Brief timeline of the history of the state of California
  • Pre-16th century: Various Native American tribes, including the Chumash, Ohlone, Miwok, and Pomo, inhabit the region now known as California.

  • 1542: Spanish explorer Juan RodrĂ­guez Cabrillo becomes the first known European to explore the California coast.

  • 1769-1776: Spanish missions are established by Franciscan friars, including Mission San Diego de Alcalá, marking the beginning of Spanish colonization in California.

  • 1821: Mexico gains independence from Spain, and California becomes part of the Mexican territory.

  • 1846-1848: The Mexican-American War takes place, and California is occupied by U.S. forces. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed in 1848, officially transferring California to the United States as part of the Mexican Cession.

  • 1848: Gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, sparking the California Gold Rush, drawing thousands of prospectors from around the world and leading to rapid population growth.

  • 1850: California is admitted as the 31st state of the United States on September 9.

  • Late 19th century: The completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 and the development of agriculture, particularly citrus and wine production, contribute to the state's economic growth.

  • Early 20th century: The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fire devastate the city, but it is quickly rebuilt. The film industry, centered in Hollywood, begins to flourish, establishing California as a hub for the entertainment industry.

  • 1930s-1940s: California experiences population growth and economic development during the Great Depression and World War II. The defense industry booms, and military bases are established across the state.

  • 1960s: California becomes a center of counterculture and social movements, including the hippie movement and the fight for civil rights and environmental awareness.

  • Late 20th century: Silicon Valley emerges as a global technology hub, with many tech companies and startups based in the region. California's diverse economy includes industries such as entertainment, technology, agriculture, aerospace, and tourism.

  • Present: California remains the most populous state in the United States, known for its cultural diversity, natural beauty, iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Disneyland, and progressive policies on climate change and social issues.

This timeline provides an overview of key moments in the history of California, from its indigenous roots to its transformation during the Spanish and Mexican periods, the Gold Rush era, statehood, and its ongoing significance as a major economic and cultural powerhouse.