Background - Timeline

  • < A.D. 1542 (Pre Colonial Period)
    • < 12000 B.C. – Indians migrating across the Bering ice bridge settle in northern California.
    • 12,000-7000 B.C. – Costanoans arrive in San Francisco, establish peaceful hunter gatherer societies.
    • 2000 B.C. – A.D. 1000 – Rumsen bands arrive in Bay Area, commence worship of god of the whirlpool; ongoing internecine warfare results; Rumsen retreat or vanish, but are never wiped out.
  • A.D. 1542 – 1775 (Pre-Mission Period)
    • A.D. 1542 – Cabrillo maps California coastline for Spain, fails to spot Golden Gate.
    • A.D. 1579
      • June 17 – Sir Francis Drake lands at Drake’s Bay (named for him in 1792 by George Vancouver), claims “New Albion” for England.
    • A.D. 1775
      • August 5 – Lt. Juan Manuel de Ayala sails into San Francisco Bay.
  • A.D. 1776 – 1821 (Mission Period) – Small detachment of Franciscan missionaries and Spanish soldiers establish themselves at San Francisco, San Rafael, and San Jose and set about the conversion of the Costanoan Indians. Indians are driven from tribal to plantation lifestyle and forcibly converted to Christianity. Soldiers pastured out on sizable land grants.
    • 1776 – San Francisco is born as an inadequately defended Catholic concentration camp.
      • March 29 (Friday of Sorrows) – De Anza expedition makes camp on San Francisco peninsula.
      • June 29 (Feast Day of Saints Peter & Paul) – Father Palou celebrates first mass at Laguna de Nuestra Seiiora de Los Dolores; official founding of San Francisco.
      • September 17 – Founding of the Presidio
      • October 9 – Founding of Mision San Francisco de Asis, Mission Dolores
    • 1784
      • August 28 – Founder of mission system Father Junipero Serra, 71, dies at Mision San Carlos.
    • 1792
      • November 14 – Capt. George Vancouver sails into San Francisco Bay, and surveys defenses.
  • A.D. 1821 – 1846 (Rancho Period)
    • 1821 – Don Augustin de lturbide proclaims himself Emperor Augustin I of Mexico.
    • 1834
      • August 9 – California missions secularized; Franciscans, and Indians expelled.
    • 1835 – Richard Henry Dana visits on the brig Pilgrim.
    • 1838
      • June – July – Series of earthquakes virtually destroys Presidio and Monterey
    • 1840 – Monterey capital of Aka California under Gov. Alvarado.
  • A.D. 1846 – 1880 (Bonanza Age) – California joins the US.; San Francisco becomes the hub of the Gold Rush and immigration from Asia and Europe; cycle of boom and bust economy spawns millionaires, laissez-faire culture. During frequent brief depressive periods, workers rail against Chinese immigration.
    • 1846 – California joins US. after brief conflict with Mexico.
      • May 23 – United States declares war on Mexico.
      • June 14 – July 19 – William B. Ide leads Republic of California’s short-lived Bear Flag Rebellion for an autonomous California.
      • July 9 – Capt. J.B. Montgomery (USS Portsmouth) bloodlessly takes San Francisco, raises Stars & Stripes over Portsmouth Square.
      • July 31 – Sam Brannan’s Mormon colony of 230 arrives aboard Brooklyn from Sandwich Islands.
    • 1847
      • January 9 – First issue of California Star, San Francisco’s first newspaper.
      • January 13 – Mexican-American War ends.
      • January 30 – Yerba Buena changes name to San Francisco.
    • 1848
      • January 24 – Gold discovered at Sutter’s millrace in Coloma.
      • February 2 – First boatload of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco.
      • April 3 – First U.S. public school opens in San Francisco.
      • November 9 – First post office at Clay and Pike
    • 1849
      • July 15 – 230 volunteer policemen deputized.
      • July 28 – First clipper ship, Memnon, 120 days out of New York, arrives in San Francisco.
      • December 24 – Fire destroys downtown
    • 1850 – San Francisco becomes a bit more civilized, with government, a new city hall, and seven newspapers.
      • January 22 – Alta California, California’s first daily newspaper.
      • February 18 – Bay Area counties defined.
      • April 1 – San Francisco County government established.
      • April 15 – City Charter enacted.
      • May 4 – Fire levels site of future Chinatown.
      • June 14 – Fire ravages Union Square district; volunteer fire companies respond.
      • September – First city directory published.
      • September 9 – California becomes 31st state in the Union.
      • September 17 – Fire in Chinatown area again.
      • November 6 – Alcatraz, Angel, Goat Islands and Pt. San Jose reserved for military use
    • 1851 – First Committee of Vigilance organizes, clashes with the Hounds and Sydney Ducks.
