The park also contains approximately 3,200 lakes (greater than 100 m2), two reservoirs, and 1,700 miles (2,700 km) of streams, all of which help form these two large watersheds.[60] Wetlands in Yosemite occur in valley bottoms throughout the park, and are often hydrologically linked to nearby lakes and rivers through seasonal flooding and groundwater movement. Meadow habitats, distributed at elevations from 3,000 to 11,000 feet (910 to 3,350 m) in the park, are generally wetlands, as are the riparian habitats found on the banks of Yosemite's numerous streams and rivers. Yosemite is famous for its high concentration of waterfalls in a small area. Numerous sheer drops, glacial steps and hanging valleys in the park provide many places for waterfalls to exist, especially during April, May, and June (the snowmelt season). Located in Yosemite Valley, the Yosemite Falls is the highest in North America at 2,425 feet (739 m). Also in Yosemite Valley is the much lower volume Ribbon Falls, which has the highest single vertical drop, 1,612 feet (491 m).[58] Perhaps the most prominent of the Yosemite Valley waterfalls is Bridalveil Fall, which is the waterfall seen from the Tunnel View viewpoint at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel. Wapama Falls in Hetch Hetchy Valley is another notable waterfall. Hundreds of ephemeral waterfalls also exist in the park.[citation needed] All glaciers in the park are relatively small glaciers that occupy areas that are in almost permanent shade, such as north- and northeast-facing cirques. Lyell Glacier is the largest glacier in Yosemite (the Palisades Glaciers are the largest in the Sierra Nevada) and covers 160 acres (65 ha).[62] None of the Yosemite glaciers are a remnant of the much, much larger Ice Age alpine glaciers responsible for sculpting the Yosemite landscape. Instead, they were formed during one of the neoglacial episodes that have occurred since the thawing of the Ice Age (such as the Little Ice Age).[57] Climate change has reduced the number and size of glaciers around the world. Many Yosemite glaciers, including Merced Glacier, which was discovered by John Muir in 1871 and bolstered his glacial origins theory of the Yosemite area, have disappeared and most of the others have lost up to 75% of their surface area. Yosemite has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), meaning most precipitation falls during the mild winter, and the other seasons are nearly dry (less than 3% of precipitation falls during the long, hot summers).[63] Because of orographic lift, precipitation increases with elevation up to 8,000 feet (2,400 m) where it slowly decreases to the crest. Precipitation amounts vary from 36 inches (910 mm) at 4,000 feet (1,200 m) elevation to 50 inches (1,300 mm) at 8,600 feet (2,600 m). Snow does not typically persist on the ground until November in the high country. It accumulates all winter and into March or early April.[64] Mean daily temperatures range from 25 °F (−4 °C) to 53 °F (12 °C) at Tuolumne Meadows at 8,600 feet (2,600 m). At the Wawona Entrance (elevation 5,130 feet or 1,560 metres), mean daily temperature ranges from 36 to 67 °F (2 to 19 °C). At the lower elevations below 5,000 feet (1,500 m), temperatures are hotter; the mean daily high temperature at Yosemite Valley (elevation 3,966 feet or 1,209 metres) varies from 46 to 90 °F (8 to 32 °C). At elevations above 8,000 feet (2,400 m), the hot, dry summer temperatures are moderated by frequent summer thunderstorms, along with snow that can persist into July. The combination of dry vegetation, low relative humidity, and thunderstorms results in frequent lightning-caused fires as well.[64] At the park headquarters, with an elevation of 3,966 feet (1,209 m), January averages 38.2 °F (3.4 °C), while July averages 73.0 °F (22.8 °C), though in summer the nights are much cooler than the hot days.[65] There are an average of 39.5 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and an average of 97.9 nights with freezing temperatures.[65] Freezing temperatures have been recorded in every month of the year. The record high temperature was 115 °F (46 °C) on July 20, 1915, while the record low temperature was −6 °F (−21 °C) on January 2, 1924 and on January 21, 1937.[65][66] Average annual precipitation is nearly 37 inches (940 mm), falling on 65 days. The wettest year was 1983 with 68.94 inches (1,751 mm) and the driest year was 1976 with 14.84 inches (377 mm).[66] The most precipitation in one month was 29.61 inches (752 mm) in December 1955 and the most in one day was 6.92 inches (176 mm) on December 23, 1955.[66] Average annual snowfall is 65.6 inches (1.67 m). The snowiest year was 1967 with 154.9 inches (3.93 m). The most snow in one month was 140.8 inches (3.58 m) in January 1993. The area of the park was astride a passive continental margin during the Precambrian and early Paleozoic.[68] Sediment was derived from continental sources and was deposited in shallow water. These rocks have since been deformed and metamorphosed.[69][70] Heat generated from the Farallon Plate subducting below the North American Plate led to the creation of an island arc of volcanoes on the west coast of proto-North America between the late Devonian and Permian periods.[68] Later volcanism in the Jurassic intruded and covered these rocks in what may have been magmatic activity associated with the early stages of the creation of the Sierra Nevada Batholith. 