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|History of California|
In the California coast, the use of ships and the Pacific Ocean has historically included water craft (such as dugouts, canoes, sailing ships, and steamships), fisheries, shipbuilding, Gold Rush shipping, ports, shipwrecks, naval ships and installations, and lighthouses. The maritime history of California can be divided into several periods: the Native American period; European exploration period from 1542 to 1769; the Spanish colonial period, 1769 to 1821; the Mexican period, 1821 to 1847; and United States statehood period, which continues to the present day.
See also: Native American history of California
In the northwest coast of California near the redwood forests several Indian tribes developed large dugout canoes they used for fishing, trade and warfare. These canoes were constructed by taking a large tree and shaping it with hand tools and fire to a boat's configuration. A redwood log 4 metres (13 ft) long and 240 centimetres (94 in) diameter weighs about 2,000 kilograms (4,400 lb). This large weight meant that the logs were selected that required a minimum of movement—usually driftwood or dead fall trees that had been blown over by the wind. Sometimes logs were cut to length and rolled into water where they could be floated to a selected work area. The logs were usually cut to length by fire and Stone Age hand tools and the interior of the canoe was typically burned out with small fires. The basic procedure was to start a small fire on the tree where it needed shaping, then extinguish it after a short burn. This would leave one or more centimeters of charred wood where the fire was built that would be easier to remove. By successively using small fires to char the areas that needed to be worked the logs could be shaped by the crude scrapers and rock, shellfish and horn based tools available. A finished 4 metres (13 ft) long dugout canoe with a nominal 5 centimetres (2.0 in) thickness still weighed over 100 kilograms (220 lb). Most larger dugouts weighed too much to move easily and were usually just pulled up on a beach far enough to get them above high tide. Constructing these types of dugout canoes took considerable time and skill with Stone Age tools and fire. Dugout canoes typically lasted several years.
Tule (Schoenoplectus acutus also called bulrushes) have a thin (~1 cm or 0.5 inch) diameter, rounded green stems that grows to 1 to 3 metres (3–10 ft) tall. They grow well in marshes, wetlands or at the edges of bodies of water. The tule stem has a pithy interior filled with spongy tissue packed with air cells—this makes it float well on water as well as a good insulator. Native Americans used tule for making and thatching huts, baskets, mats, boats, decoys, hats, clothing and shoes. Tule was typically cut using deer scapula 'saws' that had rough saw like edges cut into them. Tule has to be handled with care when green to avoid breaking the stem and gains strength when it is partially dried.
To make a tule boat, green tule was cut and then spread out in the sun to dry for several days. Tule canoes were constructed of cut stalks of tule plants bundled together around a willow 'core' for extra strength. The bundle of tules could be pre-bent as they were being bundled to form a raised prow and stern. The length of each bundle depends on the size of the boat that were then typically about 10 feet (3.0 m) to 15 feet (4.6 m). The bundle that formed the bottom of the canoe on which the boatman or boatmen sat, knelt or stood was much larger than the others. To make the sides of the tule canoe two to six tapered bundles were tied to the bottom bundle with grape vines or other native material with extensive lacing at the stern and prow to bend all the tule bundles into a tapered and raised bow and stern. Tule canoes typically accommodated one to four people. Tule boats can be quickly built from dried tule, by experienced canoe builders, in less than one day. Tule boats have a limited useful life before they rot and/or come apart—typically only lasting a few weeks.
Several tribes in and around the San Francisco Bay area and in northern California made and used tule canoes (also called balsas). Bay Miwok, Coast Miwok, Ohlone (Costanoan), Pomo, Klamath, Modoc and several other indigenous natives used the tule plant to make canoes. Tule canoes were used in ocean lagoons from Tomales Bay and Point Reyes National Seashore south to perhaps Monterey Bay. Tule–reed boats were used in lakes, bays and slow-moving rivers in much of Northern California. They were used by the Pomo living in the Laguna de Santa Rosa and Clear Lake, Tule Lake and other areas. They were common in the San Francisco Bay and on the extensive Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and its tributary rivers.
These tule canoes were used for transportation to and from their favorite spots for hunting or harvesting salmon, acorns, seeds, berries, shellfish or oysters and other fish or foods. Extensive beds and shoals of oysters (Ostrea lurida) and other shellfish then lay in shallow water near the shores of San Francisco Bay and Tomales Bay and were a food source used for centuries. Tule canoes were also used for gathering more tule reeds and for hunting duck or geese which were then often present in the wetlands, etc. in the millions. Tule canoes were used in collecting aquatic food plants and duck and goose eggs. Ducks and geese were often hunted from tule canoes with arrows or nets. Tule canoes were used in fishing with nets, spears or bone fish hooks for several native fish species present in or migrating through the rivers, ocean and bays.
The boatman typically sits, kneels or stands in the boat and either paddles it with a double bladed paddle or with his arms in a single person canoe when lying prone. If the boat was not woven tightly enough, then the boatman would find himself sitting, standing or kneeling in several inches of water. The tule canoes were often used for transportation to oyster mollusk and other shellfish beds that could be harvested at low tide. The Emeryville Shellmound or midden composed almost entirely of the inedible shells of different types of shellfish, presumably harvested utilizing tule boats, is an example of the over 400 shell mounds known in the San Francisco Bay area. These often massive shell mounds (the Emeryville Shellmound was originally reported as being 60 feet (18 m) high by 350 feet (110 m) long), were often built up over centuries of shell discards and showed a stable source of easily obtained shellfish utilized for many hundreds of years. It is believed that shellfish was a major if not the main source of food for many Native American people.
To see pictures of tule canoes use the image option of Google, Bing, etc. and type in "Tule canoe and search--several images are usually found that may be clicked on for more information. Local conservation groups often have courses in building tule canoes.
An ancient maritime culture dating back some 8,000 years, perhaps earlier, has been documented by recent dating of middens on San Clemente Island, some 60 miles offshore Southern California. Native California peoples lived in large settled villages along the Pacific coastline and on the Channel Islands of California for thousands of years before European contact.
In some areas, such as along the Santa Barbara Channel separating the Channel Islands of California from the California coast the Chumash and Tongva people in these villages developed highly sophisticated canoes. These canoes were used in fishing and in widespread trade between different villages on and off the Channel Islands of California. Boat construction reached its highest development in California among the Chumash and Tongva people. Their sewn plank canoes, called a "tomol", impressed early explorers of the California coast for its versatility, seaworthiness and size.
The canoes were typically made out of planks split from redwood (Sequoioideae) or pine driftwood washed up on the shore. This driftwood was usually chosen because it was available and usually knot free and easy to work with. Some of these driftwood logs were selected, cut to length, split, shaped and then their split out planks "sewn" together to form a canoe. The side planks and canoe bottom were split out of straight knot free logs utilizing whalebone and antler Wedges driven by rock mallets. The planks were then shaped, trimmed and leveled using flint and seashell tools and shark hide sandpaper. Where planks needed to be connected holes were bored in the planks using wood drills tipped with chert or bone. These drilled planks were then connected by "sewing" split and shaped knot free planks together on their ends to get the necessary length. They were typically fastened together with red milkweed (tok) fiber cords. After the planks had been shaped and sewn together for length they were carefully shaped, bent and mounted six to eight planks vertically to form the canoe's sides around a large split bottom plank that formed the bottom of the canoe. Over 20 pieces of shaped wood are used to make a typical tomol. Once the planks were bent, fitted and lashed together the heart of dry tule rush was forced into the cracks between the planks on the outside of the canoe hull to act as caulking. All seams between planks, plank ends and holes for cords or thongs were then caulked with 'yop', a mixture of hard tar and pine pitch melted and then boiled. In many respects their boat construction technique mirrored that utilized for making small wooden boats around the world. The lack of metal tools and fasteners forced them to use Stone Age tools and materials.
These canoes were built to carry from 3 to 10 people, one of which was usually assigned to bail, and the rest propelled the canoe by using rough oars. The typical tomol was 12 feet (3.7 m) to 24 feet (7.3 m) long with a beam of 3 feet (0.91 m) to 5 feet (1.5 m). Sea voyages of over 130 miles (210 km) have been recorded for these craft. They fished the sea with fishing nets, harpoons, spears and bone fish hooks. One of their common net catches were sardines and larger sardines called pilchards—then common in large schools off the California coast. The Chumash had settlements on the main California coast and on the northern Channel Islands of California. The Tongva (Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe) had several small settlements on the southern Channel Islands as well as villages on the main California southwest coast.
