The Native American population in California increased in the years that resulted into Spanish and Mexican periods in California. There was extreme hunting, fishing activities and fertile lands that led to the increase of the Native American populations. However, the lives and cultures of the Native Americans were changed by the European colonization during the Spanish and the Mexican periods forever. California was a home to a large number of Native Americans, which was the largest population to be found anywhere in North America. These people lived a life of abundance because of the favorable climate in California and remarkably few wars between the tribes. However, this life was changed by the arrival of the Europeans. Three different countries' flags flew over California and each country caused much damage, leading to the decrease in number of the large population. The Spanish group was the first Europeans to arrive in California, but they withdrew in the early 1500s after carrying out some explorations and returned back again in 1769.

During the Spanish and Mexican periods, more than 500 land grants had been issued to californios by the New Spain and Mexico governments. These landowners utilized their land through grazing and farming. However, after 1848, a new set of laws that most of the time went against the Mexican landowners was enacted by the government of United State. The Mexicans legal claim to the land was highly challenged by the new Native American settlers, who took a significant advantage because they were able to communicate the new language of the land. They were now cumbersome with the legal processes, and they had the authority of the new government to provide them the support needed.

During 1769, a group of catholic priests and Spanish officials established a mission project that was referred to as the sacred expedition by the Spanish. The mission was established with the intention of converting the natives' people to Christianity and to educate them to stay as agriculturalists in the European way. The Franciscans were successful in their mission, which resulted into, slavery by the native Californians, whose effort was for the beneficial of the coffers of the Catholic Church. The Spanish empire by 1800 was going down economically with the pressure from both France and England. Mexico revolted, and in 1821, it succeeded by achieving its independence. California found itself under the control of Mexican government because it was then part of Mexico. The Mexican lawmakers initially had the plan of closing the down the missions in order to distribute their land and resources evenly to the natives. However, implementation of these plans was not well established, and thus resulted into the ejection of the natives from the missions that they had been used to rely on. This left the mission's lands and property to be under the control of a wealthy Mexican ranchers the californios. The natives were left again with no choice but to work on the ranches of the Mexican as slaves or to shift to the most unbearable parts of California (Starr 68).

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The Spanish and Mexican period impacted the California's natives badly. The large population of the California natives was lowered terribly. Though the damage was worse, it was also inadvertent because neither the Mexicans nor the Spanish was after waging a war against the Californians. The same could be said of the Americans. As the gold rush started in the early months of 1848, white Americans began coming into the state with the intention of eliminating the natives, whom they saw as a potent threat and a competition for the gold. The new California legislature adopted the government and protection of Indian Act in 1850. This Act was adopted to regulate the employment of natives, proving harsh limits on the jobs they were to hold particularly prohibiting them from gold mining. Destructions made on California's natives by the Spanish, the Mexican, and the Americans took along period to heal. California Indians dwelled on poorly built reservations throughout the nineteenth century up to the twentieth century. The natives decided to invest in businesses as casino owners in the 1980s and 1990s in order for them to survive and restore back their lost property.


California was under the Spanish rule until 1769, when a sacred expedition was established to convert people into Catholicism by the priest. The mission project was used as a method to make advancement and secure the colonial frontiers by Christianizing and Hispanicizing the native people. With few numbers of settlers, Spain used the natives to get new lands and provide labor force in order to maintain its colonies. As the mission declined, it paved the way for the rise of the extensive ranching along the California. The New Mexican distributed more than 500 land grants to influential families as away of motivating the development of agriculture. All the prominent families had an opportunity to secure grants for each family member, leading to the elite class of ranchers who had the authority to control hundreds of thousands of prime acres. The californios kept themselves apart from non-landowners Mexicans and natives, marrying each other and with the American and European entrepreneurs who began to settle in California in 1830s. However, all these fortunes of the elite californios were reversed by the United States Mexican war. They lost their power, authority, and land.

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