California's rich history is traced for young readers: from its
origins as a sparsely populated outpost of the Spanish empire in
the 16th century to the frenzied westward migration of the 1850s.
Young readers encounter England's Sir Francis Drake, who claimed
the west coast for England, calling the land New Albion, and learn
how the state was eventually named for a mythical island inhabited
by female warriors.
Readers also learn how Spanish priests and settlers founded
powerful Jesuit missions and presidios; how more Indians died in
California's missions than were saved; how Russia became a threat
to Spanish control, establishing a fort on the West Coast in 1812;
and how California was affected by Mexico's independence from
Spanish rule. Finally, they experience the gold fever that
propelled California towards its entry into the Union as the 31st
state in 1850.
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