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The history of Sierra spans a period of more than three millenia. The first human inhabitants in Sierra arrived some 13,000-15,000 years ago and for millenia, various tribes, peoples, and civilizations emerged and disappeared across the region. By the time the first Europeans arrived to Sierra, there were more than 70 Native American tribes living near the Pacific Southwest, Great Basin, and the Sonoran Desert.
Beginning in the 16th century, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Russian expeditions explored, and later settled the Sierran coast with the establishment of colonial towns and interaction with the indigenous populations. An extensive system of Catholic missions were established under Spanish rule, and the population of Sierra grew as Europeans immigrated to the region with the promise of cheap land and supplies. In 1812, the Viceroyalty of New Spain dissolved following the victory and independence of the Mexican Empire. Under Mexican rule, Sierra continued to grow and develop under the Mexican rancho system. However, the increased influx of American, Brazorian, and British settlers in Sierra and their resistance to assimilate, coupled with the grievances of the established French and Dutch minorities led to high tensions. In 1846, the Mexican-American War broke out and Sierra's non-Mexican foreigners, backed by the Spanish-speaking Californios rebelled against Mexico and formed the California Republic. Following Mexico's defeat, the Republic gained independence before a decade of instability and corruption forced the draft of a new constitution. In 1858, following the promulgation of an agreed-upon constitution, the Kingdom of Sierra was formed as a federal constitutional monarchy with 22 provinces.
The new kingdom struggled to maintain its independence as international interests sought to control Sierra. Rapid industrialization and political reforms helped modernize the nation, and imperialist endeavors helped form national identity. The Kingdom's participation in the War of Contingency established Sierra as a strong, independent nation, worthy of acknowledgement and legitimacy within Anglo America. The Kingdom faced an existential crisis during the Sierran Civil War in the late 1870s when republican forces in the Styxie revolted against the Sierran monarchy and formed the Second California Republic. The Civil War lasted four years, costing nearly 30,000 lives before the Republic ultimately failed, and the Kingdom prevailed. Following the war, Sierra's continued industrialization and immigration from Asia led to various labor and nativist movements. Around the turn of the century, Sierra experienced a profound social and political revolution during the Progressive Era and the Sierran Cultural Revolution, a time period that defined Sierran culture as it is known today. The civil rights of ethnic and religious minorities were greatly expanded and the conciliation between Western and Eastern culture became part of Sierran society. Initially during World War I, Sierra maintained a policy of neutrality and profited off by providing supplies to the Allied forces, but it alongside other nations in Anglo America eventually joined, defeating the Central Powers. When the Great Depression hit, the Sierran economy suffered but recuperated into World War II when the demand for production increased once more, and sweeping welfare reforms eased the Kingdom's economic woes. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in the Sierran territory of Hawaii, Sierra entered the war with the Allies, and saw increased cooperation with its Anglo-American neighbors and the Europeans. After the war, the Sierran government suffered a significant drop in public trust due to Sierra's involvement with the secretly guarded Manhattan Project, fallout that would come to be known as the Great Basin controversy. In 1950, the Kingdom passed the Charter, which promoted the political statuses of former Sierran territories: the Deseret and Hawaii as fellow constituent countries with Sierra.
During the Cold War, Sierra shifted away from its traditional semi-isolationism, and moved towards a pan-American foreign policy, eventually joining the Conference of American States in 1965. Sierra accepted thousands of refugees from countries affected by the Cold War proxy wars including those from South Vietnam and Korea, and sent troops to fight in these wars as well. In the 1970s and 80s, Sierra experienced a shift in cultural and social attitudes on issues regarding abortion, homosexuality, and feminism. Following the end of the Cold War, Sierra reaffirmed its relationship with the Anglo-American states, becoming markedly more interventionist in global affairs. Maturing economically and politically, Sierra emerged into the 21st century as the 5th largest economy in the world, and a regional power. However, Sierra faced new challenges of terrorism, economic crisis, inequality, resurgent republicanism, and climate change. In the 2010s, disputes between Sierra and its neighbor, Mexico escalated, reflecting a new period of a tense political climate in the region. In June 2015, King Smith II abdicated the throne in favor of his daughter, Angelina II. The young queen's infant reign was mired with a new wave of republican sentiments, fueled by the regency of her great-uncle, The Prince Elder George, and then the assassination of Prime Minister Steven Hong whose death triggered a breakdown in political and racial relations in the Styxie and other regions. The Kingdom of Sierra currently consists of three constituent countries, eight territories, and two crown dependencies and is governed as a semi-presidential democracy with a constitutional monarchy with Angelina II as its head of state.
- 1 Pre-Columbian era
- 2 European exploration
- 3 Spanish colonial period (1769–1821)
- 4 Mexican period (1822–1846)
- 5 Californian period (1847–1858)
- 6 Sierran period (19th century)
- 6.1 Early years of the Kingdom
- 6.2 Indian conflict
- 6.3 Sierran Civil War
- 6.4 Sierran imperialism
- 6.5 Industrialization, labor, and nativist movements
- 7 Sierran period (20th century)
- 8 Sierran period (21st century)
- 9 See also
It is commonly accepted by historians that the original peoples of the Americas originated from Siberia and other parts of Asia and crossed the Bering land strait approximately 16,500 years ago. The bridge formed as a result of falling sea levels were the result of climatic changes in the Quaternary glaciation. The early Paleoamericans spread throughout the Americas, forming a diverse plethora of cultures, civilizations, and tribes, including as much as a hundred in Sierra at one point. The earliest archaeological evidence showing signs of human habitation in Sierra are the remains of the Arlington Springs Man on Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands. The remains date back to the most recent ice age, the Wisconsin glaciation, some 13,000 years ago.
Various sources estimate that 100,000 to 350,000 natives inhabited Sierra. Prominent Paleo-Indian groups arose during the Archaic Period including those of Picosa tradition. The Ancient Puebloans (the Anasazi) were one such ancient group that originated from the Picosa tradition, and covered a territory that included present-day Apache, Flagstaff, the southern Deseret, and the Coloradan cantons of Brazoria. Other major ancient Indian civilization that rose to prominence were the Hohokam and Mogollon of present-day Cornerstone, Flagstaff, Maricopa, Sonora, and Pacífico Norte. These groups were noted for their extensive irrigation systems which sustained large agricultural projects, elaborate pottery, and distinct architecture.
Most Sierran natives lived as hunter-gatherers who lived in a variety of different environments, climates, and geography. Those further in the north along the coast and mountainous areas practiced forest gardening and even started controlled fires (using fire-stick farming methods) in the woodlands to sustain their agricultural habits. The deliberate burning of the land prevented larger, catastrophic fires from occurring and revitalized plant growth that attracted consumable animals. Natives along the coast utilized boats for transport and had diets centered around fishing. Compared to the groups in the desert, the development of advanced agriculture never arose for the coastal and mountainous Indians who had an abundance of food.
Just prior to the arrival of the Europeans, there were as many as 70 tribes interspersed throughout Sierra including the Chumash, the Pomo, and the Navajo who were well-organized, lived in complex hierarchical societies, and engaged in trade and diplomacy.
European knowledge of Sierra prior to its exploration was heavily speculative, and interest was enhanced by fantastical accounts depicted in the 16th-century Spanish romance novel Las Sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián) by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. Well-received and a commercial success in Spain and the rest of the Europe, the novel was set in the mythical island of California where black Amazon warriors and griffins led by Queen Califia controlled large swaths of gold and weapons. Various editions were produced, with the earliest known version published in 1510.
When the Spanish began exploring the Americas and reached the Baja California peninsula, which was rumored to be ruled by Amazonians, the Spanish named it California, erroneously believing the peninsula was an island. Despite the exploration of the west coast of Mexico by Francisco de Ulloa that conclusively proved that Baja California was a peninsula, the belief that the peninsula was an island persisted in Europe. Mapmakers began using the name "California" to refer to all the unexplored lands of the western North American coast.
Cortés' expedition (1535)
In 1535, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés landed on the southeastern region of the Baja California peninsula in what now constitutes a part of the Sierran territory of Pacífico Sur. He named the peninsula, Santa Cruz Island and founded the settlement of La Paz. He had accompanied two previous expeditions around La Paz Bay from 1533-34. Having heard of stories and rumors by natives that a country northwest of Mexico was populated by the Amazonian women described by de Montalvo existed, Cortés sought to find it in search of its alleged gold. Similar rumors of the "Seven Cities of Gold" also circulated in Spanish circles, further piquing interest, and led the Spaniards to believe that these two concepts may be the same. Although the Spaniards would never find these mythical cities, knowledge and curiosity in the land beyond would grow.
Cabrillo's expedition (1542)
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo is widely believed to be the first European to explore the coast of Sierra. A navigator of either Spanish or Portuguese origin (his nationality remains up to debate), Cabrillo sailed to Sierra under the commission of the Spanish crown. Cabrillo was part of Cortés' expeditionary forces and was one of the wealthiest conquistadors following his mining successes in Guatemala. His colleague, Francisco de Ulloa, who had been sent by Cortés, discovered the Gulf of California and traveled as far north as the 30th parallel. Under the orders of New Spain's viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza, Cabrillo was to lead an expedition under the Pacific coast in search of a viable route to China or to find the mythical Strait of Anián that was supposedly connected the Pacific Ocean to Hudson Bay.