      • May 4 – Fire wipes out entire city.
    • 1852
      • April 19 – Incorporation of California Historical Society.
      • July 23 – First interment at National Cemetery, Presidio.
      • December 10 – Murderer Jose Forner hanged on Russian Hill, San Francisco’s first legal execution.
    • 1853 – California Academy of Sciences established.
    • 1854
      • October 1 – Telegraph line opens between San Francisco and San Jose.
      • November 22 – Earth tremor; waterline of Lake Merced sinks 30 feet.
    • 1856 – Second Committee of Vigilance organizes, tries and lynches James P. Casey and Charles Cora.
    • 1857 – First Mechanics Pavilion at Montgomery and Post.
    • 1859 – Richest silver deposits in history discovered in western Nevada, starts renewed rush of prospectors and vice.
    • 1860
      • April 14 – First Pony Express rider arrives in San Francisco from St. Joseph, Missouri.
      • August 16 – 60 acres of Lone Mountain purchased by Archbishop Alemany for Calvary Cemetery.
    • 1861 – Mechanic’s League forms to eradicate convict labor. Completion of overland telegraph.
    • 1862 – California sides with Union in Civil War, pledges units, invades Texas.
    • 1863 – Central Pacific Railroad begun.
    • 1865 – California ratifies 13th Amendment.
      • April 24 – Fire alarm system implemented.
      • October 8 – Earthquake incurs moderate damages.
    • 1867 – Anti-Chinese hysteria reaches new heights. Coolie laborers driven away from work; rioters destroy Chinatown businesses, agitate for exclusionary immigration laws.
    • 1868 – Opening of Young Men’s Christian Association Building.
    • 1869
      • May 10 – Central and Union Pacific Railroads linked at Promontory Point, Utah. Overland immigration soars.
    • 1870 – Golden Gate Park established.
    • 1872 – Telegraph lines connecting San Francisco with Europe, Asia, and Australia open. First Chinese Exclusion Act passed (renewed every ten years until 1924); forbids men from becoming citizens; forbids immigration of laborers.
    • 1873
      • May 28 – Six Companies send word to Hong Kong to stop Chinese emigration to U.S.
      • Aug. 2 – Trial run of first cable car.
    • 1874
      • November 5 – New U.S. Mint formally opens
    • 1875
      • October 14 – Grand opening of Palace Hotel celebrated with banquet for Gen. Phillip Sheridan.
    • 1877 – Communist ‘Workingmen’s Party of California” holds sandlot rallies, riots against Chinese workers.
    • 1878 – San Francisco’s first telephone book, issued by the American Speaking Telephone Co. of San Francisco & Butchertown.
      • *January 3 – 500 unemployed laborers march on City Hall demanding work.
    • 1879
      • *June 7: Public library opens at Bush between Kearny and Dupont.
  • 1880 – 1906 (Gilded Age) – Fortified against fires by stone and brick buildings, San Francisco reaps benefits of railroad connection with Eastern states, consolidates law and order within city limits.
    • 1880
      • January 8 – Emperor Norton dies.
      • July 23 – Engineers begin construction of Lick Observatory.
    • 1883 – Highwayman & failed poet “Black Bart” arrested in San Francisco.
    • 1886
      • February 11 – Plasterer, plumber, gas fitter, and painter unions unify to form , Building Trades Council.
      • May 11 – 10,000 union workers in city’s , ~ largest labor parade.
    • 1887
      • February 5 – Unprecedented snowfall blankets San Francisco.
      • May 16 – Sara Bernhardt appears at Baldwin Theater.
    • 1891 – Hearst’s yellow Examiner drives Alta California out of business; Stanford U. charter approved.
      • January 30 – King Kalakaua of Hawaii dies at the Palace Hotel.
      • December 5 – Local Salvation Army established in San Francisco.
    • 1892
      • March 19 – First “Big Game“ sports contest between Stanford and the University of California.
      • May 1 – U.S. Quarantine Station opens on Angel Island.
    • 1893 – Big Four railroad baron and former California governor Leland Stanford dies.
    • 1894
      • January 27 – July 4 – Midwinter Fair in Golden Gate Park.
    • 1895
      • January 4 – Board of Supelvisors moves to the new City Hall.
      • July 1 – Alcatraz becomes Army Disciplinary Barracks.
    • 1896
      • March 14 – Sutro Baths opens.
      • July 9 – Ferry Building construction begun.
    • 1898
      • January 1 – Lightship placed at entrance (to bay, replaces whistling buoy.
      • August 8 – Former mining engineer, mayor, philanthropist Adolph Sutro dies.
  • Background - Timeline

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