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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


Vallejo, California is the first permanent home of California's state government and is the 142-year-long home of Mare Island, the first and most famous naval ship building and repair facility on the west coast. A city whose rich history is intertwined deeply to both the state in which it was born and to the country it served through two world wars.

Land in California.

Prior to the 1830's, the countryside where the City of Vallejo now stands was inhabited by the Suisun and Karkin Indians.

In 1835, a Mexican military officer, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, was sent to the northern California frontier where he established several land grants. One of these grants, the Rancho Suscol, included the area where the cities of Vallejo and Benicia are now located. Chief Solano, a leader of the Suisun Indians, allied himself with General Vallejo, an alliance which allowed the region to remain primarily inhabited by Native Americans until the 1840's.

In 1850, after California had been admitted to the Union as the 31st state, General Vallejo donated 156 acres of his land and promised the sum of $370,000 to create his dream of a thriving new state capital. Vallejo wished the site to be called Eureka, but his fellow citizens insisted upon naming the city in his honor. Thus Vallejo became the first permanent seat of California state government in 1852. The city's glory was short-lived though as members of the legislature quickly became unhappy with the living and working conditions in the pioneer city. As a result, the capital moved to Sacramento just a few weeks later. But inconvenienced by floods there, the restless legislature moved back to Vallejo - and then later to Benicia - before returning to Sacramento, where the capital has remained ever since.

General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo

Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.

Born in Monterey July 7, 1808; died in Sonoma January 18, 1890.

He married Francisca Benicia Carrillo on March 6, 1832.

General Vallejo.

General Vallejo was a frontier visionary who owned vast ranchos in northern California and wielded enormous political power throughout the province. While serving as military governor during Mexican rule, he established an open immigration policy that encouraged and facilitated the American entrada to northern California.

He entered the military as a cadet of the Monterey company in January 1824, was an ensign by 1827. After several campaigns against the Indians, in 1834 he was sent to secularize the mission of San Francisco Solano. In 1834 was granted the Petaluma rancho.

In 1835 Vallejo was instructed to lay out a pueblo at the Solano mission, was made director of colonization in the North and was authorized to issue grants of land to settlers; the plan being to prevent, by Spanish colonization, further extension of the Russian establishment of Ross. Vallejo laid out the pueblo and gave it the Indian name of Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon.

As a captain in 1838, he was appointed as comandante-general of California. Vallejo was aware that California excelled in natural advantages of climate, soil, and harbors, all of which could/would lead to the development of a prosperous state. Vallejo was considered by some to be one of the most intelligent and influential of the Californians.

Vallejo had sixteen children, ten of whom lived to maturity.

General Vallejo was careless when money was plenty, and while he realized large sums from the sale of lands and cattle, his later years were passed in comparative poverty.

Tuesday Morning, November 4, 1851, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Where shall the Legislature Meet?

One of the most stupendous follies of which the last Legislature was guilty was the removal of the capital from the city of San Jose to the Rancho of Vallejo; but that act of consummate stupidity and recklessness could not be achieved by that astute body without the use of such lame, indecisive and unsatisfactory language as makes it nearly or quite impossible to tell whether the capital is at Vallejo or in the South Sea Islands. The act under which the capital was removed was based upon certain obligations entered into by and between Don Mariano (i. Vallejo and John McDougal, Governor of the State. The law reads thus:

"1. That from and after the present session of the Legislature, the city of Vallejo, situated upon the bay of Napa and the Straits of Carquinez, shall be the the permanent seat of Government for the State of California;

Provided, that the said M. G. Vallejo shall provide for the space of three years a State House and other offices of State equal or better than those now occupied, without expense to the State, &c., &c."

Now, the import of the foregoing language would seem to be that the capital was removed to Vallejo immediately upon the adjournment of the Legislature. Yet such was not the fact, so far as the public offices and officers were concerned. Nor could the Legislature have so intended to be understood; and yet they say in a law, that Vallejo shall be the State capital from and after the close of their then session, knowing as they well did that there were no accommodations there for the public offices or officers! Nor did they make any provision for removing the archives, or give authority to any one to remove them. At least, we have been unable to learn of any law or resolution delegating such power.