On June 1542, Cabrillo left the Mexican port of Navidad with three ships: the flagship galleon San Salvador, smaller La Victoria, and fragata San Miguel. After moving up along the coast of the Baja California peninsula, he reached in what is now known as San Diego Bay in the September of the same year. Holding a brief Christian service on the shores on September 28, he named the bay, "San Miguel", after one of his ships. About a week later, on October 7, he reached the Santa Catalina Island, which he named the "San Salvador" after his flagship. He and his crew encountered a large group of armed natives whom he claimed he "befriended". Passing along San Clemente Island, Cabrillo named the isle, "Victoria" in honor of the third ship of Cabrillo's fleet.
Cabrillo visited and landed on several more bays as he traveled northward, among these including Point Conception and Point Reyes by November 13. Reaching as far north as the Russian River, the fall showers forced Cabrillo's fleet to turn back. Coming down the coast, Cabrillo missed the entrance of San Francisco Bay, but was instead, able to visit Monterey Bay, naming it, "Bahia de los Pinos" (Bay of the Pines). On November 23, 1542, Cabrillo returned to Santa Catalina Island to stay for the winter and to repair the ships. Around Christmas Eve, some of his men were caught in a hostile confrontation with Tongva warriors, forcing Cabrillo to intervene. As he stepped out of his boat, he stumbled on a jagged rock and sustained a deep slash on his thigh that quickly got infected and developed into gangrene. A little more than a week later, on January 3, 1543, Cabrillo died and was buried on the island. Cabrillo's men disembarked once more, under the command of Bartolomé Ferrer, who led one final northward exploration as far north as Rogue River in southern Columbia. Ferrer completed the expedition upon their arrival back to Navidad on April 14, 1543.
Drake's expedition (1579)
Francis Drake, an English privateer and navigator, was set on a journey to circumnavigate the globe under the command of Queen Elizabeth I of England. As he traveled along the Americas, he raided and sacked Spanish settlements. When he moved up north along the Sierran coast, Drake hoped to intercept a Spanish treasure ship coming back from Manila. While he failed to encounter any such ship along the way, it has been reputed that Drake went as far north as the 38th parallel, and landing on the coast of Sierra on June 17, 1579. Repairing his ships and even befriending the local Coast Miwok, Drake claimed Sierra in the name of the Holy Trinity for England and named it Nova Albion (Latin for "New Britain"). The exact location of the bay Drake landed on was deliberately kept a secret, to prevent the Spanish from discovering it, presumably since Drake left a small group of men there to start an English colony. Embellishing his maps, nonetheless, all first-hand accounts and records of the voyage were lost when the Whitehall Palace was burned. Drakes Bay, a small bay to the east of Point Reyes has been officially declared by the Sierran government as the site of Drake's landing although the accuracy on whether or not if the bay was the bay Drake landed on is not definitive.
Vizcaíno's expedition (1602)
In 1593, the Spanish crown granted Sebastián Vizcaíno the right to pearl fishing on western shorelines of the Gulf of California. Sailing to La Paz in 1596, he attempted to establish a settlement but poor logistics and a fire led to its abandonment. In 1601, Viceroy Gaspar de Zúñiga commissioned Vizcaíno to locate any harbors in Alta California suitable for Spanish galleons to dock in upon their journey back from Manila, en route to Acapulco. Given the map produced by Cabrillo, Vizcaíno led a three-ship fleet with the San Diego (the flagship), San Tomás, and the Tres Reyes. On November 10, 1602, Vizcaíno arrived to San Diego Bay before sailing northward and giving many geographic features their modern names such as the islands of the Channel Islands (Santa Catalina and Santa Barbara for example), Point Conception, the Santa Lucia Mountains, Point Lobos, Carmel River, and Monterey Bay. The Tres Reyes, under the command of Martín de Aguilar was separated from Vizcaíno's fleet and continued up northward to Cape Blanco and possibly Coos Bay in Columbia. Aguilar and his men died their way back to Acapulco, presumably by shipwreck. Vizcaíno however, went on to head the Spanish diplomatic mission to Japan following the cancellation of his voyage along Sierra and his own plans to start a colony in Monterey.
Brouwer's expedition (1644)
In 1644, following a successful expedition in Valdivia, Chile, Hendrik Brouwer, who had served as Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, sailed up to Sierra to establish a base similar to Valdivia to trade gold and provide refuge for ships returning from Asia. With the Dutch Republic and Spain at war, Brouwer sought to establish a Dutch colony within the sparsely inhabited Spanish territory of Alta California with the hope of ultimately displacing it. Arriving in what is now the province of Plumas, Brouwer established the colony of New Holland with a fort complete with surrounding, sustainable farmland along the northern Sierran coastline. While Brouwer's efforts in Valdivia would fail by 1645, the geographic seclusion of Brouwer's colony would keep it free from Spanish rule and under de facto Dutch control until the late 1830s when Mexican authorities finally took formal control of the land. Over the course of two centuries, small ships carrying Dutch settlers arrived to New Holland, the last Dutch legacy in North America.
Bougainville's expedition (1767)
In 1767, French admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville received permission by Louis XV to circumnavigate the globe. Leading two ships with a combined total of 339 crewmen and 1 woman (Jeanne Baré): the Boudeuse and the Étoile, Bougainville left Nantes on November 15, 1766. Visiting the Falkland Islands and Tahiti first, the French expeditionary force traveled up north to Sierra to tour the Spanish colonies there. Visiting San Diego Bay and the Channel Islands, Bougainville was impressed by natural geography and climate of Sierra, and, on the permission of the local Spanish authorities, left 30 of his men behind on Santa Catalina Island (Ilê Saint-Catherine in French) to form a French colony. Spain and France, which were on friendly terms at the time, would later administer the Channel Islands as a condominium. In 1786, Jean-François de Galaup, a French naval official who accompanied the 1767 Bougainville expedition would return to visit the French-Spanish condominium along with prospective settlers including les filles du roi. Most of the inhabitants of the Sierran territory of the Channel Islands today are descendants of the settlers from Bougainville and Galaup's expeditions.
Spanish colonial period (1769–1821)
Up until 1769, Spanish activity on the Sierran mainland remained minimal with more focus placed on the Baja California peninsula. Juan María de Salvatierra, a Jesuit missionary, established the first of thirty missions in the Los Pacifícos (Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó).
Towards the last quarter of the 18th century, the Spanish government began establishing its first settlements and created the province of the Las Californias within the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The Channel Islands along with a few settlements along the southern Sierran coast (Gold Coast and Orange) were co-administered by Spain and France. Alarmed by the advances of the Russian and British Empires in North America, Charles III deemed it necessary that Spain push settlement further north of Sierra. However, Spanish advancement failed to reach or realize the presence of the enemy Dutch in New Holland, and since colonial affairs in Sierra remained a low priority at the time, much of the development was left at the hands of the Spanish missionaries and their troops.
Along their push, the Spanish established 21 missions as a demonstration of Spanish claims to Sierra. The first quarter of the 19th century saw the continued expansion of Spanish California with the settlement of missionaries, ranchers, soldiers, and farmers from Loreto to San Diego to the northern fringes of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Adams–Onís Treaty helped establish the northern boundaries of New Spain and the modern northern border of Sierra.
Through the Spanish colonial period, the government actively encouraged and sponsored civilians to settle Sierra, giving out large land grants known as ranchos, with grazing rights, allowing livestock to be raised. Many landowners became wealthy and attempted to imitate the established Spanish gentry, and even adopted the honorific title, Don. Most of the workers on the ranchos were Native Sierran natives, many of whom were underpaid, or not paid at all. When the Mexicans achieved independence, the rancho system in Sierra was carried on over.
Portolá expedition (1769–1770)
In 1768, Gaspar de Portolá, the newly appointed Governor of Alta California, was called to command an expeditionary force by José de Gálvez, New Spain's inspector general, to explore and map the inland parts of the Pacific West Coast. Gálvez had leaned about King Carlos III's desire to explore the coast, and entrusted Portolá, a man of previous military experience as a captain of the dragoons of the Regiment of Spain, to lead the expedition. As European leaders began to realize the importance of the coast and its impact on maritime trade, exploration and settlement of California could serve as a buffer zone for any possible invasion from the north by the Russians and the British.
In addition to the expedition, the king sought to replace the Alta Californian Jesuits with the Franciscans following his decision to expel the Jesuit order from the Spanish kingdom. Accompanied by the Franciscan monks, Juan Crespí and St. Junípero Serra, O.F.M., Portolá traveled from Mexico, up Baja California to Alta California, arriving in San Diego on June 29, 1769 where they established the Presidio of San Diego and San Diego de Alcalá. Seeking to reach the Monterey that explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno had described, Portolá passed by modern-day Porciúncula, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara. Although the group eventually did reach Monterey, they did not recognize it as the description by Vizcaíno did not seem to match precisely. Despite this, the group proceeded on. On October 31, Portolá and his group became the first Europeans known to view San Francisco Bay. On November 11, Portolá and the group unanimously concluded that they must have had passed Monterey already and that it was time to head back. Returning by January 24, 1770, five of Portolá's men were missing, and much of the expedition force was malnourished and in poor health.