Chumash and Tongva trading expeditions between the mainland and the Channel Islands were common. Most were to obtain steatite for soapstone bowls and effigy figurines. The remains of this prehistoric seafaring is being investigated by underwater archaeologists. At least 25 individual sites have been reported between Ventura, California Beach and Point Conception.
In 1539, Francisco de Ulloa under commission from the Viceroyalty of New Spain and New Spain (Mexico) conqueror, Hernán Cortés, explored the Gulf of California to the Colorado River—establishing Baja California as a peninsula. Ulloa then went 800 miles (1,300 km) south down the Baja California peninsula in the Gulf of California and rounding the tip of the peninsula turned north and explored the west coast of the Baja peninsula—perhaps to the 28th parallel (near the Isla Natividad). Ulloa's sailing ships battered by adverse winds and his men wracked by scurvy, returned to New Spain (Mexico) without exploring further.
The first European expedition to explore the upper California coast was led by the explorer and conquistador Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo (c. 1499–1543). Cabrillo shipped for Havana as a young man and joined forces with Hernán Cortés in New Spain in about 1520 as a conquistador crossbow man. In the conquest of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) in 1521 Cortez directed Cabrillo to build thirteen 40 feet (12 m) boats to fight on the lake then in the center of Tenochitlan. Rapidly advancing in rank under Cortez's direction he participated in the conquest of El Salvador and Guatemala and was rewarded by being granted an extensive Encomienda (a feudal grant of land including the occupants on it) controlling vast land and Native American resources in Guatemala. His success in guiding the Native Americans on his Encomienda in mining gold in Guatemala, made him one of the richest of the conquistadors in Mexico and Guatemala. Sponsored by Pedro de Alvarado, the Guatemala governor, Cabrillo's directed the building of several small sailing ships in Guatemala—the first on the Pacific coast. After Alvarado's death in 1541 the new Viceroy of New Spain, Antonio de Mendoza took over control of the shipyards and directed Cabrillo to build three ships and lead an expedition further up the Pacific Coast in search of more rich Native American civilizations like the Aztec and Incas. They were also to see if there was a shorter way to China—the mythical Strait of Anián (or Northwest Passage) connecting the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean.
To build the ships the anchors, sails, shipbuilding tools and metal fittings were imported from Spain and then ported by mule and Native American porters across Mexico and then south to Guatemala. Cabrillo, a former shipbuilder, with his Spanish assistants and Native American workers had the necessary lumber sawed out and assembled to make the first sailing ships built on the America's Pacific coast—in Guatemala. The ships finished lumber and timbers was sawed out of trees with "new" steel saws manned by Native American laborers under the direction of a few Spanish shipbuilders. The ships built for exploring the Pacific were small open caravels and bergantina built and manned by a mixture of Native Americans and Spanish sailors and conquistadors.
The last sailing ships built under Cabrillo's direction were the California exploration fleet: caravels, San Salvador (about 100 feet (30 m) long) and the smaller Victoria, and a bergantina (small sail boat or launch), San Miguel. Cabrillo captained the San Salvador and Bartolomé Ferrer the Victoria. These vessels were the first European sailing ships to visit the future state of California.
After the California exploration ships were built, Cabrillo and his mixed crews of conquistadors, Spanish and untrained Native American sailors totaling about 200 men, carefully made their way north from Navidad, Mexico up the Pacific coast starting on 17 June 1542. They took enough supplies to last about two years. The combination of the south flowing California Current and often opposing winds made progress north up the coast agonizingly slow. The small, rudely made open boats with only partially trained crews caused the crews to suffer miserably in the storms they encountered on their way. After landing several times on the Baja California coast for water, wood and whatever supplies they could scrounge they finally, after traveling one hundred and three days, entered San Diego Bay on 28 September 1542. They continued north up the California coast encountering many Indian villages using Native American "tomols" (ocean-going stitched canoes). The continued north up the coast possibly as far as Point Reyes California.
On 23 November 1542, the little fleet limped back down the coast to "San Salvador" (identified as today's Santa Catalina Island, California or Santa Rosa Island) to overwinter and make repairs. There, around Christmas Eve 1542, Cabrillo stepped out of his boat and splintered his shin when he stumbled on a jagged rock. The injury developed gangrene and he died on 3 January 1543 and was buried in an unknown location. His second-in-command, Bartolomé Ferrer, brought the remainder of the party back to Barra de Navidad, Mexico where they arrived 14 April 1543. They had found no gold or silver wealth, no advanced Indian civilization, no agriculture and no Northwest passage. As a result, California was of little further interest to the Spanish who would basically ignore it for over 220 years.
In 1565 the Spanish developed a Manila galleon trade route (also called "nao de la China") where they took silver minted in the Potosí area of Peru or in Mexico and traded it for gold, silk, porcelain, spices and other goods from China and other Asian areas including the Spice Islands. There was a great demand for silver in China. They also traded for gold objects which could be gotten in China in this time period at a silver:gold exchange rate of about 5:1 whereas the rate in Europe was about 16:1. The Spanish centered their trade in the Philippines at first around Cebu, which they had recently conquered, and later in Manila after they conquered it. The trade between the Philippines and Mexico involved using an annual round trip passage of one or more Manila galleons. These poorly defended galleons left Acapulco Mexico loaded with silver and sailed to the Philippines in about 90 days following what's called now the north equatorial current and trade winds.
The higher-latitude Westerlies trade winds and current from east to west at about 30-40 degrees latitude, was not known as a way across the Pacific Ocean until Andrés de Urdaneta's voyage in the 40 ton San Lucas in 1565. Returning to Mexico from the Philippines the Manila Galleons went north to about 40 degrees latitude and then turning East they could use the Westerlies trade winds and currents to go east. They were loaded with a years worth of Oriental trade goods accumulated in the Philippines. These galleons, after crossing most of the Pacific Ocean, would arrive off the California coast from four to seven months later somewhere near Cape Mendocino (about 300 miles (480 km) north of San Francisco) at about 40 degrees N. latitude. They then could turn right and sail south down the California coast utilizing the available winds and the south flowing (≈1 mi/hr (1.6 km/h)) California Current. The maps and charts were poor and the California coast was often shrouded in fog, so most journeys were well off shore to avoid the Farallon and California Channel Islands. After sailing about 1,500 miles (2,400 km) south and passing the Baja Peninsula tip and crossing the Gulf of California they followed the western coast of Mexico to Acapulco, Mexico. Acapulco was chosen as a home port because of its excellent harbor facilities and its easy access to the city of Veracruz, Mexico on the Caribbean.
These galleons were some the largest the Spanish built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Because of the limited number of ships and the highly profitable cargo they increased ship size up to 1,700 to 2,000 tons and from seven hundred to over one thousand people would take passage back to Acapulco on these vessels. The Manila galleon trade (See: Spanish treasure fleet) was one of the most persistent, perilous, and profitable commercial enterprises in European colonial history. This highly profitable trade (profits could reach 200-300%) with an almost annual trip by one to two ships to the Philippines and back down the California coast was continued for over 200 years. The number of ships was limited by the Spanish Crown which got 20% of all profits. Because of the high profit and royal taxes smuggling was rampant on these ships. Because of the harsh trip and high profits most officers and crews only made one trip before finding something else to do. The ships were mostly built in the Philippines using Filipino laborers to saw out the timber, weave the sails, etc. with Chinese craftsman and blacksmiths doing the ship assembly under the direction of Spanish shipbuilders.
The English explorer and privateer Francis Drake sailed along the coast of California in 1579 after capturing two Spanish treasure ships headed for the Philippines in the Pacific. It is believed that he landed somewhere on the California coast. There his only surviving ship, the Golden Hind, set up friendly relations with the local Indians and underwent extensive repairs and cleaning of his hull. Needed supplies of food, water and wood were accumulated by trade and foraging for a trip across the Pacific. Leaving California he followed Ferdinand Magellan on the second recorded circumnavigation of the world and the first English circumnavigation of the world, being gone from 1577 to 1580. He returned with several tons of silver and gold. Drake's landing at New Albion in Drakes Bay is recognized by the Drakes Bay National Historic and Archeological District National Historic Landmark. He claimed the land for England, calling it Nova Albion. The term "Nova Albion" was often used on many European maps to designate territory north of the Spanish Pacific coast settlements. Spanish maps, explorations etc., of this and later eras were generally not published, being regarded as state secrets by the Spanish monarchy. As was typical in this era, there were conflicting claims to the same territory, and the Indians who lived there were never consulted.