95% of these rocks were eventually removed by uplifted-accelerated erosion.[citation needed] The first phase of regional plutonism started 210 million years ago in the late Triassic and continued throughout the Jurassic to about 150 million years before present (BP).[51] Around the same time, the Nevadan orogeny built the Nevadan mountain range (also called the Ancestral Sierra Nevada) to a height of 15,000 feet (4,600 m). This was directly part of the creation of the Sierra Nevada Batholith, and the resulting rocks were mostly granitic in composition and emplaced about 6 miles (9.7 km) below the surface.[71] The second major pluton emplacement phase lasted from about 120 million to 80 million years ago during the Cretaceous.[51] This was part of the Sevier orogeny.[72] Starting 20 million years ago (in the Cenozoic) and lasting until 5 million years ago, a now-extinct extension of Cascade Range volcanoes erupted, bringing large amounts of igneous material in the area. These igneous deposits blanketed the region north of the Yosemite region. Volcanic activity persisted past 5 million years BP east of the current park borders in the Mono Lake and Long Valley areas. Starting 10 million years ago, vertical movement along the Sierra fault started to uplift the Sierra Nevada. Subsequent tilting of the Sierra block and the resulting accelerated uplift of the Sierra Nevada increased the gradient of western-flowing streams.[74] The streams consequently ran faster and thus cut their valleys more quickly. Additional uplift occurred when major faults developed to the east, especially the creation of Owens Valley from Basin and Range-associated extensional forces. Uplift of the Sierra accelerated again about two million years ago during the Pleistocene.[citation needed] The uplifting and increased erosion exposed granitic rocks in the area to surface pressures, resulting in exfoliation (responsible for the rounded shape of the many domes in the park) and mass wasting following the numerous fracture joint planes (cracks; especially vertical ones) in the now solidified plutons.[56] Pleistocene glaciers further accelerated this process and the larger ones transported the resulting talus and till from valley floors.[citation needed] Numerous vertical joint planes controlled where and how fast erosion took place. Most of these long, linear and very deep cracks trend northeast or northwest and form parallel, often regularly spaced sets. They were created by uplift-associated pressure release and by the unloading of overlying rock via erosion. A series of glaciations further modified the region starting about 2 to 3 million years ago and ending sometime around 10,000 BP. At least four major glaciations have occurred in the Sierra Nevada, locally called the Sherwin (also called the pre-Tahoe), Tahoe, Tenaya, and Tioga.[74] The Sherwin glaciers were the largest, filling Yosemite and other valleys, while later stages produced much smaller glaciers. A Sherwin-age glacier was almost surely responsible for the major excavation and shaping of Yosemite Valley and other canyons in the area.[citation needed] Glacial systems reached depths of up to 4,000 feet (1,200 m) and left their marks in the Yosemite area. The longest glacier in the Yosemite area ran down the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River for 60 miles (97 km), passing well beyond Hetch Hetchy Valley. Merced Glacier flowed out of Yosemite Valley and into the Merced River Gorge. Lee Vining Glacier carved Lee Vining Canyon and emptied into Lake Russel (the much-enlarged ice age version of Mono Lake). Only the highest peaks, such as Mount Dana and Mount Conness, were not covered by glaciers. Retreating glaciers often left recessional moraines that impounded lakes such as the 5.5 miles (9 km) long Lake Yosemite (a shallow lake that periodically covered much of the floor of Yosemite Valley). With its scrubby sun-baked chaparral, stately groves of pine, fir, and sequoia, and expanses of alpine woodlands and meadows, Yosemite National Park preserves a Sierra Nevada landscape as it prevailed before Euro-American settlement.[76] In contrast to surrounding lands, which have been significantly altered by logging, the park still contains some 225,510 acres (91,260 ha) of old-growth forest.[77] Taken together, the park's varied habitats support over 250 species of vertebrates, which include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.[78] Much of Yosemite's western boundary has habitats dominated by mixed coniferous forests of ponderosa pine, sugar pine, incense cedar, white fir, Douglas fir, and a few stands of giant sequoia, interspersed by areas of black oak and canyon live oak. A relatively high diversity of wildlife species is supported by these habitats, because of relatively mild, lower-elevation climate and the mixture of habitat types and plant species. Wildlife species typically found in these habitats include black bear, coyote, raccoon, mountain kingsnake, Gilbert's skink, white-headed woodpecker, bobcat, river otter, gray fox, red fox, brown creeper, two species of skunk, cougar, spotted owl, and a wide variety of bat species.