The Rich History of California
The Native American has been living in the area of California for up to 15,000 years. There were numerous tribes who inhabited this area, with possibly as many as up to 700,000 living here in the pre European period. The first European setting foot on Californian soil was the Portuguese navigator Joao Rodrigues Cabrilho on 28th September, 1542. He sailed for the Spanish Crown and claimed the area for Spain.
In 1579, Francis Drake then sailed along the coastline of California and subsequently claimed land a bit north of Cabrilho’s landing site. Claiming it for England, he called the area Nova Albion. In 1602, the Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino sailed around the coast from San Diego to Monterey Bay. The first church service was held by him in California in San Diego Bay. The British explorer Captain James Cook then mapped the coastline of California as well as the western coastline of North America as far as the Bering Strait in 1778.
JF de Galaup then led some artists and scientists who compiled accounts of the people, land and mission system of California. Scientific missions, whalers and traders followed over the next few decades. The first permanent settlement of Europeans in California (‘Alta California’) was established back in 1769. Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821.
The California Republic was established at the start of the Mexican American War in 1846. However, this was short-lived as Commodore John Sloat of the US Navy claimed California for the US after sailing into Monterey Bay. The California Gold Rush started when gold was found near Sacramento in 1848. The US military governed California from 1847 until 1849. Thereafter, a civilian government was established.
California became part of the US in 1850 and slavery was subsequently banned. In 1854 the state’s capital was established at Sacramento. The Transcontinental Railroad was established in 1869 which linked California to other parts of the US. Before the railroad, travel usually involved hazardous sea voyages that took months to complete.
During the American Civil War, California sent gold east, recruited or funded a few combat units, maintained many fortifications, and sent troops east. Some of these troops became famous. In 1861, Republican supporters of Abraham Lincoln took control of California. They obtained authorization for building the Central Pacific as part of the trans-continental railroad.
California was primarily settled by Southern and Midwestern farmers, businessmen and miners. Powerful businessmen played significant roles in the politics if California through their control of the Republican Party, finance, shipping and mines.
Through the years, California offered much to the nation. The mild climate of California allowed for farming throughout the year and vegetables and fruits could grow in California that were not able to be grown in other places. Chinese immigrants grew vegetables and fruits because these were important in their diet. These Chinese immigrants eventually developed a town within the Central Valley that is still here today, together with their descendants.
The railroads eventually started carrying Californian produce to the eastern USA, and ice cars were used for transporting the produce from California. Agriculture generated great wealth within the state, and is still a prime industry today.
The west coast has many pretty towns with terrific views of the Pacific Ocean. One such town is Mendocino California. It is an intimate community of just 824 residents, counted in the 2000 census. The surrounding Mendocino County has lovely scenery and the area is a popular tourist destination. San Francisco citizens like to make a weekend retreat here.
The town is well known for its artist colony and it's also a frequent location for movies and television. There have been over sixty movies shot here, including East of Eden, Summer of '42, Dying Young, Pontiac Moon and Karate Kid III. However, the area is most associated with the television series, Murder She Wrote. Many exterior scenes were filmed in the County and the town itself featured in some episodes.
A real home substituted for the home of Jessica Fletcher, played by Angela Lansbury, which now operates as holiday accommodation. The show is remembered fondly by the townspeople as it brought more tourist money in and several residents were hired as extras on the set.
Such is the interest in movies in the town; the inaugural Mendocino California Film Festival took place in May 2006. It was very successful and a second one is planned for 2007. The festival showcased independent film with categories that included features, short film and documentaries. Special guests were invited, including director and actor Sydney Pollack.
The town has come a long way from its beginnings as a logging town in 1850. The successful economy started to fade out just before America's entry into World War II. Fortunately, artists started to come to the area and the prospects for Mendocino California were revived.
The small village of Miasa in the Nagano district of Japan is the sister city for Mendocino California. This has proved very fruitful and there is a thriving student exchange program between the two communities.
Enthusiasts for wildlife and nature are very happy living here. The Mendocino Woodlands State Park is a great place to explore. There are camping grounds with comfortable cabins amongst the mighty redwood trees. There's the opportunity to see otters, beavers, deer and foxes. Many groups book the facilities in the park for training and educational purposes.
A great deal of enterprise and imagination has gone into the town and it has found a niche for itself in the world of movies and art, gaining a reputation as a worthwhile place to visit. It will never be a boom metropolis and that's just the way the residents like it.
Best camping in California
Camping in the United States is a popular form of outdoor recreation. It can vary from ‘wilderness roughing’ with just a tent and a few cooking utensils to using modern accommodations such as mobile homes and campers. Outdoor activities such as fishing will often be connected with a camping trip. The National Park Service as well as other government bodies designate the campgrounds in America and entail fees if the campgrounds are owned privately. There are an overwhelming number of people that enjoy camping each year, especially during the summer, and a lot of campgrounds encourage potential visitors to make their reservations well in advance. Here is my personal list of the best camping in California:
Camp Edison is located on the banks of the Shaver Lake about fifty miles from Fresno in California. This campground is privately owned and offers 252 campsites. Each of the campsites comes with electricity, limited high speed internet access and free cable television. Most of the campsites will accommodate popup campers, tents, large RVs and camp trailers. Amenities include swimming, boat ramp, basketball, volleyball, laundry facilities, fish cleaning stations and horseshoes. Reservations are a requisite.
Jedediah Smith Campground
The Jedediah Smith Campground is located within the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and is about nine miles eastwards of Crescent City in California. The National Park Service runs the campground. The sites of the campground are amongst ancient California Redwood trees alongside the California Smith River. Amenities and recreation include swimming, picnic area, showers, restrooms, nature trails, nature center, hiking trails, fishing and boat launch. Sites are able to accommodate trailers of up to 31 ft and RVs of up to 36 ft.
Russian Gulch Campground
The Russian Gulch campground is located within the Russian Gulch State Park on the Mendocino coastline. Visitors can enjoy skin diving, a 36 ft high waterfall, swimming, exploring tide pools, and the beach. Recreation at the campground also includes fishing, boating and hiking. Amenities include showers, restrooms and picnic tables. Available campsites comprise sites for a trailer of up to 24 ft, tent sites, and group camping area. The National Park Service manages the campsite.
DL Bliss Campground
The DL Bliss Campground is found in DL Bliss State Park at Lake Tahoe, seventeen miles southwards of Tahoe City. The campground is operated by The National Park Service. The campground is favored for the hiking trails such as the Balancing Rock Nature Trail and the Lighthouse Trail. Accommodations and recreation include swimming, showers, restrooms, picnic area, hiking, fishing, dump station and boating. The campground sites can accommodate only RVs and trailers that are 18 ft or less.
Cold Springs Campground
Cold Springs Campground can be found in Sequoia National Park. It is open throughout the year. Campers can stay nearby the Kaweah River if they wish to. During wintertime, snow activities like snowshoeing and skiing can both be enjoyed. Rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking and backpacking are other activities found here. Campers can also participate in a variety of ranger led programs. There are forty tent camping sites which start at $12 each night and work on a first come and first serve basis. Campsites are equipped with a metal food-storage bear box, fire ring plus grill, and picnic table.