After Thomas Cavendish successfully raided the Manila galleon Santa Ana off the tip of Baja California in 1587 an attempt was made to explore the coast for a possible town site in California for replenishing and protecting the Manila galleons. Exploration by these Manila galleons met with disaster when the Manila galleon San Agustin got too close to the Point Reyes, California coast in a storm in 1595 and was shipwrecked. Subsequently, the Spanish crown decreed that no further exploration or colonization attempts in California would be made with Manila galleons; a years worth of profit from the Philippines could not be risked. One of the greatest bays on the west coast—San Francisco Bay—escaped outside-the-area knowledge until sited on 4 November 1769.
In 1602, 60 years after Cabrillo, the Spaniard Sebastián Vizcaíno, who had been on the Santa Ana when it was captured by Thomas Cavendish off Cape San Lucas on the Baja peninsula in 1587, explored California's coastline from San Diego as far north as Monterey Bay. He was looking for a possible town site for replenishing and protecting the annual trip of the Manila Galleon. Vizcaíno named San Diego Bay and held the first Christian church service recorded in California on the shores of San Diego Bay. He also put ashore in Monterey, California, and made glowing reports of the Monterey Bay area as a possible anchorage for ships with land suitable for growing crops—the California coastal Indians had no agriculture. He also provided rudimentary charts of the coastal waters, which were used by the Spanish for nearly 200 years.
A potential colonial power interested in Alta California was Russia, already established in the Pacific Ocean in Alaska. Their Maritime Fur Trade originally focused in Alaska started making expeditions to the California for harvesting sea otters and fur seals. These furs could be traded in China for large profits. After the conclusion of the Seven Year War between Britain and France and their allies (in U.S. called the French and Indian War) (1754–1763) France was driven out of North America, Spain, Russia and Britain were the only colonial powers left in North America.
To prevent Russia or Britain from establishing settlements in California in 1769, the Spanish Visitor General, José de Gálvez, under directions of the Spanish Crown, proceeded to plan a five part expedition to settle Alta California. Three ships with supplies and men were to go by sea and two expedition by land to start settling Alta California. Gaspar de Portolà volunteered to command the expedition. The Catholic Church was represented by Franciscan friar Junípero Serra and his fellow friars. All five detachments of soldiers, friars and colonists were to meet at the site of San Diego Bay. The first sailing ship, the San Carlos, sailed from La Paz on 10 January 1769, and the ship San Antonio sailed on 15 February. The first land party, led by Fernando Rivera y Moncada, left from the Franciscan Mission San Fernando Velicata on 24 March 1769. The third vessel, the sailing ship San José, left New Spain later that spring but was lost at sea with no survivors. With Rivera was Father Juan Crespí, famed diarist of the entire expedition. The expedition led by Portolà, which included Father Junípero Serra, the President of the Missions, along with a combination of missionaries, settlers, and leather-jacket (leather jackets made of several layers of leather could stop most Indian arrows) soldiers, including José Raimundo Carrillo, left Velicata on 15 May 1769, accompanied by about 46 mules, 200 cows and 140 horses—all that could be spared by the poor Baja Missions. Fernando Rivera was appointed to command the lead party that would scout out a land route and blaze a trail to San Diego. Food was short, and the Indians accompanying them were expected to forage for most of what they needed. Many Indian neophytes died along the way—even more deserted. On 15 May 1769, the day after Rivera and Crespí reached San Diego Portolà and Serra set out from Velicata. The two groups traveling from Lower California on foot had to cross about 300 miles (480 km) of the very dry and rugged Baja California peninsula. The overland part of the expedition took about 40–51 days to get to San Diego. All five detachments were to meet at San Diego Bay.
The contingent coming by sea, encountered the south flowing California Current and strong head winds and were still straggling in three months after they set sail. After their arduous journeys, most of the men aboard the ships were ill, chiefly from scurvy, and many had died. Out of a total of about 219 men who had left Baja California, little more than 100 now survived. The Spanish settlements of Alta California were the last expansion of Spain's vastly over-extended empire in North America, and they tried to do it with minimal cost and support.
A few leather jacket soldiers and Franciscan friars financed by the Catholic Church and Spanish Crown would form the backbone of the proposed settlement of Alta California. The settlements eventually included: twenty one surviving Missions—typically manned by two to three friars and five to ten soldiers; four military Presidios were built—manned by 10 to 100 soldiers and four small settlements (Pueblos) were set up to grow food for the Presidios.
On 14 July 1769, an expedition was dispatched to find the port of Monterey, California. Not recognizing the Monterey Bay from the description written by Sebastián Vizcaíno almost 200 years prior, the expedition traveled beyond it to what was called San Francisco area. The exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portolà arrived on 2 November 1769, at San Francisco Bay. One of the greatest ports on the west coast of America had finally become known to non-indigenous people. The expedition finally returned to San Diego on 24 January 1770 weak with hunger and suffering from scurvy.
Without any agricultural crops or experience eating the food on which the Indians subsisted (ground acorns), the shortage of food at San Diego became extremely critical during the first few months of 1770. They subsisted on some of their cattle (Texas Longhorns), wild geese, fish, and other food exchanged with the Indians for clothing, but the ravages of scurvy continued for there was restricted amounts of food and no understanding of the cause or cure of scurvy then. A small quantity of corn they had planted grew well—only to be eaten by birds. Portolá sent Captain Rivera and a small detachment of about 40 men to the Baja California missions in February to obtain more cattle and a pack-train of supplies. This temporarily eased the drain on San Diego's scant provisions, but within weeks, acute hunger and increased sickness again threatened to force abandonment of the port. Portolá resolved that if no relief ship arrived by 19 March 1770 they would leave the next morning "because there were not enough provisions to wait longer and the men had not come to perish from hunger." At three o'clock in the afternoon on 19 March 1770, as if by a miracle, the sails of the sailing ship San Antonio loaded with relief supplies were discernible on the horizon. The settlement of Alta California would continue.
Late in 1775 Juan Bautista de Anza led a contingent of 240 soldiers, settlers and friars from Sonora Mexico over the Gila River Trail over the Colorado River at the Yuma Crossing and up about 500 miles (800 km) of Alta California to the San Francisco Bay area where they arrived 28 March 1776. There the Spanish built the Mission San Francisco de Asís, (or Mission Dolores), the Presidio of San Francisco and Yerba Buena, California (San Francisco). They came with about 200 leather-jacketed soldiers, and settlers with their families and two Franciscan friars. They brought with them about 600 horses and mules, 300 Texas Longhorn bulls and cows. These animals and their descendants were the core of the later cattle and horse herds on the Californio Ranchos. These soldiers, friars, settlers and livestock came over the Anza Trail from Sonora, Mexico, four years before the trail from New Spain to California was closed for over 40 years by the Quechan people (Yumas)—most new emigrants would have to come by ship.
In 1780 the Spanish established two combination missions and pueblos at the Yuma Crossing of the Colorado River: Mission San Pedro y San Pablo de Bicuñer and Mission Puerto de Purísima Concepción. July 1781 the Yuma (Quechan) Indians, in a dispute with the Spanish destroyed both missions and pueblos—killing 103 soldiers, colonists and Franciscan friars and capturing about 80—mostly women and children. Despite four expeditions to reassert Spanish control the Yuma Crossing remained under the Quechans' control for the next 40 years—the easiest land route to California was closed. This restriction caused most settler traffic and supplies to Alta California to come on a 30- to 60-day sailing ship journey form New Spain's towns on the Pacific Ocean. Because there were only a few settlers and they had essentially nothing to export or trade so there were only a few ships that came to Alta California. Combined with the Spanish restriction that prohibited non-Spanish shipping the average number of ships going to Alta California from 1770 to 1821 was 2.5 ship/year with 13 years showing no recorded ships.
On 20 November 1818 Hippolyte de Bouchard raided the Presidio of Monterey in Monterey, California. Bouchard, a French revolutionary who later became a citizen of Argentina, is sometimes referred to as California's only pirate, although some Argentines prefer to use the term corsair.
Since much of his crew died from scurvy, Bouchard went in search of new crew members in the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii), and then sailed to the coast near Mission Santa Barbara and threatened the nearby town. Bouchard and his crew left without attacking after some soldiers from the Presidio of Santa Barbara confronted them, and arranged a prisoner exchange.
On 14 December 1818, Bouchard attacked Mission San Juan Capistrano and he and his crew damaged several buildings, including the Governor's house, the King's stores, and the barracks.