[78] Going higher in elevation, the coniferous forests become purer stands of red fir, western white pine, Jeffrey pine, lodgepole pine, and the occasional foxtail pine. Fewer wildlife species tend to be found in these habitats, because of their higher elevation and lower complexity. Species likely to be found include golden-mantled ground squirrel, chickaree, fisher, Steller's jay, hermit thrush, and northern goshawk. Reptiles are not common, but include rubber boa, western fence lizard, and northern alligator lizard. As the landscape rises, trees become smaller and more sparse, with stands broken by areas of exposed granite. These include lodgepole pine, whitebark pine, and mountain hemlock that, at highest elevations, give way to vast expanses of granite as treeline is reached. The climate in these habitats is harsh and the growing season is short, but species such as pika, yellow-bellied marmot, white-tailed jackrabbit, Clark's nutcracker, and black rosy finch are adapted to these conditions. Also, the treeless alpine habitats are the areas favored by Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep. This species, however, is now found in the Yosemite area only around Tioga Pass, where a small, reintroduced population exists.[78] At a variety of elevations, meadows provide important, productive habitat for wildlife. Animals come to feed on the green grasses and use the flowing and standing water found in many meadows. Predators, in turn, are attracted to these areas. The interface between meadow and forest is also favored by many animal species because of the proximity of open areas for foraging and cover for protection. Species that are highly dependent upon meadow habitat include great grey owl, willow flycatcher, Yosemite toad, and mountain beaver. The black bears of Yosemite were once famous for breaking into parked cars to steal food. They were also an encouraged tourist sight for many years at the park's garbage dumps, where bears congregated to eat park visitors' garbage and tourists gathered to photograph the bears. Increasing encounters between bears and humans and increasing damage to property led to an aggressive campaign to discourage bears from relying on human food or interacting with people and their property. The open-air dumps were closed; all trash receptacles were replaced with bear-proof receptacles; all campgrounds were equipped with bear-proof food lockers so that people would not leave food in their vehicles, which were easy targets for the powerful and resourceful bears. Because bears who show aggression towards people usually are eventually destroyed, park personnel have continued to come up with innovative ways to have bears associate humans and their property with unpleasant experiences, such as being hit with rubber bullets. Today,[when?] about 30 bears a year are captured and ear-tagged and their DNA is sampled so that, when bear damage occurs, rangers can ascertain which bear is causing the problem.[79][needs update] Despite the richness of high-quality habitats in Yosemite, the brown bear, California condor, and least Bell's vireo have become extinct in the park within historical time,[80] and another 37 species currently have special status under either California or federal endangered species legislation. The most serious current threats to Yosemite's wildlife and the ecosystems they occupy include loss of a natural fire regime, exotic species, air pollution, habitat fragmentation, and climate change. On a more local basis, factors such as road kills and the availability of human food have affected some wildlife species. Yosemite National Park has documented more than 130 non-native plant species within park boundaries. These non-native plants were introduced into Yosemite following the migration of early Euro-American settlers in the late 1850s. Natural and human-caused disturbances, such as wildland fires and construction activities, have contributed to a rapid increase in the spread of non-native plants. A number of these species aggressively invade and displace the native plant communities, resulting in impacts on the park's resources. Non-native plants can bring about significant changes in park ecosystems by altering the native plant communities and the processes that support them. Some non-native species may cause an increase in the fire frequency of an area or increase the available nitrogen in the soil that may allow more non-native plants to become established. Many non-native species, such as yellow star thistle (Centaurea solstitialis), are able to produce a long tap root that allows them to out-compete the native plants for available water.[81] Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare), common mullein (Verbascum thapsus), and Klamath weed (Hypericum perforatum) have been identified as noxious pests in Yosemite since the 1940s. Additional species that have been recognized more recently as aggressive and requiring control are yellow star thistle (Centaurea solstitialis), sweet clover (Melilot spp.), Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus), cut-leaved blackberry (Rubus laciniatus) and large periwinkle (Vinca major).[81] Increasing ozone pollution is causing tissue damage to the massive giant sequoia trees in the park, making them more vulnerable to insect infestation and disease. Since the cones of these trees require fire-touched soil to germinate, historic fire suppression has reduced these trees' ability to reproduce. The current policy of setting prescribed fires is expected to help the germination issue. Forest fires seasonally clear the park of dead vegetation, making way for new growth.