In this state of things, the Governor, under such assurances, or upon such information, as he deemed satisfactory, assumed the responsibility of removing the Government effects and officers to Vallejo, in June last. In so far as we can perceive, although Vallejo was in reality the capital from the day of the Legislature's adjournment, yet this act of the Governor appears to have been one of entire individual responsibility; but it was, we presume, performed in good faith, and may, by a long stretch, be said to be sanctioned by the spirit of the law.

Well, the archives were removed, and Vallejo became in every respect the capital of the State. But in September it was found that the state house and public offices were not sufficiently complete to preserve the public records or accommodate the public business, and the Governor again took tbe responsibility of removing the valuables of the State back to the city of San Jose. Now, clearly the Governor had no power to do this; nor had he any authority to act in the first instance. We are, therefore, for all the purposes of an argument, bound to presume that he acted for the public good in both cases; and the measure of his praise or blame can only be ascertained by the results.

The case now presented is, therefore, the one one which the law actually calls for. It says that Vallejo shall be the capital from the day on which the session ends, but makes no provision for a removal of the public property consequently the law stands fulfilled in its letter, if not in its spirit. California, therefore, presents another novelty in political organization a capital without the elements of vitality, a capital only in name.

The question then arises as to how far Gen. Vallejo has failed to comply with the obligations of his bond. We hardly know what to answer, as the matter is one of no little ambiguity. As near as we can understand it, the General obligated himself to donate to the State a certain amount of money and a certain quantity of land, both land and money to be appropriated to fixed purposes. To do this he was allowed two years time. Besides this, he was to "provide for the space of three years'' a State-house and public offices as good or better than those at San Jose. But, when was the State-house and offices to be provided? The law would seem to indicate that they were already completed on the day of the conclusion of the session; but it was notorious that such was not the fact. Therefore, it may not be improper to infer that the law contemplated a reasonable time within which those buildings were to be completed, and inasmuch as no power was delegated to say when these buildings would, could or should be done, we do not see that the General is to much out of the way in his reckonings.

And the question of greatest importance is, ''Where shall the next Legislature meet?" We confess, with the best disposition to give Vallejo the cold shoulder upon every convenient and fair opportunity, we think that it is still the capital. The action of the Governor, as far as we can understand it, is of no more weight in the premises than that of any private individual. There is no time stipulated for the completion of the buildings, and no one appears authorized to judge whether or not the contract have been fulfilled, except tbe Legislature. And where shall they decide the matter? Clearly, at the seat of Government. They must assemble at the State capital and organize, though they may adjourn to another point, undoubtedly, upon the same day. The capital, therefore, having been fixed at Vallejo, and the Legislature alone possessing the power to change tho seat of Government, we do not see how they can possibly avoid convening at Vallejo.

True, this will produce a most incongruous, inconvenient and unfortunate condition of affairs. However, the Legislature will have it fully in its power to remedy the difficulty by directing the removal of the government records to Vallejo, or adjourning their own session to San Jose. The State is in an unfortunate dilemma, and it is of some importance to extricate her from the difficulty honorably. To do this, the best course will undoubtedly be to meet at Vallejo and adjourn to San Jose, thus bringing, as speedily as possible, the two important branches of the government into direct communication.

Some solicitude has been expressed as to the meaning of the word "permanent," as used in the law.

Vallejo, California.

It is contended that the whole Vallejo transaction is in the nature of a contract, and that the removal of the capital to any other point, provided Gen. Vallejo fulfill his obligation, will be an abrogation of a contract. We do not profess to understand or solve legal technicalities or the nice subtleties of the law, but it is quite plain to our mental vision that no Legislature possessed the power to fii the seat of government so permanen.iy that a succeeding one could not change it. No such power is delegated by the constitution, nor can anything be found therein which will warrant such a preposterous assumption. And we therefore believe that the next Legislature will be as fully competent to annul the acts of its predecessor in regard to the location of a State capital as in relation to any other legal enactment. Whether it be advisable to do so, is a question involving expediency, State honor and the public good, and to a solution of which the reader will have little difficulty in arriving.