Even before Mexico gained independence and control of Alta California in 1821, the onerous Spanish rules against trading with foreigners began to break down as the declining Spanish fleet proved unable to enforce the foreign-trading ban. Alta California residents, with essentially no industries or manufacturing capabilities, were eager to trade for new commodities, glass, hinges, nails, finished goods, luxury goods and other merchandise. The Mexican government abolished the no-trade-with-foreign-ships policy and soon regular trading trips were being made. Alta California export products were produced on the large cattle ranches called ranchos; primarily cow hides (called California greenbacks), tallow (rendered fat for making candles and soap) and California/Texas longhorn cattle horns. These were traded for finished goods and merchandise. The hide-and-tallow trade was mainly carried on by Boston-based ships that traveled for about 200 days in sailing ships about 17,000 miles (27,000 km) to 18,000 miles (29,000 km) around Cape Horn to bring finished goods and merchandise to trade with the Californio Ranchos for their hides, tallow and horns. The cattle and horses that provided the hides, tallow and horns essentially grew wild on the open rangeland of the ranchos. The hides, tallow and horns provided the necessary trade articles for a mutually beneficial trade. The first United States, English, and Russian trading ships arrived in California before 18oo. The classic book Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. written about the period 1834–36, provides a good first-hand account of this trade.
From 1825 to 1848 the average number of ships traveling to California increased to about 25 ships per year—a large increase from the average of 2.5 ships per year from 1769 to 1824. The port of entry for trading purposes was the Alta California Capital, Monterey, California, where customs duties (tariffs) of about 100% were applied. These high duties gave rise to much bribery and smuggling, as avoiding the tariffs made more money for the ship owners and made the goods less costly to the customers. Essentially all the cost of the California government (what little there was) was paid for by these tariffs (customs duties). In this, they were much like the United States in 1850, where about 89% of the revenue of its federal government came from import tariffs (also called customs or ad valorem taxes), although at an average rate of about 20%.
By 1846, the province of Alta California had a non-native population of about 1,500 adult men along with about 6,500 women and children, who lived mostly in or near a string of settlements originally established near the coast by the Spanish. Estimates of immigrants vary from 600 to 2,000 by 1846 with more arriving each year.
California has had an extensive fishery since it was discovered over 10,000 years ago. The Native American inhabitants of California, nearly all hunter-gatherers, harvested many types of fish and shellfish as a regular and often major component of their diet. Several varieties of salmon and steelhead were some of the mainstays of the California Indians.
Indians living in the Northwest coast of California moved and fished along the rivers and California coastal waters using dugout canoes. Their dugout canoes were laboriously made using fire and Stone Age tools out of large trees—usually redwoods.
Salmon spawned in most rivers and streams in California sometime during the year and were a welcome addition to the diet of the hunter-gatherer California people living near almost all the streams. Many tribes migrated to a given area along the streams during spawning runs to harvest the fish. Fish were caught with spears, harpoons, fish nets, fish traps (fishing weirs), hooks and fishing lines, gathering seafood by hand and using specific plant toxins (soaproot, buckeye nuts, and wild cucumber root) to temporarily paralyze the fish so they would float to the surface where could easily be captured. About the only early competitors for fish was the California grizzly bears who lived in California then and who also liked salmon. Salmon and other fish were usually eaten almost immediately, smoked or sun dried and stored in woven baskets so they could not spoil and were available to eat nearly year-round. Acorns gathered each fall were the other staple of most California Indian's diet,
The Chumash people and Tongva people used sewen plank canoes (Tomols) to travel across and fish in the seas between the Southwest California Coast and the Channel Islands of California. Some of their chief catches were sardines (pilchards) who were mentioned several times by the early Spanish explorers. Sardines are small epipelagic fish (surface water fish to 200m) which then migrated along the California coast in large schools at certain times of the year. They are an important forage fish for larger forms of marine life and a major fishery in the California waters till the sardine schools greatly diminished due to ocean current temperature changes and over fishing. The sardines were caught by the California Indians primarily with some kind of net.
The Native Americans in the San Francisco Bay constructed the Emeryville Shellmound and over 400 other shellmounds made up of inedible shellfish shells from millions of meals consumed at or near the shellmound sites. The size of these mounds indicate that they had to have accumulated over hundreds if not thousands of years and indicate a well used and stable food resource. The inedible shells they threw aside from their catches of shellfish eventually covered some hundreds of thousands of square feet, sometimes tens of feet thick. Most of the shells are from oysters (Ostrea lurida) which occurred in large oyster reefs throughout the San Francisco Bay area. How they are harvested is unknown but may have been by hand or by using oyster rakes. Tule (Schoenoplectus acutus) canoes were often used for fishing, moving between shell beds, hunting and fishing sites in the Bay area and the extensive Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta.
During the Spanish colonization and Mexican periods there are no known fisheries developed. Indeed, they probably contracted as the Chumash people and Tongva people were enticed to move to the Spanish Missions of California and their movement and populations rapidly decreased.
During the California Gold Rush there were many new immigrants who were familiar with fishing. There was a large demand for fresh food including fresh fish and shellfish among the rapidly increasing California population. Providing fresh food products were one of the most wanted and lucrative trades that developed among the California Argonauts. The small Californio population before the rush were only able to provide some beef—their main "product" before 1850 had been cowhides and tallow. After the California Gold Rush started developing a market for fresh fish, many Azorean-Portuguese turned from gold mining to fishing. Fisherman established several small fishing communities up and down the California coast selling fish in towns and cities from San Diego to Eureka. They built their own small fishing boats using the traditional "lateen" sail technology common in the Mediterranean on their fishing boats.
After the gold rush started and Chinese immigrants appeared some of the first "modern" fishermen in California who started fishing in about 1853. The Chinese were using sampans built in California to fish for squid, abalone and fish on Monterey Bay. The Chinese, who came from the coastal Canton region of South China Sea, were able to export roughly two hundred to eight hundred pounds of fresh fish to San Francisco every day or one hundred tons per year. The Chinese later specialized in squid fishing at night for their Asian markets.
In 1899, the sardine fishery collapsed in Italy, energizing the Italian fishermen's immigration to California's fishing villages. The same year, the first sardine cannery in San Francisco Bay was built. Sardines, at this time, existed in large schools of millions of fish migrating each year up the California coast to spawn.
Fishing technology at Monterey prior to 1905 was archaic and inefficient; the canning process was equally crude. The unsightliness, odor, and processing waste from harbor canneries dictated that all future canneries would have to locate away from any business or residential district. To catch more fish the fishermen turned to the more efficient lampra fish net used in Sicily. The lampra net is set around a school of fish and when both ends are retrieved the vessel tows the net forward, closing the bottom and then top of the net while it scoops up much of the school of fish. By 1912 70,000 cases of sardines were shipped.
Other techniques were developed for "reducing" fish heads, tails, guts and skin into meal that could be processed into fertilizer and livestock feed. "Reduction" was cheap because it didn't require much labor, and the market for fishmeal was unlimited. Monterey became a cannery town. About 70% of all sardines were ground up and used as fertilizer and livestock feed with only about 30% canned for human consumption. The yield of sardines landed in California was about 500,000 tons in 1940 down to only 53 tons in 1953.
In 1940 sardines were the most valuable fishing stock in the state. As the temperature of the ocean dropped the migrating sardine schools largely disappeared after 1950 from California waters and nearly all the canneries shut down. The ocean temperature has an irregular cycle called the Pacific decadal oscillation turned water temperatures colder in the mid-1940s, driving sardines southward and intensifying the pressures brought on by overfishing. As the ocean temperatures are cycling higher now there is some evidence that the sardines are starting to return.
Today the Monterey Bay Aquarium, displaying many types of marine life, is located on the former site of a sardine cannery on Cannery Row off the Pacific Ocean shoreline in Monterey. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is a U.S. Federally protected marine area offshore of California's central coast around Monterey Bay.
One of the more unusual developments in the exploitation of natural resources was the market for fresh eggs during the Gold Rush leading people to take small boats to the Farallon Islands to collect wild bird eggs. They sometimes collected up to 500,000 eggs in a year. The Egg War is the name given to an 1863 armed conflict between rival egging companies on the Farallon Islands, 25 miles west of San Francisco.
