United States Seaports

California: Monterey

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: ° Alameda: ° Berkeley ° Oakland
Contra Costa County: ° Crockett, ° Martinez ° Port Costa
Marin County: ° Point Reyes, ° San Rafael (China Camp), ° Sausalito, ° Tiburon
° Mendocino ° Sacramento
San Francisco (City and County)
Solano: ° Benicia (St. Paul's Church), ° VallejoMare Island
Sonoma: ° Petaluma ° Fort Ross
CENTRAL & SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: ° Long Beach ° Los Angeles ° Monterey County ° San Diego County ° Santa Barbara ° Santa Monica ° The Channel Islands

Founded in 1770, when Spanish soldiers claimed the land for the king of Spain, Monterey served as the capital of California for 75 years until shortly before California became a state in 1850.

In 1822, the Mexican government opened Monterey to foreign trade.

Colton arrived in Monterey on July 15, 1846 aboard the Congress, one of Commodore Sloat's vessels. Sloat appointed him alcalde, equivalent to mayor and judge combined. He remained in Monterey until 1849, when he returned to his home in Philadelphia.

Semple arrived at Sutter's Fort in December of 1845, and shortly thereafter became a leading figure in the Bear Flag movement. On June 14, 1846, following the capture of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, the Bear Flag Republic was declared. In July and August of that year Semple served with Captain Daingerfield Fauntleroy's company of volunteer dragoons assigned to keep order in the Monterey district. On August 15, he requested permission to leave the company -- he and Colton had formulated plans to start a newspaper. California's first newspaper, The Californian, started in Monterey in 1846.

Colton served as the city's first American alcalde a combination of mayor, judge and tax collector. When he impaneled the first American jury on the West Coast, prior to statehood, it was one-third Mexican, one-third Californian and one-third American.

September 5, 1846, Californian


Of Occupation Monterey, Sept. 4, 1846

All officers and soldiers, late of General Jose Castro's Army, new in Monterey and its vicinity, are hereby required to present themselves immediately and give their parole; in default of which, they will be dealt with according to the usages of war. Also, all who have been paroled, are requested to present themselves aad give an additional pledge.

WM. MERVINE, Com'dg U. S Forces in Monterey.
4 2t

Occupacies Monterey, Septiembre 4 de 1846.

Todos los oficiales y soldados que han pertenecido ultimamente al egercite del General D Jose Castro, y que se ensuchsten en la actualidad en Monterey o en su vecindad, se presentarian immediamente para para dar su palabra de honor, so penn de ser tratados segun las usanzas de la guerra. so serviran presenttr tedos lol demas que hayan dado ya sa palabra, parnotergar otro seguiridad adicional.

Comanandante de las Fuerzas de los Estados Unidos en Monterey
4 2t

California's First Constitutional Convention, held in Monterey in 1849, was conducted in Spanish and in English. 

In 1855 and 1856, reports indicate that the Port of Monterey had more business than any other California port outside of San Francisco. Typical imports were hard liquor, wine, tobacco, coffee and tea, finished leather goods, tools such as spades and axes, food products (that could not be produced locally), fabrics, clothing, and luxury items such as perfume, feather fans, jewelry, furniture and books. 

Exports included large shipments of lumber (Monterey Pine), potatoes, pack saddles, onions, cork, brandy and beef products. One Honore Escolle produced pottery behind his bakery. Advertisements for his pottery were commonplace in local papers. The Monterey Gazette reported that in 1869, Escolle shipped over $2,000 worth of pottery by schooner.

Monterey was also a regular stop for intercoastal steamers and by 1856, more than 50 ships entered Monterey's port each quarter.

Portuguese whalers from the Azore Islands arrived at Point Lobos in 1861 and set up living quarters in the meadow at the southeast end of Whalers Cove. Comprising one of 16 shore whaling stations established on the west coast of California, the whalers and their families made up a small community of 50-60 people. About 15-20 men were part of a crew that hunted Gray whales that migrate along the California coast between mid-December and May. From the top of Whalers Knoll, a lookout would spot passing whales and then raise a flag to signal the crews down at the cove. Open-top boats were rowed out to sea where men would try their luck with harpoons. If a whale was killed, it was towed back to the cove, hoisted out of the water and its blubber sliced into large strips. Next the blubber was cut into smaller chunks and melted in large iron cauldrons called "try pots", to produce oil used primarily for lamp fuel. With the advent of kerosene lamps in the late 1880's, demand for whale oil slacked off and the local whaling industry fell on hard times. There was a brief revival of whaling operations at Point Lobos in 1897 when a Japanese company set up business, but this operation lasted only a few years.