A second expedition was conducted later in 1770 with the hopes of finally locating Monterey Bay and establishing a settlement there. Leaving on April 17, the Portolá crew arrived to Monterey on May 24 without any injuries or illnesses save for the eye infections Pedro Fages and Juan Crespí acquired. There, they found a cross they had laid in the first expedition which included fresh sardines and meat before it. They later encountered friendly Indians and exchanged gifts. Crespí wrote: "This is the port of Monterey without the slightest doubt." Meanwhile on April 16, Juan Pérez, captain of the San Antonio sailed to Monterey from San Diego with St. Junípero and Miguel Costansó. After being forced south to Baja California, Pérez missed the Monterey Bay by 100 miles, reaching the Farallon Islands instead. On May 31, they finally joined the Portolá party which had arrived a week before. Returning to the hill with the cross, Portolá founded the Presidio of Monterey there and Serra founded Mission San Carlos Borromeo. The mission was later relocated a few miles to the south in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Anza explorations (1774–1776)
Having heard of the successes of Portolà, Juan Bautista de Anza proposed to lead another expedition to the Spanish king in 1772. Approved, De Anza and his 20 soldiers, 3 church priests, and service animals left Tubac Presidio near Tuscon, Maricopa on January 8, 1774 and reached Mission San Gabriel Arcángel on March 22. De Anza arrived to Monterey, the capital of Alta California, on April 19 and returned to Tubac by late May. Impressed by his expedition, the Viceroy and King promoted De Anza to lieutenant-colonel, and ordered him to lead a group of colonists for settlement purposes.
Setting off again on October 1775, De Anza and his group arrived to San Gabriel in January 1776 although many of the colonists had suffered from the winter march. The route De Anza led his group through today has been honored as the Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail.
After completing his trip to Monterey, Anza continued up north with Father Pedro Font and twelve others along an inland route to San Francisco Bay as described by Portolà. On March 25, 1776, De Anza reached Stevens Creek, noting the estuary led to the bay. De Anza later located the future sites for the Presidio of San Francisco and Mission San Francisco de Asis on March 28. The establishment of these two buildings would be done by De Anza's deputy, José Joaquín Moraga, who stayed behind in San Francisco following De Anza's departure. Returning to Monterey, he located the future sites of Mission Santa Clara de Asis and San José de Guadalupe (modern-day San Jose). Concluding his expedition, De Anza journeyed to Mexico City where he would be promoted to Governor of Santa Fe de Nuevo México.
The Spanish mission system in Sierra was primarily established to ensure Spanish claims to the territory with the secondary purpose of spreading the Catholic faith to the local natives and "civilizing" them. The missions also served as outposts for future Spanish settlers and assimilated tax-paying natives. To sustain the missions, the construction and maintenance of these missions relied on the forced labor of the natives under the system of peonage with Franciscan supervision and oversight. While the missions introduced European fruits, vegetables, animals, ranching, and technology into the region, they also brought the suppression of the natives' culture and disease, the latter of which decimated populations of local tribes.
Upon the establishment of each mission, it was intended that within ten years, the administration of the mission would be transferred to a secular clergy and the land owned by the mission would be distributed amongst the natives. This policy was largely successful and done with the more advanced tribes in Mexico, Central America, and Peru. However, Serra and the other church fathers deemed that the acclimatization of the Alta California natives would require a longer period and none of the missions ever attained complete self-sufficiency. All of the missions required continued funding from Spain for ongoing operation.
Typically, a mission housed two Franciscans and six to eight soldiers, along with a neophyte population ranging from 50 to 1,000 in a nearby village or quarters known as pueblos. At some of the larger missions, a military presidio was located on the mission grounds. In total, Alta California had four presidios: San Francisco, Monterey, Porciúncula, and Santa Barbara.
The primary route of land transportation was the El Camino Real (Spanish for The Royal Road), a 600-mile trail that connected all 21 missions of Alta California. Each mission was deliberately spaced approximately 30 miles apart from each other so that travel in between only took a day on horseback. The El Camino Viejo (The Old Road) was later established as a more direct route between Porciúncula and San Jose and San Francisco Bay. Light transportation, foot transportation, and horseback riding was ideal along these trails but transporting heavier, larger volumes of material and freight required water travel.
Following the independence of Mexico, the Mexican government secularized the missions and many of the mission converts left, while Spanish-born clergy were expelled from the land. Most of the missions would not be returned to the Catholic Church and their respective orders until the California Republic restored ownership soon after achieving independence.
Dutch and French settlements
Although French presence and control of the land was accepted by the Spanish through the joint administration of the Channel Islands and several mainland plots (as the French-Spanish Condominium), knowledge of the Dutch colony, New Holland in northern Sierra was kept in secret until the terminal end of Spanish rule of the territory.
New Holland, established by Dutch explorer Hendrik Brouwer, lasted nearly two centuries without hindrance by Spanish or Mexican authorities. Under the direct control of the Dutch West India Company, initial settlement and growth of the colony was slow, given the geographic isolation of New Holland and obvious concerns of Spanish discovery. In order to access New Holland, Dutch ships had to navigate as far as 200 miles off the shore of southern Sierra to avoid detection, and even then, the risk of encountering of a Spanish trade ship was a significant threat to the colony's integrity. New Holland was important to Dutch trade with Japan, and was slated to become the Dutch's main colony along the Pacific coast, which the eventual hope of capturing Peru, Chile, and possibly all of Sierra from the rival Spaniards.
After a few years of low building supplies and material, fresh imports from the Netherlands along with new settlers including women and children enabled New Holland to grow from a small fort of 50 to a colony of 500 within a decade. Interaction between the Dutch colonists and the local native tribes (the Yuki, Pomo, Cahto, and Wintun) was generally friendly, although there are documented instances and accounts of violent episodes and provocations from both sides.
Bringing their faith over, the de facto official church of New Holland was the Dutch Reformed Church, which already had quasi-official status in the Netherlands. Today, the New Hollander Reformed Congregations (NHRC), the official branch of the Dutch Reformed in Sierra, directly originates from the New Hollander colonial church.
In the French-Spanish Condominium, the French and Spanish governments agreed to administrate the Channel Islands and several land plots in the present-day Gold Coast and Orange together. At the time of the Condominium's foundation, the two nations, united under a common royal house (as a Pacte de Famille), had enjoyed amicable relations for over a century since the signage of the Treaty of Pyrenees which ended the Franco-Spanish War in 1659.
In practice, the Condominium was almost entirely under the purview and maintenance by the French government, and the majority-French colonists themselves exercised a considerable extent of autonomy. With the arrival of French officer Jean-François de Galaup and his passengers of French settlers, including les filles du roi (the "King's Daughters", a group of orphaned young women seeking husbands in the New World), the growth of the French colony on the Channel Islands exploded. Most of the colonists in the Channels concentrated on Santa Catalina Island (Ilê-Saint-Catherine), the largest settlement in the colony being Bougainville, located on the just north of present-day Avalon in the southeastern end of the island around Avalon Bay (Baie d'Avalon). Although supplies and food only required monthly shipments from the Sierran mainland, the lack of freshwater on the islands was a daily challenge that was further exacerbated as the island population grew. Fishing and whaling became the primary commercial activities of the Condominium, and while the rest of Alta California remained largely undeveloped and uninhabited by civilians, the Condominium became a true colony in its own right.
France ceded all control of the Condominium and Tuscany to Spain in 1802 through the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso. In return, Spain agreed to retrocede Louisiana back to France. Although the cessation was negotiated without the consideration of the Condominium colonists, Spain largely left the colonists alone following full acquisition, provided that they learned basic Spanish and maintained their Catholic faith. To govern themselves, the colonists founded the Citizens' Council and started a colony in the other islands including the settlement of New Bourbon in San Clemente.
When Mexico rebelled and achieved its independence against Spain, Mexico gained all the lands formally claimed under New Spain. Although the French on the Channel Islands were ambivalent to the change and acquiesced to Mexican control, New Holland remained free of Mexican contact until 1820 before Mexico forcefully seized control by 1829. By then, the Netherlands had abandoned its claim to the colony and the Dutch were allowed to stay as long as they agreed to become Mexican citizens, converted to Catholicism, and learned Spanish. These demands were often unenforceable given the great distance of New Holland from the rest of Mexico. Despite the seizure, the in-flow of non-Spanish-speaking settlers in the region along with Mexican negligence over the Alta California territory allowed the Dutch to continue carrying on their lives.
One of the primary reasons to settle Alta California was to prevent the further advancement of Russian colonization and possible encroachment by the British. Fur trappers in association of the Russian-American Company, a chartered company sponsored by the Tsar. Although most of the company's operations were based further north in present-day Alyeska, the Russians established one single permanent settlement in Sierra: Fort Ross (Форт-Росс), in Bodega Bay, Plumas, several miles south of New Holland. Founded by Ivan Kuskov, Kuskov authored the papers of his namesake (the Kuskov Papers) which documented Northern Sierra and intrigued the Russian public and the Imperial Throne. The Russians established in Alyeska would grow and see its territory expanded further south into the North American mainland through the proclamation of the Ukase of 1821. While the Russians in Sierra remained strictly based at Fort Ross, Russian fur trappers sailed as far south as San Diego to hunt sea otters, whose fur were a highly-prized commodity in Russia.