The fishing vessels first used were powered by wind and oars. Since "modern" fishing in California was developed after 1850 (at about the same time as steamships) there were soon some steam-powered fishing vessels being used for longer-distance fishing in bigger boats. The steam was used both for propulsion and also for winching in nets, unloading catches, lifting and lowering anchors etc. As the diesel engines and petrol engines (gasoline engine) were developed in the early 1900s they were soon the engine of choice. Diesel engines are now the engine of choice for powering most commercial fishing vessels. Their economical operation and long lifetimes make their higher initial cost normally well worthwhile. Today many smaller and sports boats are powered by an outboard motor consisting of a self-contained unit that includes engine, gearbox and propeller or jet drive, designed to be affixed to the outside of the transom. The outboard motor provides steering control both as a movable rudder and by pivoting over their mountings to control the direction of thrust. Outboard motors have less than one horsepower to over 200 hp and are relatively easy to remove for service or replacement.
Commercial fishing today uses a variety of techniques for fishing. Fishing rods with baited hooks and fishing lines used in various ways are used for fishing for some particular types of fish. Fishing using nets like cast nets, hand nets, drift nets, gillnets, seine nets, trawl nets, surrounding nets etc. of various sizes and construction as well as longline fishing with hundreds of hooks on a line fishing both for bottom and pelagic fish (near surface fish) are the most common devices used to catch high yields of fish. The crab fisheries uses crab pots baited with dead fish to catch crabs.
In some parts of the Pacific Northwest, fishing with baited traps is also common. Common commercial methods for catching shrimp and prawns include bottom trawling, cast nets, seines, shrimp baiting and dip netting. Bottom trawling often tears up the ocean bottom and can be very destructive to all bottom dwelling fish. Trawling involves the use of a system of nets deployed on or near the sea floor. Benthic trawling is towing or dragging a net at the very bottom of the ocean. Demersal trawling is towing a net just above the benthic zone. Midwater trawling (pelagic trawling) is trawling, or net fishing nearer the surface of the ocean.
For some applications a fish trap is used. Fish traps or fishing weirs restricts the flow of fish so that they are directed into a trap. The fish stay alive until they are removed and these techniques can be used to free some types of fish that are preferentially not caught. Today elaborate fishing trawlers, etc. are all examples of the fishing techniques used today. To keep the caught fish fresh they are often kept in refrigerated holds or packed in ice.
As is typical worldwide of public owned resources, unlimited fishing has led to severe overfishing for some fisheries. In response to this quotas, catch limits, closed and open seasons and other regulations had to be set in place to control the who, when, how and where questions of fishing. In 1851—California enacted a law concerning oysters and oyster beds. In 1852 the first regulation of salmon fishing occurred when fishing weirs or stream fish obstructions were prohibited and closed seasons established. In 1870 California Board of Fish Commissioners, predecessor to the California Department of Fish and Game was established. In 1870 the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) was introduced, in 1871 shad, in 1874 Catfish and in 1879 striped bass were all introduced to California waters. California has about 4,000 lakes and 37,000 miles (60,000 km) of streams and canals suitable for game fish. To help fish get around dams fish ladders are constructed to allow them to pass on upstream for spawning etc. To preserve, protect and enhance existing fishing the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) tries to keep all fishing laws enforced. The 720 properties managed by the DFG are: 110 wildlife areas, 130 ecological reserves, 11 marine reserves, 159 public access areas, 21 fish hatcheries and 289 other types of properties. To help keep California waters stocked with fish in 1870 the first California fish hatcheries were built—mostly trout hatcheries. Today (2011) there are eight salmon and steelhead hatcheries and 13 trout hatcheries. Though hatcheries may help some fishing stocks they are no panacea to counteract overfishing, habitat destruction, stream restrictions, water diversions, etc.
See: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary link to get a list and links to other protected marine preserves in California.
The major types of sport and commercial fish and shellfish now found in California waters are: Abalone, Albacore tuna, Anchovy, Barracuda, Surfperch, Billfishes, Bluefin tuna, Bonito, Cabezone, California halibut, Carp, Catfish, Clams, California corbina, Crabs, Crappie, Croaker, Dungeness crab, Eels, Flounder, Flying fish, Giant sea bass, Greenling, Groundfish (includes Rockfish species), Grouper, Grunion, Halibut, Hardhead, Herring, Hake, Jack mackerel, Kelp Bass, Largemouth bass, Lingcod, Mackerel, Oysters, Pacific shrimp, Perch, Pikeminnow (Squawfish), Prawn, Rock crab, Sablefish, Sacramento blackfish, Salmon, Sardine, Scallops, Scorpionfish, Shark, California sheephead, skate, Shortspine thornyhead, Skipjack tuna, Smallmouth bass, Smelts, Sole, Spider or Sheep crab, Splittail, Spiny lobster, Squid, Steelhead, Striped bass, Sturgeon, Surfperch, Swordfish, Turbot, Trout, Whitefish, Whiting, Yellowtail (fish)
See: NOAA Long list of California fish for more specific names:
Nearly all fishing is subject to quotas, allowed seasons, licensing, allowed tackle, type and number of lines or net types, excluded (closed) areas, allowed size range, allowed catch size, and other restrictions. The jurisdictions and roles of several state and federal agencies often overlap in the maritime domain giving rise to an alphabet soup of agencies and jurisdictions. Each state normally maintains joint jurisdiction over the first 3.4 miles (5.5 km) (3 nautical mile) of their coastal waters. The main agency charged with ensuring deep sea fishing regulations and restrictions in the United States exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 227 miles (365 km) (200 nautical miles) off its shores are enforced on the high seas by the United States Coast Guard.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) agency within the United States Department of Commerce is charged with protecting and preserving the nation's living marine resources through scientific research, fisheries management, enforcement and habitat conservation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA OLE) tries to enforce the about 35 laws and regulations passed by Congress. NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) is responsible for carrying out more than 35 federal statutes and regulations. The agency's jurisdiction spans more than 11,500,000 square kilometres (4,400,000 sq mi)s ocean in the U.S.'s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) spread over more than 85,000 miles (137,000 km) of U.S. coastline and the country's 13 National Marine Sanctuaries and its Marine National Monuments. It and the United States Coast Guard are also responsible for enforcing U.S. treaties and international law governing the high seas and international trade. With such a large coverage area, it's no wonder that NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement operates joint enforcement agreements with 27 coastal states and partners with other agencies to help get the job done. Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution grants original jurisdiction to U.S. federal courts over admiralty and maritime matters, however that jurisdiction is not exclusive and most maritime cases can be heard in either state or federal courts under the "saving to suitors" clause. NOAA OLE and NOAA Fisheries works within the laws as enacted in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and the Endangered Species Act. NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement now has 146 special agents and 17 enforcement officers working out of six divisional offices and 52 field offices throughout the United States and U.S. territories. Many have criticized this meager manpower as grossly inadequate.
Overfishing is one of the main problems with many marine fisheries with about 30% of all marine fisheries thought to be over fished. Inadequate data is one of the main restrictions to finding and instituting reasonable and sustainable limits on many fishing stocks. To control overfishing NOAA has instituted the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to set quotas, specify open and closed fisheries and seasons and other limits on what, when and how fish are caught within federal guidelines. With the help of the six regional science centers, eight regional fisheries management councils, the coastal states and territories, and three interstate fisheries management commissions, These councils have had varying amounts of success, but seem to at least have started the rehabilitation of some fisheries. United States Fish and Wildlife Service National Fish Passage Program tries to remove barriers blocking the natural migration of fish to historic habitat used for reproduction and growth.
Since fisheries are the mainstay of some communities as well as being a $38 billion industry there are many conflicting pressures on controlling fishing. More data gathered by more people on: bycatch (caught but unusable fish), fish life cycles, fish habitats at different parts of their life cycle, destructive fish harvesting methods, least damaging ways to harvest fish, etc. are needed to make reasonable choices and set quotas, seasons, etc. necessary to preserve our fisheries. All of this should be set with a maximum of scientific and a minimum of political input. With today's increasingly efficient fishing techniques and fleets, necessary restrictions are the only thing that will assure a continuing source of fishing related jobs and fish products for our descendants—being responsible stewards of our natural resources is often a difficult job but one we can learn and implement.