~ PointLobos.org: History of Point Lobos

December 21, 1888, Hornellsville Weekly Tribune, Hornellsville, New York

There is said to be nothing in all Europe to equal the extent and beauty of the flower gardens and fruit orchards surrounding the new Hotel del Monte, at Monterey, California. which are said to have cost the railroad company owning the establishment $$150,000.

May 30, 1889, Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, USA

Paraiso Hot Springs

The Paraiso Hot Springs, which are becoming famous, are located near Mission Soledad, Monterey county, and are now owned by Dr. Charles Ford. Great improvements have been made at the springs and tbe genial proprietor of the hotel, Captain J. G. Foster, has made everything comfortable for the guests. The climate is unsurpassed, and the waters of the springs are already becoming noted. It is a place of almost perpetual sunshine, and has an altitude of 1400 feet and is surrounded on three sides by high mountains. The visitors take the 8:30 A. M. train at Fourth and Townsend streets, San Francisco, for Soledad station, where coaches convey them to the springs. The ride through the valley is charming, and the scenery presented is well worth the trip.

Improvements at Pacific Grove Make it More Charming than Ever.

News of important changes and improvements which have been made at Paciflc Grove for the season of 1893 will be received with delight by the thousands who take their annual summer outing at this favorite summer resort. Everybody knows what a cheerful, restful and comfortable place the grove has been in past years. It is known as the headquarters of the refined and intellectual classes those who place rest, peace and comfort above all considerations, who understand the benefits of living in the heart of one of the noblest pine foments in the West, with perfect hotel accommodations at astonishingly low rates, delightful sea bathing, perfect facilities for camping, renting, boarding, for rowing, sailing and fishing, the most gorgeous flowers in all the territory contiguous to San Francisco, close continuity to Monterey and the Hotel Del Monte, immediately on the famous seventeen-mile drive around the peninsula of Monterey, and a number of other attractions with which all well-informed Californians are familiar.

Monterey.Point Lobos, Monterey, California.
Point Lobos, Monterey, California
Thomas Moran

In the early 1900s, the sardine industry began to grow.

Eric Abrahamson, in his Historic Monterey: California's First Capital, describes the growth of that industry, which soon became synonymous with Monterey: "By 1913, the local fishermen, many of Italian descent and recruited by (Sicilian fisherman Pietro) Ferrante, were catching 25 tons of sardines a night. By 1918, nine canneries were packing 1.4 million cases of sardines each year and Monterey was the "Sardine Capital of the World."

Interest in preserving Point Lobos as a national or state park was gaining momentum. As scientists and foresters studied the Monterey Cypress trees growing at Point Lobos and at Cypress Point on the north side of Carmel Bay, they realized these trees do not grow naturally anywhere else in the world. By the mid-1920's, the Save the Redwoods League was actively involved in an effort to preserve the Monterey cypress. They hired the internationally known landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr., to research Point Lobos and report on the areas most noteworthy of preservation. Olmstead's report described Point Lobos as "the most outstanding example on the coast of California of picturesque rock and surf scenery in combination with unique vegetation, including typical Monterey Cypress." With assistance from the Save the Redwoods League, the State of California purchased 348 acres at Point Lobos from the Allan family in 1933.

California Missions

The Spanish crown decreed in the 1760s that California Indians were to be rounded up, baptized into Christianity and their culture destroyed. It was the same policy that Spain had followed in eradicating the complex and advanced cultures of the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs in Latin America.

In 1769, that near-genocidal policy was launched, under the direction of Father Junipero Serra, with the founding of California's first mission. One scholar, Robert Archibald, has written that the missions were akin to the "forced movement of black people from Africa to the American South." With the help of Spain's soldiers, the Indians were herded to the sites of the missions. Once there, they became slaves, directed by the friars to build the missions. Once within the mission boundaries, they were forever forbidden to leave.