As their Dutch neighbors to the north, interference from the Spanish and later the Mexican was minimal although Spain was fully aware of Russian presence and perceived them to be a threat. In exchange for maintaining the secrecy of the Dutch as well as fur in New Holland, the Russians were provided supplies and food by the Dutch to support the fort. Some of this aid would be transported to the Russian settlements in Alyeska. In 1822, shortly before the independence of Mexico, Spanish vessels attempted to forcibly capture Fort Ross from the Russians before retreating. The incident triggered the Russo-Spainish War which carried into the Mexican period when the newly independent Mexican Empire and Russia fought against Spain over the Pacific Northwest. Much of this fighting would initially concentrate around the Alta California coasts before being forced upward into Oregon.
Mexican period (1822–1846)
Around the turn of the new century, the strength and influence of Spain over its New World territories had begun to wane. With the occupation of Spain by Napoleon, Spain's weakened control over its overseas territories allowed nationalist movements to flourish. Napoleon had forcefully removed the ruling Bourbons from Spain and installed his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, an act that was almost universally rejected by the New Spanish colonies. The Spanish governments formed in response to French occupation, the disjointed peninsular juntas, were also soundly rejected, as was the Spanish regency (Supreme Junta) that later formed that consolidated the juntas into one entity.
Without a clear alternative to the king, as well as dissatisfaction with representation within the Supreme Junta, the Spanish territories postulated that there was a natural retroversion of the sovereignty to the people. In 1808, the Supreme Junta dissolved although not without first using Spanish American money to pay off the French for its loss in the Battle of Ocaña. With the French taking over southern Spain, the Junta fled to Cádiz where the Council of Regency of Spain and the Indies was created. Skeptical of the government's ability to survive without the imminent threat of French occupation, the Spanish Americans started creating their own juntas, among these being Mexico, to preserve their independence from the French.
Mexico, which had previously attempted a rebellion in 1799, tried again to declare independence when the ayuntamiento (city council) of Mexico City declared sovereignty over Mexican territory with the support of viceroy José de Iturrigaray, in light of the political chaos in Spain. While the organizers of the coup were jailed, conspirators elsewhere began to collaborate. On September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Criollo priest in Querétaro implored the people of the town of Dolores to take action, a speech that came to be known as the Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores). Thereafter, Hidalgo and Spanish captain Ignacio Allende started their march, killing any Spaniards they encountered, thus starting the Mexican War of Independence.
Throughout the war, Alta California remained largely out of the conflict, although some Californios voluntarily joined the war effort on both sides. After eleven years of war, Mexico gained independence on September 27, 1821 and automatically acquired all of the lands of New Spain as its successor state including Sierra. Due to the small population of Alta California, it was listed as a "territory" instead of a constituent state under the 1824 Constitution of Mexico when Mexico became a republic in 1823.
Under Mexican administration, the Spanish mission system gradually became obsolete, as the Mexican government neglected financing and supporting it. In 1827, the Mexican Congress passed a law declaring all Spanish-born individuals as "illegal immigrants" and ordered their departure. As most of the mission's clergy were Spaniards, they left, severely reducing the number of individuals managing and living in the missions. In 1833, Mexico passed a law officially secularizing the missions, thereby officially ending the system. Many Franciscans took with them the valuables stored in the missions while civilians plundered what remained. The Indians who lived on the missions were abandoned in the process, and many of them returned to their tribes. The missions would be left alone until the Californian government decided to preserve them for their historical value in the 1840s. In the Channels, resistance against secularization by the French-speaking Channeliers resulted in the Mexican government inflicting stricter policies on the Channels and dissolved the Citizens' Council in favor of direct control by the Governor of Mexican California. Several revolts led to Mexican attempts to repress the Channeliers, particularly their use of French, actions that would encourage the Channeliers to side with the Bear Flaggers during the Mexican-American War and join the California Republic.
In 1836, Mexico repealed the 1824 constitution and replaced it with a more centralized government that reunited Alta and Baja California as the singular Department of the Californias although the changes were merely topical and had little effect on Alta California. The capital of the department remained Monterey.
Carrying on the rancho system from Spain, the Mexican government awarded land grants to solados de cuera where owners raised cattle and sheep. The chief exports of Alta California were hides and tallow. Many of the domestic work, ranching, and construction that occurred on the ranchos were handled by Native Sierrans, many of whom had assimilated into Mexican culture and learned how to ride horses. Vaqueros were the Mexican equivalent of cowboys who were generally well-trained and worked on the ranches they were born into or lived nearby.
The 1824 Mexican Colony Law was the first Mexican statute that regulated rules on petitioning for land grants and in 1828, rules regarding the establishment of new ranchos were codified. The primary purpose of the regulations were to break up the monopoly of the missions and making the obtainment of land grants easier for prospective buyers and settlers. A diseño, a crudely drawn map defining the boundaries of the future rancho was often all that was required from the buyer to gain the land rights to a particular plot. Once the diseño received authorization, the buyer was expected to convert the land into one suitable for grazing and cultivation. Often times, livestock were branded with a monogram of the ranch owner's name to avoid confusion with other animals and to ensure lost animals were returned to their owners.
Towards the final decades of Mexican rule, immigrants from the United States and Europe began arriving and settling in Alta California, often times without the knowledge of the Mexican government. The Americans, who pushed westward across the "frontier", perceived California as merely another part of the United States, pursuant to the social idea of manifest destiny. Following the California Trail, a path that was first tested by the Bartleson–Bidwell Party, many Americans came with the full intention of starting their new lives in California while maintaining their American roots. Despite several well-documented tragedies along the path, particularly that of the Donner Party, the Trail proved to be a popular route for thousands. As a result, many foreign settlers ignored Mexican law and customs, refusing to learn Spanish and converting to Roman Catholicism, choosing instead to retain their own traditions and form their own communities. Those who settled in southern California were more likely to integrate into society however, and intermarried with the Californios.
While the Mexican government generally opposed unfettered immigration and perceived the predominantly American settlers as an existential threat in Alta California, the general negligence the Mexican government had towards Alta California in terms of governance made it difficult for the Mexican government to prevent and curb immigration. Prior to the Mexican-American War, Mexico began aggressively sending settlers back, evicting squatters from property, much to the anger of the foreigners as well as the Californios. These actions would only worsen already negative attitudes towards the Mexican government, and set the stage to war for independence in motion.
Californian period (1847–1858)
Having lived many decades largely free and independent of interference from Mexico City, the Californios opposed Mexican attempts to exert control over the territory toward the end of the first half of the 19th century. Alta California's geographic isolation, Mexico's political instability, and general negligence of the territory forced the Governors of Alta California to govern the territory upon their own accord, making California largely autonomous. There had been multiple attempts to secede by the Californios themselves, the most notable of those being the one orchestrated by Juan Bautista Alvarado in 1836. By the 1840s, animosity towards the Mexican government and the desire for independence among Californios were strong.
In addition, the growing presence of foreign settlers from the United States and Britain (most who arrived via the California Trail) presented a stronger case for independence as these individuals had no connection to the Mexican government and were highly individualist pioneers motivated to govern themselves. More so among the Americans, the settlers did not seriously take in consideration for Mexican government, viewing California in the hands of Mexican control as temporary and even blatantly disregarded it in extremer cases. Those who immigrated to the southern region also tended to get involved in local politics, intermarried, and entered the center of the territory's trade.
While both groups continued to feel antagonized, tensions between the United States and Mexico grew, particularly over the former's attitude towards the independence of Brazoria. The Brazorians, the non-Hispanic whites in Brazoria from America, had immigrated into Brazoria (then called Texas) and brought along their slaves. Following decades of political and cultural clashes, as well as the Mexican decision to outlaw slavery, the Brazorians launched a revolt and gained independence. This defeat was blamed on the United States for being responsible, and Mexico refused to recognize it up until 1845 provided Texas would not be annexed. Following rapidly deteriorating relations over clashes along the Brazoria-Mexico border, Mexico declared a "defensive war" against both the United States and Brazoria on April 23, 1846.
With the offset of the war, the Californios and Anglo-speaking foreigners were emboldened to take advantage of the conflict, and unilaterally declare their independence. Receiving the protection by American military officials John C. Frémont and John D. Sloat, some civilians in the north began to take action, starting with the capture of government-owned horses on June 10. Using these horses, the men targeted the military barracks in Sonoma and captured its barracks. Creating a flag shortly thereafter, as well as the rugged appearance of the insurgents, the incident became known as the "Bear Flag Revolt", and its instigators, "Los Osos" (The Bears) or the Bear Flaggers, a term that the rebels embraced.
Within a week of the Bear Flag Revolt, over 200 civilians joined the effort in defending the fort and inspired similar incidents throughout California. The Mexican territorial government responded by protecting the capital, Monterey, from a hostile coup, and soldiers were given orders to kill any rebels. In Porciúncula, a revolt led by both Americans and Californios were quashed by the military and some of its participants were executed.
Within months, San Francisco City was declared the capital of the self-declared California Republic and American commodore John D. Sloat captured the territorial capital of Monterey, raising a bear flag over the Mexican flag. Commodore Robert F. Stockton soon assumed military leadership in California and pursued an aggressive campaign in the southern part of the territory.