California shipbuilders have built or repaired ships of all types, from battleships to wood sailing ships, from the mid-1850s till today. In both World War I and World War II several large and small shipyards were built in California especially for war time construction. Ships were built out of steel, wood and when these were in short supply even out of concrete. Many of the shipyards built many different types of ships and only the "major" builds are included here—see references for more detail and the names of ships. Shipyards that built only one ship are not included. California during World War II had many ship building yards. California shipyards also built floating dry docks like the Large Auxiliary Floating Dry Docks and Medium Auxiliary Floating Dry Docks.
|Shipbuilder||Vessel types, notes||California city|
|Collyer, W. (1875–1877)||Ferry||San Francisco|
|Dickie Bros (1875–1883)||Cargo ship||Alameda|
|Dickie, J.W. (1894–1904)||Cargo ship||Alameda|
|Fulton Eng. & Sbldg 1889||Tug||San Francisco|
|Hanson & Fraser||Passenger ship||San Francisco|
|Hay, A. (1887–1890)||Cargo ship||Wilmington|
|Matthew Turner (shipbuilder) Shipyard||Sailing Ships (238 ea.)||Benicia|
|Union Brass & Iron Works 1849–1907||Now: Bethlehem Steel||San Francisco|
|Shipbuilder||Vessel types, notes||California city||Ref|
|Ackerman Boat||Tugs, LCM Mark 3||Newport Beach|||
|Anderson & Cristofani||Minesweepers||San Francisco|||
|Barrett & Hilp||Concrete ships, barges||South San Francisco|||
|Basalt Rock Company||Lighter, rescue ship||Napa|||
|Bendixsen Shipbuilding||Cargo 1876–1910||Fairhaven|||
|Benicia Shipbuilding||Wooden cargo World War I||Benicia|||
|Bethlehem, BAE Systems S. F.||Battleship, tug||San Francisco|||
|Bethlehem San Francisco||Cargo+ 1885–1981||San Francisco|||
|Bethlehem San Pedro||Destroyers||San Pedro|||
|Bethlehem Steel, Risdon Iron Works||Union Brass Iron Works 1849–1907||San Francisco|||
|Bethlehem, BAE Systems San Diego||Minesweepers||San Diego|||
|Campbell Industries||Tuna boats, minesweeper||San Diego|||
|Chandler, Ralph J.||Cargo 1917–1919||Wilmington|||
|Colberg Boat Works||Minesweepers||Stockton|||
|Concrete Ship Constructors||Concrete ships & barges||National City|||
|Consolidated Steel||Small cargo||Wilmington|||
|Craig Shipbuilding||Subs 1917, Cargo 1931||Long Beach|||
|Cryer & Sons||Transport 1942||Oakland|||
|Eureka Shipbuilding||Diesel tugs||Eureka|||
|Fellows & Stewart||Sub chaser, tug, ARB||Wilmington|||
|General Dynamics NASSCO||Cargo, tug||San Diego|||
|Hammond Lumber||Cargo||Humboldt Bay|||
|Hanlon Dry Dock & Shipbuilding||Cargo||Oakland|||
|Harbor Boatbuilding||Minesweepers||Terminal Island|||
|Hickinbotham Brothers||Tank landing barge||Stockton|||
|Hodgson-Greene-Haldeman||Tug, barge||Long Beach|||
|Kaiser Richmond No. 1 Yard||Oceans, Libertys, Victorys||Richmond|||
|Kaiser Richmond No. 2 Yard||Libertys, Victorys||Richmond|||
|Kaiser Richmond No. 3 Yard||Libertys, Victorys||Richmond|||
|Kaiser Richmond No. 4 Yard||Oilers, LSTs||Richmond|||
|Kaiser, California Shipbuilding||Liberty, Victory||Los Angeles|||
|Kneass, G. W.||Fishing, Sub chaser||San Francisco|||
|Kyle & Co.||Tankers, Barge||Stockton|||
|Al Larson Boat Shop||Fishing, sub chaser||San Pedro|||
|Long Beach Shipbuilding||World War I, cargo World War II||Long Beach|||
|Los Angeles Shipbuilding||Cargo||San Pedro|||
|Lynch Shipbuilding||Tug, cargo||San Diego|||
|Mare Island Naval Shipyard||Navy shipyard||Vallejo|||
|Moore Dry Dock Company||Cargo||Oakland|||
|NASSCO||Fishing, LSTs||San Diego|||
|Pacific Bridge Company||Coastal cargo||San Francisco|||
|Pacific Coast Engineering (PACECO)||Tug, barge||Alameda|||
|Pacific Coast Shipbuilding||Cargo||Bay Point|||
|Peyton Company||Sub chaser, tug||Newport Beach|||
|Pollock-Stockton Shipbuilding||Barge, lighter, floating drydocks||Stockton|||
|Rolph Shipbuilding||Cargo (1917-1921)||Fairhaven|||
|San Diego Marine||Minesweepers||San Diego|||
|San Francisco Naval Shipyard||Hunter's Point||San Francisco|||
|South Coast Shipbuilding||Minesweepers||Newport Beach|||
|Southwestern Shipbuilding||Destroyers||San Pedro|||
|Standard Shipbuilding||Wooden ships, coal barges||San Pedro|||
|Stephens Marine||Barge, lighter||Stockton|||
|Stone & Sons, William F.||Founded 1853||Oakland|||
|Todd San Pedro||Cargo ship||San Pedro|||
|Union Brass & Iron Works||See: Bethleham Steel||San Francisco|||
|Union Construction||World War I cargo||Oakland|||
|Van Peer Boat Works||Fishing 1978–2012||Fort Bragg|||
|Victory Shipbuilding||Tugs, U.S. Army & Navy||Newport Beach|||
|Western Pipe & Steel||World War I & II cargo ships||South San Francisco, San Pedro|||
|Wilmington Boat Works||Sub chaser, tug||Wilmington|||
|Clyde W. Wood||Barge, tugs||Stockton|||
|Shipbuilder||Vessel types, notes||California city|
|Bay City Marine||Icebreaking tug||San Diego|
|Berggren Marine||Fishing||Chula Vista|
|DeYoung, A. W.||Patrol boat||Alameda|
|Bob Pluss Welding||Fishing 1980+||Chula Vista|
|Calaska Marine C||Fishing||Marshall|
|Coombs, Walter D.||Tug||Los Angeles|
|Fashion Blacksmith, Inc.||Fishing||Crescent City|
|Guntert & Zimmerman||Derrick barge||Stockton|
|J. & R. Dooley Boat Builders||Fishing||Half Moon Bay|
|Kaiser Cargo, Inc.||Drill ship||Richmond|
|Kelley Boat Works||Fishing||Fort Bragg|
|Mitchel Duane Phares||Fishing||Los Angeles|
|Richmond Steel||Covered lighter||Richmond|
|San Pedro BW||Patrol boat||San Pedro|
|SWATH Ocean Systems, LLC||Research vessel||Chula Vista|
|Transval Electronics Co.||Fishing||El Segundo|
|Wilmington Shipbuilding||Steam schooner||Wilmington|
|Shipbuilder||Vessel types, notes||California city|
|Aetna Iron & Steel||Sludge barge||San Diego|
|American Pipe||Covered lighter||South Gate|
|California Steel||Fuel oil barge||Richmond|
|Garbutt-Walsh||Covered lighter||San Pedro|
|Hunt Marine Service||Tug||Richmond|
|Independent Iron Works||Open lighter||Oakland|
|Moore Equipment||Covered lighter||Stockton|
|Pacific Boat||Barge, deck||Terminal Island|
|Sacramento SB||Open lighter||Sacramento|
|Sausalito Shipbuilding||Barge, gasoline||Sausalito|
|Soule Steel||Lighter||San Francisco|
|Standard Steel||Barge, deck||Los Angeles|
|United Concrete Pipe||Coastal freighter||Los Angeles|
|Wilson Co.||Army launches||Wilmington|
Mare Island Naval Shipyard (MINS) in Vallejo, California, was the premier naval construction site for Navy ships on the West Coast of the United States from about 1855 to 1993.
Before World War II, Mare Island had been in a continual state of build up. By 1941, the yard was expected to be able to repair and paint six to eight large naval vessels at a time. It employed 5593 workers at the beginning of 1939 which rapidly increased to 18,500 by May 1941, with a monthly payroll of $3,500,000(1941). Then came the attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, Mare Island specialized in building up the US Navy's submarine forces in the Pacific as well as building other Naval ships.
When Congress ordered Mare Island closed down in 1993, the shipyard employed 5,800 workers.
Mare Island Naval Shipyard constructed at least eighty-nine seagoing vessels for the United States Navy—including two for the Revenue Cutter Service. Among the more important ships & boats built were: Mare Island Construction
See: Mare Island Naval Shipyard for specific ships.