Their terrible fate at the hands of the Spanish and friars was described by Jean Fran ois de Galaup de la Perouse, a French explorer and sea voyager hired by the French government to report on the western coastal areas of North America. In 1786 he visited Mission San Carlos Borromeo in the Monterey area and described the severe punishments inflicted on the Indians. The friars, he determined, considered the Indians "too much a child, too much a slave, too little a man."

November 12, 1862, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

The Motives for the Spanish Settlement of Upper California.

California.California Missions. The main motive for the establishment of the Californian missions was, undoubtedly, to protect the country against seizure by the, English or French, more especially the former, as the more enterprising in such matters, and the less friendly. The growth of Great Britain in commerce, industry, wealth, military power, and reputation abroad, was extremely rapid during the first half of the eighteenth century. England had already become the greatest of mercantile and manufacturing nations. In four great wars France was beaten, humiliated and almost broken, and in the last of them with England, from 1768 to 1768, she lost her great possessions in Asia and America Hindostan and Canada.

Life in a California Mission. Jean Francois de la Perouse.

After the peace, which secured to Great Britain not simply the political dominion over these conquests, but the far more important profits of their commerce, and almost exclusive possession of the sea as a naval power and a shipping nation, she began to look around for further prizes. There was much talk of new countries to be occupied, new colonies to be planted, new continents and islands to be discovered. Now that Canada was English, it was doubly important, if possible, to discover the Northwest passage by sea between the two great oceans, from Baffin's, or Hudson's Bay, westward. The exploring vessels of Cook, and other British navigators, about the same time, did not sail until after the missions had been established but the preliminary talk had commenced years before, and the Spanish Court was influenced, if not governed, by the fears of the English expeditions.

It was evidently not possible to establish any ports or settlements too strong to be taken by the English, in case they should resort to force; but no war was then feared, and a mere occupation of a few points it was thought would be sufficient.

The cheapest and simplest mode of taking possession of a distant country, which offered no great prizes of precious metals, pearls or gems, would be to establish Missions, and that was the method adopted.

California.The California Missions by David McLaughlin.At the same time that the King ordered the Jesuits to leave his kingdom and its dependencies, he provided that the Franciscan monks should succeed them, in the management of the missions of Lower California, and that other missions should be established in Upper California. The two best known ports in the latter district San Diego and Monterey were selected as sites for the first missions to be established, notwithstanding the fact that those ports are 3OO miles from each other. There was abundant work for several Missions in the immediate vicinity of San Diego; and the establishment and maintenance near each other in the southernmost district of the new country would be of comparatively little expense. The Government at Madrid was well aware that the Missions in Lower California, even after having been in existence for more than half a century, were constant and considerable cost to the public treasury, and it could not be expected that the expense would be less for new Missions, so much more remote. However, the probable cost was not sufficient to outweigh the important object of securing the Northwestern American coast to the Spanish Crown, and so the occupation by Missionaries was ordered.

California.Enslavement in California Missions. The College of San Fernando, the principal establishment of the Franciscan Monks in New Spain, had charge of the religious department. The Superior of the Convent selected Junipero Serra to be the head of the Friars in California. In about 1768, Serra, with fifteen Franciscans, arrived at Loreto. in Lower California, to relieve the sixteen Jesuits who had Left the peninsula a few weeks before. He spent a year among the existing Missions, and in the spring of 1769 he started, with five missionaries and about seventy-five whites, mostly soldiers and mechanics, for San Diego, where he arrived on the 1st of July, 1769.

If you cannot find recommended books locally, consider the links provided to
Amazon.com which has proven to be reliable on service and delivery.

Immigration at the Golden Gate: Passenger Ships, Exclusion, and Angel IslandImmigration at the Golden Gate.Immigration to California.
Robert Eric Barde
Perhaps 200,000 immigrants passed through the Angel Island Immigration Station during its lifetime, a tiny number compared to the 17 million who entered through New York's Ellis Island.

Nonetheless, Angel Island's place in the consciousness of Americans on the West Coast is large and out of proportion to the numerical record. Angel Island's Immigration Station was not, as some have called it, the Ellis Island of the West, built to facilitate the processing and entry of those welcomed as new Americans. Its role was less benign: to facilitate the exclusion of Asians, starting with the Chinese, then Japanese, Koreans, Indians, and all other Asians.

NOAA map of San Francisco Bay.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Kindly Kindly support our work.


DALevy @


Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.