In the south, both the major towns of Porciúncula and San Diego were captured by the American-supported rebels, and by January 1847, eliminated the last of Mexican military presence in Alta California. This forced the Mexican colonial government to sign the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, which officially ended all hostilities in the region, but stop short of granting independence to California. Nonetheless, many rebels perceived the treaty to be a victory while those favoring retention of California by Mexico saw it as a temporary, but necessary agreement that would be reversed.
Following the defeat of the Mexicans in Alta California, the Californians, emboldened by American military advances into Mexico, decided to expand their control over the sparsely populated Baja California peninsula and the Sonora. Launching an organized military campaign down the peninsula and into the Mexican mainland, Mexican resistance was limited and the Californians conquered the land with relative ease and minimal casualties. Mexico attempted one major attack once in La Paz but suffered huge losses, marking the formal end of Mexican presence in the peninsula. Weakened, Mexico succumbed to the advancing forces of Brazoria and the United States, eventually capitulating following the fall of Mexico City. Victorious, California joined Brazoria and America in the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which forced Mexico to officially recognize California as independent and cede all of its land north of the Rio Grande to Brazoria and the United States.
With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed and ratified, the California Republic was formally recognized as independent on February 2, 1848. Although the Republic had held de facto administration over much of California since 1846, the Republic operated loosely with no centralized hierarchy, and no constitution. With its independence guaranteed, a constitution was created for the new republic, and was based heavily on the Articles of Confederation, calling for a legislature that would elect the nation's president and cabinet, and a separate, independent judiciary. In addition, the Republic would feature a federal system that would see the creation of ten states. As the Californians were largely sufficient and unaccustomed to government intervention, the Constitution was deliberately kept succinct and vague, which much power deferred to the states, which themselves, had little resources or duties expressively given to provide for their citizens.
Although the capital of the Republic was originally located in Sonoma, during the Mexican-American War, the Republic's provisional government stayed in Monterey after the historic Mexican capital was captured by American forces. After the war, the Republic relocated to San Francisco City where the population was the most concentrated and was the most developed out of all of California aside from Monterey itself. There, the Republic, under the administration of former Commander William B. Ide struggled to maintain order in the city, while the rest of the states governed themselves virtually free of interference. Incompetent governance and weak enforcement of the law led to stagnant policy, and the Californian government found itself deep in war debt from Mexico and the United States. However, with news of gold being discovered earlier in January 1848, a month prior to California's independence, prospective miners and migrants from all across the world arriving, providing much needed source of revenue to the government. By 1855, California's population had swelled from pre-Gold Rush populations of 8,000 (excluding the 50,000 Native Sierrans) to 300,000.
Initially, with the lack of legal oversight or protection of property rights, gold nuggets were taken by miners on a "free for the taking" basis without regard to discovery or possession of others. "Staking claims" were established among miners, where as long as a miner was actively prospecting on a certain site, none else could use it without their consent. Claim disputes were often settled personally, and many ended up violently although disagreements were sometimes brought to and settled by a third party.
The Gold Rush officially began at Sutter's Mill, near Coloma, Tahoe on January 24, 1848. Initially discovered by James W. Marshall, a foreman working for Swiss-American entrepreneur John Sutter, the two tested the metal, showing that the objects Marshall found were indeed gold. Sutter wanted to remain silent on the discovery, fearing a gold rush would compromise his own aspirations on creating an agricultural empire. Nonetheless, rumors began to spread and were brought to greater public attention following the proliferation of the news by Samuel Brennan, a San Francisco City merchant and newspaper publisher in March 1848. News eventually found its way to the United States and Brazoria, and on August 19, 1848, the New York Herald was the first major American newspaper to report the discovery of gold in California.
Within months, thousands of immigrants (known as the "Forty-niners" due to the first influx of such people in 1849) arrived with the hopes of finding gold for themselves, many coming by ship from the East Coast on a voyage that could last from five to eight months. Others took the traditional route by going along the California Trail although all routes had particular hazards including disease (such as cholera), starvation, and shipwreck.
As Californians and foreigners mined for gold, new sites with gold were discovered, including those in Southern California. Prospectors from Latin America and East Asia began to arrive at the beginning of 1849, followed by Europeans by late 1849. By 1849, the number of arrivals had swelled to 90,000, with the largest group continuing to be Americans.
Women from all social and economic backgrounds also came in large numbers, often taking various roles and occupations during the Gold Rush period. They came for different reasons, some to accompany their husbands, others ordered to come, and others for individual benefit and opportunity. Many women were widowed, usually as a result of their husbands dying in accidents or to other causes. In addition to women, whole families with children came, following the ongoing immigration trend of Eastern Americans into California.
Constitutional Convention of 1857
The Gold Rush produced profound demographic, economic, political, and social change in California. With many forty-niners choosing to remain in California and become naturalized citizens, the Republic now had a larger, more reliable tax base to support itself. Nonetheless, the political and legal scene in California was chaotic, and enforcement of what laws that were passed was minimal. For nearly a decade, the Republic struggled with significant problems and issues that would not be resolved until the creation of a new constitution and government.
The state governments, particularly those furthest away from San Francisco City, were often left to their own resources and often preserved laws and customs instituted under the Spanish and Mexican rule. Public infrastructure including roads, generally had to be built by private parties and individuals, as the government was largely inefficient and incompetent in carrying out such projects. The explosive growth of immigrants and prospectors made legal enforcement next to impossible, and civilians often relied on vigilantism to punish crimes. The most prominent case of vigilantism occurred in San Francisco City itself when the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance organized itself three times, lynching criminals, corrupt officials, and others. This situation was bemoaned by lawmakers and journalists, drawing parallels with the vigilantism to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.
Although the Constitution called for a standing army, the Congress could only raise such a force by asking each state to provide the military personnel themselves. In practice, the Republic relied heavily on paramilitary forces and private defense organizations to maintain national defense and security, mostly protecting citizens from Indian attacks. In addition, Brazoria and the United States would protect Sierra in the event of a foreign attack, under the protectorate status afforded onto it through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
In 1857, Congress passed a law mandating that a constitutional convention be held with the intent of either revising or replacing the existing constitution. Held in San Francisco City at the Old Parliament Building, 138 delegates participated in the convention (although only 44 of the delegates would have the names signed on the final copy of the Constitution), all Californian male citizens from all across the country including each of the 10 states.
The Convention quickly found itself divided into two main factions: the federalists and the monarchists, the former advocating a stronger, central government that maintained the Republic, while the latter supported creating a parliamentary democracy headed with a monarchy. At the time, interest in monarchism spread throughout the Republic, especially among British immigrants and social conservatives who saw the monarchy as a stabilizing institution and more dignifying than a republican government. These views were sharply contrasted with the explicitly anti-monarchist ideology held by many Americans who supported American-style federalism.
Among the delegates was Smith Charles Miller, Treasurer of the Republic and former mayor of San Francisco City, who was initially an avowed republican before opting to compromise with the Monarchists. Elected as president of the Convention, Smith allocated time for the convention to discuss among themselves the best form of government suited for Sierra and issues such as national defense, debt, and slavery. Various plans were created, some including a Westminster-styled government with a federal system and others featuring a dualistic form of legislature. The plan that ultimately prevailed however was the O'Malley Plan, which was essentially an American-styled federal system that incorporated a monarchy as its head of state, and a popularly elected prime minister who would serve as an executive and a legislator simultaneously, similar to a semi-presidential republic.
By June 1858, the Convention had largely accepted the O'Malley Plan to be the model of the future government, and shifted its focus on addressing and determining the extent of the monarchy's powers as well as several other ubiquitous issues such as the inclusion of a bill of rights. The contentious issue of slavery was also brought up to debate, with delegates from Southern California pushing towards a constitution that explicitly allowed slavery. In addition, some delegates worried about citizenship and naturalization laws, fearing the possibility of enfranchising immigrants from Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
Ultimately, with the growing anxiety for a new government by the public, the new constitution was finalized without provisions on the later-stage issues (slavery and immigration), and was overwhelmingly voted in favor of by members of the Convention. In August, the constitution was presented to the states of California officially and seven states were needed to ratify the constitution. With the exception of Porciúncula, all of the state legislatures chose to ratify the new constitution while Porciúncula was short by three votes to ratify it. The last state to ratify the 1858 Constitution, San Diego, did so on October 28, a month prior to the implementation and enforcement of the document.
In preparation for the new Kingdom, Smith Miller, the president of the Convention, was elected to be the first monarch of the new kingdom. Miller was a descendant of King James II of England and had direct lineage to him through his grandmother, Charlotte Stuart, who came to the Americas from Europe with her father Charles Edward Stuart, the then-head of the exiled House of Stuart. Knowledge of Miller's royal pedigree was widespread at the time, through Miller's parents and grandparents who ran the Stuart & Miller Co., a briefly successful trading enterprise in the former United States. Miller initially had reserved concerns towards his own ascension but acceded and established the House of Columbia as the ruling house of the Kingdom. A new flag, coat of arms, and the name Sierra was adopted for the new kingdom to distinguish it from the California Republic.
Sierran period (19th century)
Early years of the Kingdom
Smith Ministry (1858–59)
Almost immediately following the incorporation of the Kingdom, various political institutions and organizations formed including the Democratic-Republican Party and the Royalist Party. The infantile years of the Kingdom were marked with political stabilization and centralization, although clear, stark divisions quickly emerged.