[82] These fires damage the income generated by tourism. The Rim Fire in 2013 destroyed nearly $2 billion in assets and revenue, though natural woodland assets are renewable, and closed off much of the park to tourists.[83] This fire was the third largest on record, and burned nearly 500 acres of wild habitat.[83] During late July and early August, 2018, sections of the park, including the Valley, were temporarily closed due to the Ferguson Fire at its western boundary.[84] The closing was the largest in almost thirty years at the park. Yosemite Valley is open year-round and numerous activities are available through the National Park Service, Yosemite Conservancy, and Aramark at Yosemite, including nature walks, photography and art classes, stargazing programs, tours, bike rentals, rafting, mule and horseback rides, and rock climbing classes. Many people enjoy short walks and longer hikes to waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, or walks among giant sequoias in the Mariposa, Tuolumne, or Merced Groves. Others like to drive or take a tour bus to Glacier Point (summer–fall) to see views of Yosemite Valley and the high country, or drive along the scenic Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows (May–October) and go for a walk or hike. Most park visitors stay just for the day, and visit only those locations within Yosemite Valley that are easily accessible by automobile. There is a US$25–30 per automobile user fee to enter the park, depending on the season.[86] Traffic congestion in the valley is a serious problem during peak season, in summer. A free shuttle bus system operates year-round in the valley, and park rangers encourage people to use this system since parking within the valley during the summer is often nearly impossible to find.[87] Transit options are available from Fresno and Merced.[88] In addition to exploring the natural features of the park, visitors can also learn about the natural and cultural history of Yosemite Valley at a number of facilities in the valley: the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, the adjoining Yosemite Museum, and the Nature Center at Happy Isles. There are also two National Historic Landmarks: the Sierra Club's LeConte Memorial Lodge (Yosemite's first public visitor center), and the Ahwahnee Hotel. Camp 4 was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.[89] In the winter, it is snowed in, but the area of Tuolumne Meadows has a great deal of hiking, rock climbing, and mountain climbing; see also the highest mountains of Yosemite National Park. Over 800 miles (1,300 km) of trails are available to hikers[7]—everything from an easy stroll to a challenging mountain hike, or an overnight backpack trip. One of the most popular trails leads to the summit of Half Dome and requires an advance permit from Memorial Day weekend in late May, to Columbus Day in early October.[90] A maximum of 300 hikers, selected by lottery, are permitted to advance beyond the base of the subdome each day, including 225 day hikers and 75 backpackers.[91] The park can be divided into five sections for the day-user—Yosemite Valley, Wawona/Mariposa Grove/Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows, Hetch Hetchy, and Crane Flat/White Wolf.[92] Numerous books describe park trails, and free information is available from the National Park Service in Yosemite. Park rangers encourage visitors to experience portions of the park in addition to Yosemite Valley. Between late spring and early fall, much of the park can be accessed for multiple-day backpacking trips. All overnight trips into the back country require a wilderness permit[93] and most require approved bear-resistant food storage. While some locations in Yosemite require hiking, other locations can be reached via automobile transportation. Driving locations also allow guests to observe the night sky in locations other than their campsite or lodge. All of the roads in Yosemite are scenic, but the most famous is the Tioga Road, typically open from late May or early June through November.[95] As an alternative to driving, bicycles are allowed on the roads. However, bicycles are allowed off-road on only 12 miles (19 km) of paved trails in Yosemite Valley itself; mountain biking is not allowed. Rock climbing is an important part of Yosemite.[97] In particular Yosemite Valley, which is surrounded by famous summits like Half Dome and El Capitan. Camp 4, a walk-in campground in the Valley, was instrumental in the development of rock climbing as a sport, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[98] Climbers can generally be spotted in the snow-free months on anything from ten-foot-high (3 m) boulders to the 3,300-foot (1.0 km) face of El Capitan. Classes on rock climbing are offered by numerous groups. Yosemite Valley is open all year, although some roads within the park close in winter. Downhill skiing is available at the Badger Pass Ski Area—the oldest downhill skiing area in California, offering downhill skiing from mid-December through early April.[99] Much of the park is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with several backcountry ski huts open for use.[100][101] Wilderness permits are required for backcountry overnight ski trips.[93] The Bracebridge dinner is an annual holiday event, held since 1927 at the Ahwahnee Hotel, inspired by Washington Irving's descriptions of Squire Bracebridge and English Christmas traditions of the 18th century in his Sketch Book. Between 1929 and 1973, the show was organized by Ansel Adams.