Home History Who Did California Belong to First?

Who Did California Belong to First?

Img source: ca.gov

Native Californians are residents who have lived before and after the coming of the Europeans in California, over the forty groups of tribes to be precise. They have lived in the geographic area within the current boundaries of California long before the white man.

They spoke more than 100 distinct languages with over 300 dialects. This is related to the large numbers of the tribes (one tribe had usually 100 people or fewer). Yukian, Maiduan are part of the Californian tribes’ languages. Karuk and Esselen are language isolates which were spoken in this geographic area. The most language of the Uto-Aztecan family is spoken in California.

The first occupation of the humans in this area was 19,000 years ago, and that was California Indians, individuals, groups, and tribes. One-third of all Native Americans in the United States were living in California because it was easy to access the food and climate is good. The very first Californians were hunters and gatherers, and the traits were known since 500 BC. Native people were gardeners of the forests providing plants for food and medicine; they were also ecology-oriented because they only lite controlled fire.

Img source: History.com

In the culture of the Native Californians, basket making had a huge and important role. These baskets are made by native women, and at the same time baskets are beautiful and very functional. They produce baskets in many shapes and sizes, with a different pattern.

The first tradition food in the area of California is an acorn, a nut of the oak, and corn like in every other region of the United States. It is important to say that the different tribes in California had different diets; some of them included fish, insects, deer, sage seed or some kind of forest plant.

When it comes to the religion tribes in California practiced the Kuksu religion, which means they had narrative ceremonial dances. Nisenan, Maidu, Pomo, and Patwin were some of the tribes that have been practiced Kuksu religion. They drink hallucinogenic thing made from the jimsonweed or Toloache plant and then started dancing. They thought that the Toloache plant gives them special power and access to supernatural knowledge.

Californian Native Americans are also known for pictographs, a special kind of art. The pictographs are colorful paintings with humans, animals and abstract designs which have has religious significance.

Img source: californiatrailcenter.org

The southern and central coastal tribes in California first met Spanish and British explorers in the mid-16th century, and the tribes Miwok, Yurok, and Yokut met Russian explorers and seafarers in the late 18th century. Spanish occupation in California began in 1769 with the Mission San Diego de Alcala in San Diego. Spain had 20 more missions in California. In the 19th century, residents of Native California were reduced by 90% due to disease, an epidemic swept, such as the malaria epidemic in 1833. The Native Californian women were used to outdoor labor, and men were hunters, who hunt fish and animals. European explorers describe Native residents as highly spiritual, inventive, and independent. Indian women grew corn and gathered plants and nuts from nature, especially from the wood. They raised their children in a specific spiritual way, highly connected with nature.

The untamed Indian tribes of New Albion, who roam like animals and, protected by impenetrable vegetation, keep from being enslaved by the Spanish“, said Ilya Voznesensky about Californian Indian when he first met them.

At the moment California has the largest population of Native Americans residents in the whole United States, 723,000 in total. The tribes called themselves American Indian or Alaska Native, and the population of tribe grew by 15% in 10 years, between 2000 and 2010. Over 50,000 Native Americans live in Los Angeles now, and there are more than one hundred native groups or tribes in California.