The primary goals and aims of the Sierran government was to establish the order and security that the Constitutional Convention had promised to citizens which were lacking under the Republic. Under California, there were hundreds of thousands of square miles of lawless territory that had insufficient and unorganized governance or sparse population. Although there were ten states with devolved powers, all but two received little funding and support due to the limitations of Congress to raise national funding. As a result, many state governments were virtually rubber stamp institutions, some (mostly in Eastern Sierra) with appointed officials who did not even reside in their states, leaving areas nearly identical to the practical lawlessness over large stretches of land under the Mexican and Spanish governments. Twenty-three provincial governments were established for this purpose, each constitutionally provided the right to handle all matters and issues within their borders not given to the federal government or explicitly prohibited to the provinces.
For a little more than a year, King Smith I fulfilled the role as Prime Minister in an acting capacity. With the federal government still in an early developmental stage and many citizens not being yet documented by a proper census, many elections that were formally called upon were not yet held. As a consequence of no Prime Minister being chosen beforehand, Smith through a royal edict, appointed himself as Acting Prime Minister, an act that was approved by the newly established Parliament. Under Smith's ministry, the King formally established the Sierran Crown Armed Forces (SCAF), and he invited military officials from Russia and France to train the Kingdom's troops. After years of fractured militias and armed civilian organizations running independently from another including the government, Smith forged an alliance of consolidated, state-sanctioned forces to create the SCAF. With a united military now, Smith was able to ensure that the rule of law was enforced and the Kingdom was readily defended. In addition, he established several ministries that today are now collectively known as the Cabinet, as well as the Privy Council, the King's personal group of advisers. Through the combined powers of the Monarchy and the Prime Ministry, coupled with the complicity of the young Parliament, Smith was able to enact changes and goals with relative ease and speed with virtually little checks that the Constitution promised.
Opponents of Smith, who did not agree to see the King serve as a prime minister, were deeply disturbed by the King's political power, and from the offset, pressed for elections as early as possible. In addition, there was a deep mistrust for the King due to his Catholic faith, at odds with the Protestant-majority country. Despite repeated demands for an election, Smith deemed it necessary to remain Prime Minister until he felt the government was strong and large enough to carry out its function with a democratically elected official. The King's refusal to accede to his opponents' concerns strengthened pro-republican sentiment, which would later play a key role in triggering the Sierran Civil War 16 years later.
In 1859, Parliament established a federal judiciary system and the Supreme Court supported the King's powers and actions, shielding Smith I from any possible legal ramifications connected to his policymaking. The ruling party, the Royalist Party, which strongly supported the monarchy and King Smith I personally, ensured that any bills that sought to restrict the King were taken down.
Another issue the Kingdom faced in its early years was the debt it had inherited from the Republic. Much of the debt the Kingdom owed was to the United States as well as Mexico from the Mexican-American War. Facing a debt of about $19 million in 2016 dollars, three-fourths of it was owed to the United States for military protection and assistance, the Sierran tax base was not sufficient enough to provide adequate revenue to the government.
When the first official census was conducted in 1860, only 34,253 citizens were counted, with all 60,000 plus other residents being non-taxpayers. Under the Republic, there was, at the time, little imperative and initiative to classify foreigners as tax-paying residents as most left within a year of arrival and the tax collection system was exceptionally rudimentary. However, by 1860, immigrants who had remained in Sierra were now permanent residents who, although did pay local taxes, were still not obligated to pay federal taxes as they were not considered citizens. In addition, Smith's policies of granting free homesteads and land to citizens, in an attempt to encourage communal development and attracting more residents into the Kingdom. Frederick Bachelor, Sr., Smith's Minister of Finance, proposed extending federal taxation on permanent residents, an idea that received the support of Parliament and the King, but vehemently opposed by many of the non-citizen communities. As non-citizens, these residents were denied many of the protections and rights of Sierran citizens, including the right to vote or even to purchase government-owned land. Arguing that Bachelor's proposal would be taxation without representation, the most vocal opponents rallied for extending citizenship onto all residents who had lived in Sierra for more than 5 years. Under such plan, the new citizens would agree to pay federal taxes for the Kingdom's debts and programs. This proposal was welcomed by Smith but was questioned by the Democratic-Republicans, who, primarily constituting white Sierran farmers and workers, feared that the citizenship plan would extend it to foreigners, especially non-whites such as the Chinese and the Mexicans. Parliament decided to pass the 1859 Bachelor-Goldstone Act, which grant citizenship to all white permanent residents who had resided in Sierra for more than 3 years. The ethnic minorities who were not extended the privilege as well as the white residents who had lived in Sierra for less than 3 years were however, quickly classified them as "tax residents" under Bachelor-Goldstone's sister law, the 1859 Taxation National Equity Act, thus requiring non-citizens to pay taxes, sometimes even higher taxes under the Act's "penalty" provisions.
While Bachelor, Sr. worked on the citizen taxation scheme, he also drew inspiration from American politician Alexander Hamilton, to fix Sierra's financial problems, following the Hamiltonian plan of acquiring all war debts from the provinces and re-purposing them into bonds, and paying back bond holders once the Kingdom's industry matured. He also worked towards establishing a national bank, the Royal Monetary Authority of Sierra (ROMA), seeking to establish credit and control inflation, and the Royal Mint, to produce and circulate coins and paper money. Bachelor, Sr. believed that industry would be Sierra's future, and supported chartering public companies that would control the Kingdom's resources and utilities, while providing subsidies to private companies in the manufacturing and trading industries. In pursuant with this vision, Bachelor, Sr. persuaded the King and Parliament to pass tariff on foreign goods and imports, a decision that angered many Democratic-Republicans. Bachelor, Sr. also laid an excise tax on wines and avocados, furthering resentment among his opponents.
By the late summer of 1859, impressed by the dedication and finesse of Bachelor, Sr., Smith prepared to step down, calling for an election to be held on October 16. Encouraging Bachelor, Sr. to run for Prime Minister, Bachelor, Sr. obtained the nomination from the Royalist Party in the 1859 election. The Democratic-Republicans answered by nominating Isaiah Landon, a senator from San Joaquin, who was known for his sharp views and rhetoric against monarchism.
Bachelor, Sr. Ministry (1859–66)
Bachelor, Sr. won, winning over 60% of voters although voter turnout was low (only 10% of the country voted) and many Democratic-Republicans accused of the election as unrepresentative and rigged as many inland counties were unable to send in their ballots on-time when the votes were counted by mid-November.
Under Bachelor, Sr.'s ministry, he continued much of the same policies he had helped foster while serving as Minister of Treasury. In hoping to fuel Sierra's booming industrialization, Bachelor, Sr. opened diplomatic missions and received dignitaries from countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He adopted the Open Letter Doctrine which promoted diplomatic neutrality, and shifting away from political dependence on the United States. Bachelor, Sr. oversaw the removal of American armed presence in the country, and created the Royal Pacific Rangers (RPR), a military formation of mounted soldiers who would patrol the Kingdom's least developed land and borders.
Bachelor, Sr. continued to increase protective tariffs, forcing Styxie farmers to purchase goods from San Francisco and the Gold Coast. He sent the SCAF to quell the several minor armed rebellions that arose out of anger of his policies. Despite his indifference to the financial concerns of farmers, he agreed to not place tariffs on most goods exported on transcontinental rails leading into Brazoria and the United States, and backed the creation of the Agrarian Economic Assistance Fund (AEAF), an agricultural subsidy and tax credit program aimed at providing financial relief to affected farmers.
American Civil War
The prime minister and the rest of the nation's attention soon drew eastward when news that several American states in the South had seceded and declared independence in response to the victory of Abraham Lincoln in the United States 1860 presidential election. Troubled by the calamity, Bachelor, Sr. feared that with the United States distracted, Mexico would wage war against Sierra again, as Sierra had amassed over $50 million in debts to the Mexican nation by that point. In addition, the prime minister and elites feared that with turmoil in the States, the Sierran market would fail with trade for much needed resources from the East halted, and a rush of tens of thousands of political refugees. In pursuant to the policy of neutrality, Bachelor Sr., avoided entering into the conflict but supported the United States in preserving its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Nonetheless, some Styxers who originally came from the South, expressed sympathy and few left to fight for the South as volunteer fighters. Likewise, Sierran abolitionists fought in the North, and neither factions were stopped by the Bachelor, Sr. Ministry.
Shortly after the victory of the American Civil War in 1865, and the South was restored under Union rule, President Lincoln and several other leaders were assassinated, sending the United States into political turmoil and strife. In response to the attacks, the United States government came under the control of U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, while General Nathaniel William Hill led the relocation of the nation's capital from Washington, D.C., to Louisville. In the midst of the chaos, the South once again took the opportunity to secede as the Confederate States of Dixie a second time, and the Northeastern states, losing confidence in the stability of the Union, followed suit, declaring the Hudson Republic and New England. The American West also seceded, forming the Federal Republic of Missouri. Refusing to recognize these claims, the Louisville government centralized the system and reformed as the United Commonwealth. The Commonwealth began launching an offensive campaign against Hudson and Dixie, thus initiating the War of Contingency.