[102] Other Bicycle rentals are available in Yosemite Valley spring through fall. Over 12 miles (19 km) of paved bike paths are available in Yosemite Valley. In addition, bicyclists can ride on regular roads. Helmets are required by law for children under 18 years of age. Off-trail riding and mountain biking are not permitted in Yosemite National Park.[103] Water activities are plentiful during warmer months. Rafting can be done through the Yosemite Valley on the Merced River. There are also swimming pools available at Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village. In 2010, Yosemite National Park was honored with its own quarter under the America the Beautiful Quarters program.[104] In popular culture The opening scenes of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) were filmed in Yosemite National Park. Films such as The Last of the Mohicans (1920) and Maverick (1994) have also been shot here.[105] The Academy Award-winning 2018 documentary Free Solo was filmed in Yosemite California is a state in the Western United States. California borders Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. With over 39.5 million residents across a total area of approximately 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), it is the most populous and the third-largest U.S. state by area. It is also the most populated subnational entity in North America and the 34th most populous in the world. The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions respectively, with the former having more than 18.7 million residents and the latter having over 9.6 million.[13] Sacramento is the state's capital, while Los Angeles is the most populous city in the state and the second most populous city in the country (after New York City). Los Angeles County is the country's most populous, while San Bernardino County is the largest county by area in the country. San Francisco, which is both a city and a county, is the second most densely populated major city in the country (after New York City) and the fifth most densely populated county in the country, behind four of New York City's five boroughs. The economy of California, with a gross state product of $3.2 trillion as of 2019, is the largest sub-national economy in the world.[14] If it were a country, it would be the 37th most populous country and the fifth largest economy as of 2020.[15] The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.0 trillion and $0.5 trillion respectively as of 2020), after the New York metropolitan area ($1.8 trillion).[16] The San Francisco Bay Area Combined Statistical Area had the nation's highest gross domestic product per capita ($106,757) among large primary statistical areas in 2018,[17] and is home to five of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization[18] and four of the world's ten richest people.[19] Prior to European colonization, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America and contained the highest Native American population density north of what is now Mexico. European exploration in the 16th and 17th centuries led to the colonization of California by the Spanish Empire. In 1804, it was included in Alta California province within the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821, following its successful war for independence, but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. The western portion of Alta California was then organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850, following the Compromise of 1850. The California Gold Rush started in 1848 and led to dramatic social and demographic changes, including large-scale immigration into California, a worldwide economic boom, and the California genocide of indigenous people. Notable contributions to popular culture, for example in entertainment and sports, have their origins in California. The state also has made noteworthy contributions in the fields of communication, information, innovation, environmentalism, economics, and politics.[20][21][22] It is the home of Hollywood, the oldest and largest film industry in the world, which has had a profound effect on global entertainment. It is considered the origin of the hippie counterculture, beach and car culture,[23] and the personal computer,[24] among other innovations.[25][26] The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are widely seen as centers of the global technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California's economy is very diverse: 58% of it is based on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific, and technical business services.[27] Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy,[27] California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state.[28][29][30] California's ports and harbors handle about a third of all U.S. imports, most originating in Pacific Rim international trade. The state's extremely diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast and metropolitan areas in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east, and from the redwood and Douglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well known for its warm Mediterranean climate and monsoon seasonal weather, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. All these factors lead to an enormous demand for water. Over time, droughts and wildfires have increased in frequency and become less seasonal and more year-round, further straining California's water security.