National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, commonly referred to as NASSCO, is a shipyard in San Diego, and a division of General Dynamics. It is located next to the San Diego Naval base. What became NASSCO was founded as a small machine shop called California Iron Works (CIW) in 1905. The machine shop and foundry were renamed National Iron Works (NIW) in 1922 and moved to the San Diego waterfront to build ships in 1944–1945. In 1949 NIW was renamed National Steel and Shipbuilding Corporation (NASSCO). The shipyard specializes in maintaining and constructing commercial cargo ships and auxiliary vessels such as minesweepers and LSTs, hospital ships, patrol craft, and cargo vessels for the US Navy and the Military Sealift Command. It is the largest new construction shipyard on the West Coast of the United States employing more than 4,600 people and is now the only major ship construction yard on the West Coast of the United States.
See Category:Ships built in San Diego for write-ups on 70 ships built there.
California Shipbuilding Corporation (often called Calship) built 467 Liberty and Victory ships during World War II, including Haskell-class attack transports. The Calship shipyard was created at Terminal Island in Los Angeles as part of the World War II shipbuilding effort. It was initially 8 ways, and increased to 14. After the war, it was liquidated. The ships they built were:
Kaiser Richmond Shipyards, Richmond, California (a Kaiser facility) had four Richmond Shipyards, located in the city of Richmond, California and another shipyard in Los Angeles. Kaiser had still other yards in Washington (state) and other states. They were run by Kaiser-Permanente Metals and Kaiser Shipyards. The Richmond yards were responsible for constructing more Liberty ships during World War II, 747, than any other shipyards in the United States. Liberty ships were chosen for mass production because their somewhat obsolete design was relatively simple and their triple expansion piston steam engine components were simple enough that they could be made by several companies that were not highly needed to manufacture other parts. Ship building was given a high priority for steel and other needed components as the German U-boats till 1944 sunk more ships than could be built by all the shipyards in the United States. The U.S. shipyards built about 5,926 ships in World War II plus over 100,000 more small craft made for the U.S. Army naval components.
Henry J. Kaiser's company had been building cargo ships for the U.S. Maritime Commission in the late 1930s. In 1940 orders for ships from the British government, already at war with Nazi Germany, allowed for growth. Kaiser established his first Richmond shipyard, beginning in December 1940. Eventually building three more in Richmond; each yard with four to eight slips to build ships. Kaiser-Permanente specialized in mass-producing Liberty ships fast and efficiently and that's all they built till 1944 when they switched to the much more complicated Victory ships and built some tugs and Landing Ship, Tank (LSTs) and other specialized ships in the newly built Yard #4.
The following references list individual ships built:
These Liberty ships were completed in two-thirds the amount of time and at a quarter of the cost of the average of all other shipyards. The Liberty ship SS Robert E. Peary was assembled in less than five days as a part of a special competition among shipyards; but by 1944 it was only taking the astonishingly brief time of a little over two weeks to assemble a Liberty ship by standard methods. They pre-assembled major parts of the ship including the hull sections at various locations in the shipyard and then, when needed, moved them with heavy lift cranes to the shipyard launching site where they welded the pre-built sections together. After the ships were launched they were finished to their final configuration while afloat and the launch way was available to start building another ship.
In 1945, the shipyards were shut down as fast as they had started up four years earlier. Much of the shoreline previously occupied by the shipyards is now owned by Richmond, California and has been cleaned up and redeveloped under federally assisted "brownfields" programs. The 'Rosie the Riveter'/Home Front World War II National Historical Park was established on the shipyard site to commemorate and interpret the role of the home front in winning World War II.
|City||Port name||Coordinates||Size[Note 1]||Main use||Ref|
|Antioch, California||San Joaquin Harbor||S||Ship Repairs|||
|Avalon, California||Avalon Harbor||S||Tourists|||
|Avon, California||Port of Avon||S||Tankers|||
|Benicia, California||Port of Benicia||M||Automobiles|||
|Bodega Bay, California||Porto Bodega Marina||VS||Tourists|||
|Crescent City, California||Crescent City Harbor||S||Fishing, Tourists|||
|Crockett, California||Port of Crockett||S||Sugar|||
|Dana Point, California||Dana Point Harbor||S||Fishing, Tourists|||
|El Segundo, California||El Segundo Oil Terminal||VS||Oil Tankers|||
|Eureka, California||Port of Humboldt Bay||M||Forest products, Logs|||
|Fort Bragg, California||Noyo Harbor||S||Fishing, Tourists|||
|Half Moon Bay, California||Pillar Point Harbor||S||Fishing, Tourists|||
|Long Beach, California||Port of Long Beach||VL||Containers, Recreational|||
|Los Angeles||Port of Los Angeles||VL||Containers, Recreational|||
|Martinez, California||Shell Oil Terminal Martinez||S||Oil Tankers, Recreation|||
|Monterey, California||Monterey Harbor||S||Fishing, Tourists|||
|Morro Bay, California||Morro Bay Harbor||S||Fishing, Tourists|||
|Moss Landing, California||Moss Landing||S||Fishing, Tourists|||
|Oakland, California||Port of Oakland||VL||Containers, Recreational|||
|Oceanside, California||Oceanside Harbor||S||Fishing, Tourists|||
|Pittsburg, California||Port of Pittsburg||S||Fishing, Tourists|||
|Port Hueneme, California||Port of Hueneme||M||Fruit Imports, Automobiles|||
|San Luis Obispo, California||Port San Luis Harbor||S||Tourists|||
|Redondo Beach, California||Redondo Beach Harbor||S||Tourists|||
|Redwood City, California||Port of Redwood City||M||Metal Scrap, Cement, Oil|||
|Richmond, California||Port of Richmond (California)||M||Liquid bulk, Automobiles|||
|San Diego||Port of San Diego||L||Cruise ships, Lumber, Auto.|||
|San Diego||San Diego Navy Base||L||Navy, USCG|||
|San Francisco||Port of San Francisco||L||Cruise ships, General Cargo|||
|Santa Barbara, California||Santa Barbara Harbor||S||Tourists, Sterns Wharf|||
|Santa Cruz, California||Santa Cruz Harbor||S||Fishing, tourists|||
|Stockton, California||Port of Stockton||M||Rice, Cement, Bulk cargo|||
|Two Harbors, California||Two Harbors||S||Resort|||
|West Sacramento, California||Port of West Sacramento||S||Rice, Bulk Cargo|||
See also: Ferries of San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay has been served by ferries of all types for over 150 years. Although the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge led to the decline in the importance of most ferries, some passenger ferries are still in use today for both commuters and tourists, including Golden Gate Ferry and San Francisco Bay Ferry.
Ferry service is also available for crossing San Diego Bay from San Diego to Coronado. Passenger ferries also serve the offshore ports of Avalon and Two Harbors on Santa Catalina Island. There is no regular vehicle ferry service to Avalon, however, since the city restricts the use of cars and trucks within its borders.
The Farallon Islands, Channel Islands of California and the rocky mainland coast have historically provided hazardous navigational obstacles to shipping. Intermittent fogs and dangerous winds and storms often led ships to rocks, dangerous beaches and islands to be pounded by the Pacific Ocean's Swell and storms. Fierce currents have always swept in and out of the entrance to the Golden Gate as the tide shifts direction. More than 140 shipwrecks have been reported in the waters of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.
One of the first recorded shipwrecks in California is that of the San Augustin, a richly laden Spanish Manila galleon, which was driven ashore in a gale in 1595 in Drake's Bay, northwest of San Francisco.
The Honda Point Disaster was the largest peacetime loss of U.S. Navy ships. Honda Point, also called Point Pedernales, is located on the seacoast of what is now Vandenberg Air Force Base off Point Arguello on the coast in Santa Barbara County, California. On the evening of 8 September 1923, fourteen ships of Destroyer Squadron 11 were traveling at 20 knots (37 km/h) in formation while navigating by dead reckoning to find the entrance to the sometimes treacherous Santa Barbara Channel. The squadron was led by Commodore Edward H. Watson, on the flagship destroyer USS Delphy. All were Clemson-class destroyers, less than five years old. At 21:00 hours the ships turned east to course 095, supposedly heading into the entrance of Santa Barbara Channel. Seven destroyers ran aground at Honda Point, a few miles from the northern side of the Santa Barbara Channel. Two more destroyers sustained some damage. Twenty three men died.