Back in Sierra, the Bachelor, Sr. Ministry and public watched with grave concern on the state of affairs in the East but the prime minister had reservations on leading a military intervention to restore the Union under the United Commonwealth. However, as the United Commonwealth underwent its centralization plan and purged political enemies, and seized control of the seceded states, Bachelor, Sr. leaned in favor of the independent-declared states. However, Bachelor, Sr. never was able to lead an intervention, as he resigned in 1866. A controversial idea that Bachelor, Sr. had proposed that same year was to use the Sierran peerage system to establish an official aristocracy as a means to encourage entrepreneurs and wealthy merchants to remain and operate in Sierra, and to protect industrial interests. Although some members of the Royalist Party and Parliament were receptive to the idea, this was openly opposed by the King who had not envisioned the creation of such a structure. The general public reacted harshly, staging protests in opposition to Bachelor, Sr.'s proposal, and labor strikes by workers against employers who supported such a plan. The idea damaged Bachelor, Sr.'s reputation and after a violent demonstration held in San Francisco City in August 1866, the King privately asked Bachelor, Sr. to resign. An election was held and Richard Trist, a Royalist member of Parliament was elected into office, seeking to steer Sierra's continued industrialization whilst repairing soured relations between the government and the farmers, and keeping close attention to the conflict in the East.
Trist Ministry (1866–70)
War of Contingency
As prime minister, Trist oversaw the expansion of Sierra's transportation and telecommunications, and helped finance the construction and completion of the Sierran side of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Considered to be one of the most ambitious projects of the early Kingdom, Trist diverted a significant amount of the government's budget to support the increasingly interconnected country, and aimed to strengthen Sierra's naval forces to bolster the Kingdom's position in international trade and maritime power. In addition, he led Sierra into its first foreign war, successfully halting the advances of the United Commonwealth, and responsible for enforcing the permanent breakup of the United States.
The waging War of Contingency in the East had left Bachelor, Sr. worried, and Trist also showed mixed feelings towards the conflict. Sierran intelligence continued to report that Sierra would be a future target of the United Commonwealth if the latter was allowed to continue making territorial gains. After the United Commonwealth invaded Missouri in August 1866, and captured Kansas City, Trist held a special session in Parliament, urging members to vote on declaring war on the United Commonwealth. He met with his Brazorian counterpart on developing a military plan to halt the United Commonwealth, and guarantee that all of the seceded states would remain independent. He believed that the apparent balkanization in the East was necessary for Sierran security, and would ensure that it would be the Kingdom which would benefit as the new leader with Brazoria as its other ally. He ordered troops and ammunition to be sent to Missouri in aiding the retreating forces and civilian resistance groups there. In response to radical Sanctionists destroying Sierran railroads, Trist ordered troops to protect it, and then advance into Missouri. He deployed 6,000 troops to defend the railroads, which were crucial in supplying Missouri. Goods arrived to Missouri first in October following Sierra's quell of local Canaanites, and Trist provoked the angry reaction from the United Commonwealth by assisting Missouri, with its military leader George Warren demanding Sierra cease immediately. As Brazoria, Hudson, and Dixie pushed back into Commonwealth territory, the Sierran Crown Armed Forces liberated Kansas and Missouri, and eventually met up with Brazorian troops at Salinas during the battle there, killing General Warren. The death of Warren prompted Cassius Clay, the civilian leader of the Commonwealth, to call for a ceasefire. Sierran and Brazorian delegation dictated the terms of the United Commonwealth's surrender, in Kansas City, and demanded that the United Commonwealth recognize the independence of the Confederate States, Hudson, Missouri, and New England unconditionally, or face total war. The United Commonwealth agreed, and the official papers signed became known as the Christmas Accords, as it was concluded on December 25, 1868.
Following the great military success, Sierra was received with great regard by other nations as a competent, capable nation, and public morale was boosted. Nonetheless, this victory was not enough to safeguard public opinion on Trist. The prime minister attracted controversy into the third year of his term amid scandal arising from his affair with the wife of a fellow Member of Parliament. Disgraced, Trist was pressured by the King to resign but refused to. After two ministries of Royalist prime ministers, the Democratic-Republicans mobilized, infuriated with the high taxes Trist had incurred to fund the war, and attracted huge voter turnout among angered farmers, propelling San Joaquin Senator Ulysses Perry to becoming the first Democratic-Republican prime minister of Sierra in December 1869.
Perry Ministry (1870–73)
Upon election, among the first actions Perry pursued was to restrict the powers of the Royal Monetary Authority and to lower tariffs, along with removing the excise taxes Bachelor, Sr. had imposed on wine and avocados. He and the now Democratic-Republican majority Parliament introduced the silver standard and introduced antitrust laws to break up the country's private monopolies.
As a committed anti-monarchist, and a self-identified radical Democratic-Republican, Perry initially sought to abolish the monarchy entirely, but later decided to work with Parliament to merely constrain the power of the King, specifically restricting how and when the King could issue an edict, and transferring the King's power of the purse of his own finances to the Privy Purse of Sierra, a body directly under the oversight of the Parliament.
Following his party's victory in the 1872 midterm elections, his party passed the "Honest Deal", a plan to raise tariffs again but increase subsidies for farmers, and introduce an income tax for the wealthiest. In addition, Perry launched an array of public works to complement the growth of the industry, and promoted funding for irrigation in the Southwest Corridor.
Perry's tenure was short-lived as he was assassinated by an unknown assailant in 1873 near his private residence. Gunned down and assaulted, Perry's personal bodyguards failed to rescue the prime minister but claimed that he fell into the San Joaquin River. His body was never found but it is believed to have continued drifting down the river and into the Suisun Bay. The government initially declared that his death was a suicide, a claim that aroused suspicion and anger amongst opponents. Months prior to Perry's death, his wife, Catherine Perry, was murdered, possibly by political enemies, and her death severely compromised Perry's mental state and emotional well-being. In the months leading up to his own death, Perry struggled to fulfill his duties as prime minister and failed to show up to several important parliamentary sessions.
Perry's death greatly enraged the Democratic-Republicans and provoked Perry's longtime friend, Isaiah Landon, a fellow San Joaqunian senator, into declaring an armed rebellion against the Kingdom, triggering the Sierran Civil War in 1874.
By the time of Sierra's inception, the region had already had a long history of violent conflict and clashes with local native Indian tribes. The California Republic faced the constant threat of armed confrontations with Indian tribes near goldmines and camping sites, and required private militiamen to defend civilians from attacks.
Over the course of nearly thirty years, Sierra would engage itself in several separate battles and skirmishes with various Indian tribes throughout the Kingdom, first though mostly in northern Sierra and then in southeastern Sierra and the Deseret. Some of these were labeled massacres due to the nature of the attacks, with Sierrans openly targeting villages full of women and children, and pillaging for local resources. Although occasionally, it was an Indian tribe that provoked a conflict, it was Sierran militiamen or forces who would attack tribes, mostly as a means to force such tribes out of an area or for retribution of previous Indian-initiated attacks. At times, frustrated with the lack of adequate response or reaction time by the government, civilians took it into their own hands and engaged in Indians themselves. At the very core of Sierra's campaign against Indian tribes was land ownership and government action against tribes that refused to cooperate with "removal", but by 1880, the Sierran government and dozens of tribes entered into agreement known as the Compact Indian-Sierran Friendship Act which officially established the modern Sierran Indian reservation system, and allowed Indian tribes to claim financial reparations for Sierran-perpetuated war crimes and damages.
Disputes between the federal government and certain Indian tribes continued for years after the signing of the Compact Indian-Sierran Friendship but most were resolved peacefully and arbitrated by courts or through bilateral meetings. In 1884, the Ministry of Interior formally established the Bureau of Indian Affairs which was charged with managing and protecting the lands of Sierran Indians in trust, and to provide financial assistance to tribe members.
Sierran Civil War
|Republicanism in Sierra|
Perry's death caused virulent strife, and deeply aroused the passions of many Democratic-Republicans, especially those in the Styxie region. Protests and demonstrations were held in honor and mourning of the late prime minister, and the demand for justice was cried. In the meantime, Perry's deputy, Issac Johnson, assumed the role as acting prime minister and urged restraint in the time of calamity.
The Democratic-Republican-controlled Parliament created an ad hoc committee to investigate the death surrounding Perry and summoned the King to testify. Many opponents believed in the conspiracy that the Monarchy was working to kill off Perry due to the latter's attempts to curtail and take down the monarchy. When the government concluded that there was little evidence to suggest any political connection to Perry's apparent death, radical Democratic-Republicans demanded that the members of the committee to be recalled.
In April 1874, just two months after Perry's death, Senator Isaiah Landon from San Joaquin, a close friend of Perry's, delivered a speech at the provincial capital, Bernheim, and encouraged citizens to take up arms and overthrow the Monarchy. Landon personally led an armed mob to storm the Bernheim Armory Depot, and took over the San Joaquin Provincial Legislature Building, effectively placing the San Joaquin government under Landon's control. Declaring the Second California Republic, over the next two weeks, three other provinces in the Styxie declared secession from the Kingdom and joined the Republic, these provinces including Reno, the eastern portion of Santa Clara, and Tahoe.
For the first two years, the Republic overwhelmed the Kingdom, conquering and effectively controlling nearly all Sierran lands north of the Tehachapi Mountains, including the Kingdom's former capital of San Francisco City by January 1875. However, a botched attempt by the Republic to enter the Southwest Corridor via Tejon Pass resulted in the Republic's undoing, and allowed the Monarchist forces to retake much of the lost lands and capture Landon by late 1877. Towards the end of the war, Landon resulted to increasingly extreme and controversial military tactics including forced conscription of women and children, and burning down towns to delay Monarchist advances, decisions that would alienate his waning number of supporters. Following Landon's capitulation, Landon was placed in house arrest for life while other republican leaders were executed or imprisoned.