[31][32] Main articles: Etymology of California and Island of California The Spaniards gave the name Las Californias to the peninsula of Baja California and to Alta California, the region that became the present-day state of California. The name likely derived from the mythical island of California in the fictional story of Queen Calafia, as recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo.[33] This work was the fifth in a popular Spanish chivalric romance series that began with Amadís de Gaula.[34][35][36] Queen Calafia's kingdom was said to be a remote land rich in gold and pearls, inhabited by beautiful black women who wore gold armor and lived like Amazons, as well as griffins and other strange beasts.[33][37][38] In the fictional paradise, the ruler Queen Calafia fought alongside Muslims and her name may have been chosen to echo the title of a Muslim leader, the Caliph. It is possible the name California was meant to imply the island was a Caliphate.[33][39] Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women without a single man among them, and they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with strong passionate hearts and great virtue. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks. — Chapter CLVII of The Adventures of Esplandián[40] Shortened forms of the state's name include CA, Cal, Cali, Calif, Califas, and US-CA. History Main article: History of California Further information: History of California before 1900 A map of California tribal groups and languages at the time of European contact First inhabitants Main article: Indigenous peoples of California Settled by successive waves of arrivals during at least the last 13,000 years,[41] California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America.[42] Various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000.[43] The indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct ethnic groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups also were diverse in their political organization with bands, tribes, villages, and on the resource-rich coasts, large chiefdoms, such as the Chumash, Pomo and Salinan. Trade, intermarriage and military alliances fostered many social and economic relationships among the diverse groups. Spanish rule Further information: The Californias § History The coat of arms granted to the Californias by Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza Mission San Diego de Alcalá drawn as it was in 1848. Established in 1769, it was the first of the California Missions. The first Europeans to explore the California coast were the members of a Spanish sailing expedition led by Portuguese captain Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo; they entered San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542, and reached at least as far north as San Miguel Island.[44] Privateer and explorer Francis Drake explored and claimed an undefined portion of the California coast in 1579, landing north of the future city of San Francisco.[45] The first Asians to set foot on what would be the United States occurred in 1587, when Filipino sailors arrived in Spanish ships at Morro Bay.[46][47][note 1] Sebastián Vizcaíno explored and mapped the coast of California in 1602 for New Spain, putting ashore in Monterey.[50] Despite the on-the-ground explorations of California in the 16th century, Rodríguez's idea of California as an island persisted. Such depictions appeared on many European maps well into the 18th century.[51] After the Portolà expedition of 1769–70, Spanish missionaries led by Junipero Serra began setting up 21 California Missions on or near the coast of Alta (Upper) California, beginning in San Diego. During the same period, Spanish military forces built several forts (presidios) and three small towns (pueblos). The San Francisco Mission grew into the city of San Francisco, and two of the pueblos grew into the cities of Los Angeles and San Jose. Several other smaller cities and towns also sprang up surrounding the various Spanish missions and pueblos, which remain to this day. During this same period, sailors from the Russian Empire explored along the California coast and in 1812 established a trading post at Fort Ross.[52] Russia's early 19th-century coastal settlements in California were positioned just north of the northernmost edge of the area of Spanish settlement in San Francisco Bay, and were the southernmost Russian settlements in North America. The Russian settlements associated with Fort Ross were spread from Point Arena to Tomales Bay.[53] Mexican rule Map showing Alta California in 1838, when it was a sparsely populated Mexican province[54] In 1821, the Mexican War of Independence gave Mexico (including California) independence from Spain. For the next 25 years, Alta California remained as a remote, sparsely populated, northwestern administrative district of the newly independent country of Mexico. The missions, which controlled most of the best land in the state, were secularized by 1834 and became the property of the Mexican government.