The state of California keeps a Shipwrecks Database of all known California shipwrecks (1540 ea.) and their best-known latitude and longitude coordinates, ship type, owner, Captain, etc.--when known. The definition of a shipwreck included in the database is rather broad including wrecks by running aground on a shore, rocks or reefs, ship explosions, foundering (filling with water and sinking), hitting snags (sunken trees), on board fires, parted lines, etc.--essentially anything that causes damage to the ship. Many of these ships were repaired and remained in service after their accidents. These ships, their cargoes, and the mooring systems which restrained them are the physical remains of the maritime history of California.
|St. George Reef Light||1883|||
|Battery Point Light||1856|||
|Trinidad Head Light||1871|||
|Trinidad Memorial Light||NA|||
|Table Bluff Light||1894|||
|Humboldt Harbor Light||1856|||
|Cape Mendocino Light||1868|||
|Punta Gorda Light||1912|||
|Point Cabrillo Light||1909|||
|Point Arena Light||1870|||
|Point Reyes Light||1871|||
|Farallon Island Light||1855|||
|Point Bonita Light||1855|||
|Mile Rocks Light||1906|||
|Point Diablo Light||1923|||
|Fort Point Light||1855|||
|Lime Point Light||1883|||
|Point Knox Light||1887|||
|East Brother Light||1874|||
|Alcatraz Island Light||1854|||
|Point Blunt Light||1961|||
|Yerba Buena Light||1873|||
|Relief Lightship Light||1950|||
|Oakland Harbor Light||1890|||
|Carquinez Strait Light||1873|||
|Southampton Shoal Light||1905|||
|Point Montara Light||1874|||
|Pigeon Point Light||1871|||
|Año Nuevo Light||1872|||
|Santa Cruz Light||1870|||
|Santa Cruz Breakwater Light||1964|||
|Point Pinos Lighthouse||1855|||
|Point Sur Lighthouse||1887|||
|Piedras Blancas Light||1875|||
|San Luis Obispo Light||1890|||
|Point Arguello Light||1901|||
|Point Conception Light||1856|||
|Santa Barbara Light||1856|||
|Point Hueneme Light||1874|||
|Anacapa Island Light||1930|||
|Point Vicente Light||1925|||
|Point Fermin Light||1874|||
|Long Beach Light||1949|||
|Los Angeles Harbor Light||1913|||
|Old Point Loma lighthouse||1855|||
|New Point Loma lighthouse||1891|||
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to contain a flashing light to warn of hazards or to aid navigation primarily at night. The lights now flash on and off in a predetermined sequence to identify which light they are. Lighthouses are used as an aid to nighttime or fog-bound navigation for ship pilots and Captains at sea or on inland waterways. They warn of dangerous coastlines, points of land, hazardous shoals, rocks and reefs, or mark ship channels or harbor entrances. Under clear weather a light can be seen at night about 16 miles (26 km). Now in areas of fog the lights are typically combined with a foghorn. Before foghorns were developed cannons and/or large bells (rung by clockworks) were used to warn of fog shrouded hazards. The flashing lights are usually mounted on towers or other prominent structures built on points of land, rocks or shoals near the sea. Some are built on pilings, caissons or mounted on isolated rocks. Some lighthouses are mounted on anchored Lightships when no other economical alternative exists.
In the 1850s the light was emitted from a system of oil or kerosene lamps. The light was concentrated and focused with a system of Fresnel lenses. In the 1850s the light was provided from a burning wick in a whale oil lamp. Later, as kerosene became available, the light was provided by burning kerosene. They typically used an Argand lamp which featured a hollow wick in a glass chimney for better, brighter, combustion with a silvered parabolic reflector behind the lamp to direct and intensify the light output. All oil fired lamps used burning wicks to make the light—giving rise to one of the lighthouse keeper's nickname as "wickies" as they spent a great deal of their time trimming the wicks on their lamps in order to keep them burning brightly with minimum sooting. In the 1850s their lights were rotated using clockworks, usually powered by falling weights attached to chains. Many lighthouses had vertical shafts in them so the weights could drop the height of the tower. This provided a longer time period before the weights would have to be pulled up again by the lighthouse keepers to power the rotation mechanism. Some had to be rewound as often as every two hours.
To keep the clockworks wound, refuel the oil needed to keep the light going and keep the lighthouse equipment and windows clean and maintained the lighthouses were typically manned with a lighthouse keepers of from one to five men or women. Only the fortunate few lighthouses were located where the crews could live in comfort and/or socialize with others. Because these assignments were often in lonely fog bound locations the crews often rotated on and off duty every few months. Families sometimes were paid to run a lighthouse that way the husband, wife and children could keep together.
Starting in the early 1890s the lights were provided by burning acetylene gas generated in situ from calcium carbide reacting with water. The acetylene-gas illumination system could reliably be turned on and off automatically, enabling automated unattended lighthouses to be used. Once electricity became available, often provided by one or more diesel electric generators in remote locations, the light source was gradually converted to electrical power and the clockworks were run by some type of electric motor. For example, of modern changes, the Chatham Light in Chatham, Massachusetts (near the "elbow" of Cape Cod) the light was converted in 1969 from its Fresnel lens light assembly to a Carlisle & Finch DCB-224 rotating light generating over 2.8 million candela. This is visible for over 20 nautical miles on a clear night and has a self-changing bulb assembly to replace burned-out bulbs.
Once widely used, the number of operational lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance and their replacement by modern electronic navigational aids. Nearly all lighthouses today, that are still being used, are automated to the extent possible with power often provided via solar cells and large batteries in inaccessible areas. Today's lighthouses are all run by the U.S. Coast Guard the successor to United States Lighthouse Service. The list of active light houses, lighted beacons, etc. that provide detailed information on aids to navigation with their locations and characteristic signals is currently maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard in its Light List issued each year. California is presently in Eleventh and Thirteenth Coast Guard district.
While the Spanish were in California their shipping was seldom more than ~2.5 ships/year and they almost never had any way to predict when ships would show up and communication was so slow and uncertain that there was seldom any need for something like lighthouses. When nighttime signals were thought appropriate large fire might be built on the beach. Essentially there was no nighttime navigation—it was too hazardous. During nighttime ships kept well off shore till daylight or anchored. Things only improved slightly when Mexico controlled California as the shipping increased to about 25 ships/year—still too few to make lighthouses or even signal fires almost ever needed. Ships still kept well off shore till daylight or anchored.
When the California Gold Rush started and the number of ships per year jumped to over 700 ships per year and lighthouse technology had advanced far enough, mainly through the introduction of the Fresnel lens and Argand lamps, lighthouses started to become much more useful and feasible. Several bad shipwrecks showed that there were many hazards to navigation that needed to be marked at night or in fog. Since from 1790 till well after 1850 the U.S. Federal Government was over 85% financed by import tariffs (also called customs duties or ad valorem taxes) on imported foreign goods of about 25% there was already a steady flow of money collected from California shipping going to Washington. Since all tariffs were paid by foreign goods shipped into the United States since 1790 by the Revenue Marine (predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard) closely monitored ship traffic. Tariffs collected by the Collector of Customs who was charged with inspecting each ship that came into port and collecting the appropriate tariff tax. The first Collector of Customs in California was Edward H. Harrison appointed by General Kearny in 1848. To get some of this revenue flowing back to California, California congressmen started petitioning for lighthouses and Congress soon agreed. By 1850 the East Coast already had a fairly extensive array of light houses so the same technology, developed over decades of use, was transferred to the West Coast of the United States.
The firm of Francis A. Gibbons and Francis Kelly was awarded the contract to build California's first seven lighthouses in 1853. The lighthouse on Alcatraz Island was the first built and was in operation in the San Francisco Bay by 1855—completion was delayed because of the shortage of Fresnel lenses. Over time more than 45 lighthouses were eventually built along the California coast.
Despite the efforts of the brave men and women who were stationed at the Point Reyes lighthouse, ships continued to wreck on the nearby coast. The Life-Saving Service opened the first of two Life Saving Stations built at Point Reyes in 1889. The second station, at Drakes Beach, closed in 1968. The workers stationed there attempted the rescue of victims of storms and shipwrecks. The incredible danger of their job and the dedication they have to their jobs can be sensed in the U.S. Coast Guard's unofficial motto,
The California U.S. Census of 1850 showed 92,597 residents. To this should be added residents from San Francisco, (the largest city in the state then) Santa Clara, and Contra Costa counties whose censuses were burned up or lost and not included in the totals. San Francisco's 1850 U.S. census was lost in one of their periodic fires that swept the city six times in their first few years. Newspaper accounts in 1850 (Alta Californian) gives the population of San Francisco city/county at 21,000; The special California state Census of 1852 finds 6,158 residents of Santa Clara county, 2,786 residents of Contra Costa County and 36,134 in the fast-growing San Francisco city/county. The "corrected" California U.S. 1850 Census is over 120,000. The 1850 U.S. Census shows 7,765 Hispanic residents that were born in California. See: U.S. Seventh Census 1850: California which includes the special 1852 California state census