Carquinez Bridge.

Aerial View of the Carquinez Bridge (with map)

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.

The Children of Chinatown: Growing Up Chinese American in San Francisco, 1850-1920Children of Chinatown.
Wendy Rouse Jorae

Family Skeletons.Family Skeletons: Exploring the Lives of Our Disreputable AncestorsFamily Skeletons.
Simon Fowler, Ruth Paley
Most families have a skeleton. You may have already discovered yours via the grapevine or your own research. Or you may simply be intrigued by the dark side of our past. This popular history explores the behaviour of our disreputable ancestors from the unfortunate to the criminal, and introduces a host of colourful characters including 17th century witches, 18th century 'mollies' and Victorian baby farmers. Thematically arranged by skeleton, the text also describes how society punished and provided for its 'offenders' - as well as the changing attitudes that could ultimately bring acceptance.

Italy on the Pacific: San Francisco's Italian Americans (Italian and Italian American Studies)Italians in San Francisco.
Palgrave Hardcover)
Sebastian Fichera
San Francisco’s Italian immigrant experience is shown to be the polar opposite of Chicago’s. San Francisco’s Italian immigrants are shown as reintegrating into the host society fairly smoothly, whereas the Chicago group’s assimilation process broke down in dramatic ways.

Russian San Francisco (Images of America)Russian San Francisco. (Images of America)
Lydia B. Zaverukha, Nina Bogdan, Foreward by Ludmila Ershova, PhD.
Even before San Francisco was founded as a city, Russian visitors, explorers, and scientists sailed to the area and made contact with both the indigenous people and representatives of the Spanish government. Although the Russian commercial colony of Fort Ross closed in 1842, the Russian presence in San Francisco continued and the community expanded to include churches, societies, businesses, and newspapers. Some came seeking opportunity, while others were fleeing religious or political persecution.

Migration in World HistoryMigration in World History.
(Themes in World History)
Patrick Manning
Drawing on examples from a wide range of geographical regions and thematic areas, noted world historian Patrick Manning guides the reader through trade patterns, including the early Silk Road and maritime trade, effect of migration on empire and industry, earliest human migrations, major language groups, various leading theories around migration.

California History, Spanish-speaking California.
History of Alta California:
A Memoir of Mexican California
California History, Spanish-speaking California, miners and mariners.
Antonio Maria Osio, Robert M. Senkewicz, Rose Marie Beebe
The first complete English translation of Osio's 1851 memoir of Mexican California, this account describes day-to-day life of the common people in what is now central and northern California from 1821 to 1846, before the Mexican-American War, a tense period marked by skirmishes resulting from land and power disputes between the Anglos and the Mexicans. This is a daily account, so there is a lot of detail-perhaps more than the general reader really wants.

Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis: Indian-Spanish Relations in Colonial California, 1769-1850California History, Spanish-speaking California, miners and mariners.
Steven W. Hackel
Recovering lost voices and exploring issues intimate and institutional, this examination of Spanish California illuminates Indian struggles against a confining colonial order and amidst harrowing depopulation. To capture the enormous challenges Indians confronted, Steven W. Hackel integrates textual and quantitative sources and weaves together analyses of disease and depopulation, marriage and sexuality, crime and punishment, and religious, economic, and political change. As colonization reduced their numbers and remade California, Indians congregated in missions, where they forged communities under Franciscan oversight. Yet missions proved disastrously unhealthful and coercive, as Franciscans sought control over Indian beliefs and instituted unfamiliar systems of labor and punishment. Even so, remnants of Indian groups still survived when Mexican officials ended Franciscan rule in the 1830s. Many regained land and found strength in ancestral cultures that predated the Spaniards' arrival.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

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



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

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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.

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