[55] The governor granted many square leagues of land to others with political influence. These huge ranchos or cattle ranches emerged as the dominant institutions of Mexican California. The ranchos developed under ownership by Californios (Hispanics native of California) who traded cowhides and tallow with Boston merchants. Beef did not become a commodity until the 1849 California Gold Rush. From the 1820s, trappers and settlers from the United States and the future Canada arrived in Northern California. These new arrivals used the Siskiyou Trail, California Trail, Oregon Trail and Old Spanish Trail to cross the rugged mountains and harsh deserts in and surrounding California. The flag used by Juan Bautista Alvarado's 1836 movement for Californian independence. The early government of the newly independent Mexico was highly unstable, and in a reflection of this, from 1831 onwards, California also experienced a series of armed disputes, both internal and with the central Mexican government.[56] During this tumultuous political period Juan Bautista Alvarado was able to secure the governorship during 1836–1842.[57] The military action which first brought Alvarado to power had momentarily declared California to be an independent state, and had been aided by Anglo-American residents of California,[58] including Isaac Graham.[59] In 1840, one hundred of those residents who did not have passports were arrested, leading to the Graham Affair, which was resolved in part with the intercession of Royal Navy officials.[58] The Russians from Alaska established their largest settlement in California, Fort Ross, in 1812. One of the largest ranchers in California was John Marsh. After failing to obtain justice against squatters on his land from the Mexican courts, he determined that California should become part of the United States. Marsh conducted a letter-writing campaign espousing the California climate, the soil, and other reasons to settle there, as well as the best route to follow, which became known as "Marsh's route". His letters were read, reread, passed around, and printed in newspapers throughout the country, and started the first wagon trains rolling to California.[60] He invited immigrants to stay on his ranch until they could get settled, and assisted in their obtaining passports.[61] After ushering in the period of organized emigration to California, Marsh became involved in a military battle between the much-hated Mexican general, Manuel Micheltorena and the California governor he had replaced, Juan Bautista Alvarado. The armies of each met at the Battle of Providencia near Los Angeles. Marsh had been forced against his will to join Micheltorena's army. Ignoring his superiors, during the battle, he signaled the other side for a parley. There were many settlers from the United States fighting on both sides. He convinced these men that they had no reason to be fighting each other. As a result of Marsh's actions, they abandoned the fight, Micheltorena was defeated, and California-born Pio Pico was returned to the governorship. This paved the way to California's ultimate acquisition by the United States.[62][63][64][65][66] California Republic and conquest Main articles: California Republic and Conquest of California See also: Mexican Cession The Bear Flag of the California Republic was first raised in Sonoma in 1846 during the Bear Flag Revolt. In 1846, a group of American settlers in and around Sonoma rebelled against Mexican rule during the Bear Flag Revolt. Afterwards, rebels raised the Bear Flag (featuring a bear, a star, a red stripe and the words "California Republic") at Sonoma. The Republic's only president was William B. Ide,[67] who played a pivotal role during the Bear Flag Revolt. This revolt by American settlers served as a prelude to the later American military invasion of California and was closely coordinated with nearby American military commanders. The California Republic was short-lived;[68] the same year marked the outbreak of the Mexican–American War (1846–48).[69] When Commodore John D. Sloat of the United States Navy sailed into Monterey Bay and began the military occupation of California by the United States, Northern California capitulated in less than a month to the United States forces.[70] After a series of defensive battles in Southern California, the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed by the Californios on January 13, 1847, securing American control in California.[71] Early American period Miners during the California Gold Rush California being admitted to the Union under the Compromise of 1850 Merchant ships at San Francisco harbor c. 1850–51 Guidon of the California 100 Company (Company A) during the Civil War Depiction of the 1869 completion of the first transcontinental railway. The Last Spike (1881) by Thomas Hill. Following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (February 2, 1848) that ended the war, the westernmost portion of the annexed Mexican territory of Alta California soon became the American state of California, and the remainder of the old territory was then subdivided into the new American Territories of Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah. The even more lightly populated and arid lower region of old Baja California remained as a part of Mexico. In 1846, the total settler population of the western part of the old Alta California had been estimated to be no more than 8,000, plus about 100,000 Native Americans, down from about 300,000 before Hispanic settlement in 1769.[72] In 1848, only one week before the official American annexation of the area, gold was discovered in California, this being an event which was to forever alter both the state's demographics and its finances. Soon afterward, a massive influx of immigration into the area resulted, as prospectors and miners arrived by the thousands. The population burgeoned with United States citizens, Europeans, Chinese and other immigrants during the great California Gold Rush. By the time of California's application for statehood in 1850, the settler population of California had multiplied to 100,000. By 1854, more than 300,000 settlers had come.[73] Between 1847 and 1870, the population of San Francisco increased from 500 to 150,000.[74] California was suddenly no longer a sparsely populated backwater, but seemingly overnight it had grown into a major population center. The seat of government for California under Spanish and later Mexican rule had been located in Monterey from 1777 until 1845.[55] Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of Alta California, had briefly moved the capital to Los Angeles in 1845. The United States consulate had also been located in Monterey, under consul Thomas O. Larkin. In 1849, a state Constitutional Convention was first held in Monterey. Among the first tasks of the convention was a decision on a location for the new state capital. The first full legislative sessions were held in San Jose (1850–1851). Subsequent locations included Vallejo (1852–1853), and nearby Benicia (1853–1854); these locations eventually proved to be inadequate as well. The capital has been located in Sacramento since 1854[75] with only a short break in 1862 when legislative sessions were held in San Francisco due to flooding in Sacramento. Once the state's Constitutional Convention had finalized its state constitution, it applied to the U.S. Congress for admission to statehood. On September 9, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850, California became a free state and September 9 a state holiday. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), California sent gold shipments eastwards to Washington in support of the Union.[76] However, due to the existence of a large contingent of pro-South sympathizers within the state, the state was not able to muster any full military regiments to send eastwards to officially serve in the Union war effort. Still, several smaller military units within the Union army were unofficially associated with the state of California, such as the "California 100 Company", due to a majority of their members being from California. At the time of California's admission into the Union, travel between California and the rest of the continental United States had been a time-consuming and dangerous feat. Nineteen years later, and seven years after it was greenlighted by President Lincoln, the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869. California was then reachable from the eastern States in a week's time. Much of the state was extremely well suited to fruit cultivation and agriculture in general. Vast expanses of wheat, other cereal crops, vegetable crops, cotton, and nut and fruit trees were grown (including oranges in Southern California), and the foundation was laid for the state's prodigious agricultural production in the Central Valley and elsewhere. In the nineteenth century, a large number of migrants from China traveled to the state as part of the Gold Rush or to seek work.[77] Even though the Chinese proved indispensable in building the transcontinental railroad from California to Utah, perceived job competition with the Chinese led to anti-Chinese riots in the state, and eventually the US ended migration from China partially as a response to pressure from California with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.[78] Indigenous peoples Yokayo, a village of Pomo people in Ukiah (Mendocino County) c. 1916 Under earlier Spanish and Mexican rule, California's original native population had precipitously declined, above all, from Eurasian diseases to which the indigenous people of California had not yet developed a natural immunity.[79] Under its new American administration, California's harsh governmental policies towards its own indigenous people did not improve. As in other American states, many of the native inhabitants were soon forcibly removed from their lands by incoming American settlers such as miners, ranchers, and farmers. Although California had entered the American union as a free state, the "loitering or orphaned Indians" were de facto enslaved by their new Anglo-American masters under the 1853 Act for the Government and Protection of Indians.[80] There were also massacres in which hundreds of indigenous people were killed. Between 1850 and 1860, the California state government paid around 1.5 million dollars (some 250,000 of which was reimbursed by the federal government)[81] to hire militias whose purpose was to protect settlers from the indigenous populations. In later decades, the native population was placed in reservations and rancherias, which were often small and isolated and without enough natural resources or funding from the government to sustain the populations living on them.[82] As a result, the rise of California was a calamity for the native inhabitants. Several scholars and Native American activists, including Benjamin Madley and Ed Castillo, have described the actions of the California government as a genocide.[82][83]



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