The Civil War left a lasting legacy on the Kingdom. Costing nearly 30,000 lives on the battlefield, and an additional 20,000 more civilians, the war reaffirmed the position of the Monarchy and pacified most republicans, although the republican cause continues to remain an underlying, nuanced theme in Styxie culture today.
Concurrently with the Sierran Civil War, there was open, armed conflict between two religious groups in the Deseret: the Canaanites and the Mormons, who occupied the same general region as the other. Sectarian rivalry was evident from the beginning when both groups settled in the Deseret by the 1830s. Canaanism, a monotheistic, spiritualist religion emerged from Brazoria in the 1820s while Mormonism was a Christian movement that originated from the United States in the same time period. Followers of both groups were marginalized in their respective homelands and were forced to move westward, both encountering each other, perceiving one another as a threat, and resisting coexistence.
Violent confrontations had become common by the time of the Sierran Civil War but by then, the Canaanites had indicated that they were loyal to the King whereas the Mormons sought independence and empathized with the Republicans. Emboldened by the political chaos descending across the Kingdom, both sides started attacking each other with greater ferocity, leading raids and skirmishes against one another. Even after the conclusion of the Civil War, clashes between the Canaanites and Mormons continued until the Deseret was formally given a territorial government that clearly favored Mormons. Disenfranchised, most Canaanites moved south into Apache and Cornerstone or back to Brazoria, while those who remained sued for peace on mutual terms with the Mormons where The Church of Latter-day Saints of Jesus Christ officially called for harmonious coexistence with the Canaanites.
Following the Civil War, Sierra experienced relative political stability and its economy had fully matured, allowing the Kingdom to project its interests and power overseas. Businesses and investors, eager to expand Sierra's international market closer with Asia, backed officials who sought to pursue an imperialist foreign policy. Even before the Civil War occurred, Sierrans had already established presence throughout the Pacific Ocean, particularly in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands and Hawaii.
The first territory that came under the control of the Kingdom was the Gilbert and Ellice Islands (known as Kiribati locally) in 1881 when the King appointed Hugh Burton as the islands' Lord Proprietor to preside over Sierrans living in the area. The territory was officially incorporated later that year by an act of Parliament. The following year, Sierran seamen who were traveling the Southern Pacific reached Rapa Nui where English Jewish businessman Alexander Ariipaea Salmon held de facto control over the islands as the island's "king". Creating thriving wool and tourism industries, Salmon sold his Brander Easter Island holdings and assets to the Sierran government and signed the cession agreement as a witness. Salmon left for Tahiti but later moved to San Francisco City later in life.
The Royalist ministry under Prime Minister John C. Frémont supported Sierran imperialism on the premise that it supported Sierran businesses, increased the political strength of the Kingdom, and spread Christianity to nonbelievers, while imperialism was vehemently opposed by the Democratic-Republicans who viewed the policy as an extension of monarchism, and contrary to Sierra's position as semi-isolationists.
Another place of interest, the Hawaiian Islands, became the next focus of the Sierran imperialist campaign. Sierran presence in Hawaii existed since the mid-1860s, with Sierran civilians and interest groups settling in the islands, and facilitating the growth of the local sugarcane industry. By the 1880s, with Sierra's stronger regional influence and power, Hawaii became a strategic ally and trading partner. Hawaii itself became a nation of great interest among various other powers including the United Kingdom and the United States, but the settled Sierrans and Americans who lived on the islands began demanding political power in the local government. Although the Hawaiian monarchy provided concessions, they were perceived to be not enough for many of the non-natives and had openly rebelled earlier in 1865. The rebellion forced the monarchy to approve the Bayonet Constitution, called so due to the nature of the rebellion, forcing the Hawaiian king to sign literally at gunpoint. When King Kamehameha V ascended the throne, he attempted to rewrite the constitution, angering the Anglo-Sierran elites, who promptly planned and executed a coup against the new king. The Provisional Republic of Hawaii was declared, which stripped all non-white residents including native Hawaiians of political and civil rights, established a new legislature composed solely of white landowner males, and petitioned to the Kingdom of Sierra to become annexed as a territory. In 1870, the Parliament of Sierra approved the treaty negotiated by Frémont on the annexation of Hawaii and received the assent of King Smith I. The Territory of Hawaii was officially created despite international protest while Sierra completely opened up the islands' ports and market to continue facilitating international trade and commerce on the islands, and calming foreign concern.
Involvement in Hani
Since Sierra's foundation, Asia was always viewed as a crucial region for Sierran trade and business, although Sierrans generally traded with the Chinese and the Japanese. The nation of Hani under the Yi dynasty had closed off trade and relations with all nations except China in the late 1850s, denying Sierrans entry into the Han archipelago. The Spaniards managed to force Hani to open up again to the West in the late 1870s, nominally controlling the southern island of Shonanmin. Sierrans began actively trading with Spanish Hani for 30 years, and became a popular, important trading post in the Asia-Pacific for Sierra. Sierran elites and merchants however, often complained of the Spaniards' monopoly of power in the area, imposing hefty duties on imports and exports by Sierrans. In addition, Sierrans who lived in Spanish Hani often portrayed the land of mystique, blessed with natural resources and an advantageous position within the region. Talks of seizing controlling Hani came as early as 1878 when some lawmakers proposed turning it into an agricultural colony that would produced highly coveted fruits such as coconuts and dragonfruit.
Industrialization, labor, and nativist movements
The last two decades of the 19th century saw the rapid development and spread of technology and industrialization throughout the Kingdom, as well as the rise of powerful monopolists. Land speculators, unethical business owners, political corruption, and government subsidies for prominent companies expanded Sierra's income inequality and made life for working classes in urban and rural areas alike, difficult. Colloquially termed as the "Gilded Age", the Sierran government responded by reigning in corporate power by introducing stricter regulations, outlawing private monopolies, and empowering labor unions.
The worsening conditions were further complicated when Sierra had its first major banking panic in 1892 due to many financiers withdrawing their money from Sierran banks in response to the failing economies in Argentina and Brazil. Unemployment rates skyrocketed and prices were hiked, leading to social unrest and political mobilization among lower-class workers and farmers. Coinciding this period of financial hardship, immigration from Asia (particularly from China and Japan) continued to grow significantly, increasing the incidence of race-related conflict and growing antipathy among poor whites.
Nativist organizations were formed in response to Sierra's uncurbed immigration and financial woes, and were often linked with labor movements and syndicates. Supporters and pro-nativist lawmakers often pushed for anti-immigration laws, but did so to no avail. Prominent nativists, including Irish-Sierran Denis Kearney, threatened violence against business owners who hired Chinese. While anti-immigration measures failed due to resistance by the Royalists (who wanted cheap labor and strong relations with Asia), individual provinces such as those in the Styxie created discriminatory policies that restricted the civil rights of non-whites and passed literacy tests that made voting or even applying for a job much more difficult.
In 1893, King Smith I passed away following a year of severe health complications, making his eldest son, Crown Prince Lewis, as the new king as Lewis I of Sierra. Like his father, he continued maintaining neutrality in domestic affairs while commanding a more active role in foreign policy. The new king refused to heed to nativist complaints while he did seek to reconcile with Democratic-Republican workers and cooperate with political reformists. Horrified by the social injustices and economic stagnancy that plagued the nation, he oversaw the introduction of the new labor policies such as the minimum wage and the eight-hour workday, regulated child labor under extreme standards, and the establishment of the imposing an income tax through the Royalist ministry of Prime Minister Joseph Sterling, a "progressive businessman" from Santa Clara. These reforms helped cultivate the rise of the Progressive Era as widespread social activism helped bring radical political reform to the country.
Sierran period (20th century)
Thanks to the reformatory efforts led by the Sterling Ministry and increased public awareness of social blights, the Progressive Era was ushered around the turn of the century, fundamentally transforming the Kingdom to the state it is today. Urbanization and improvements in transportation and telecommunications allowed information to be distributed at an unprecedented rate, making it easier for commoners to participate in civic discourse. In addition, the growing strength and legitimacy of labor unions and guilds made it easier for workers to mobilize together and to lobby for better working conditions. Various newspapers and magazines began circulating yellow journalism and investigative journalism pieces, exposing social issues and popularizing national politics.
Under the ministry of Prime Minister Robert Landon (the grandson of the late Civil War republican leader Isaiah Landon), who was elected in 1901, became the first Democratic-Republican prime minister in 24 years and introduced compulsory education, increased funding for rural roads, led a movement to allow national referenda and initiatives, and replaced the spoils system in favor of the merits system in the federal bureaucracy. Many progressive reformers took to changing politics at the local level, electing like-minded individuals in municipal offices such as mayors who reorganized the government similar to the federal model and promoted transparency and accountability. Porciúncula and San Francisco City were among the first cities to undergo such changes, and both utilized a strong mayor government and large law enforcement force to curb crime and corruption.
Sierran Cultural Revolution
The Sierran Cultural Revolution was a period of radical changes in cultural and social attitudes towards many aspects in life including views on race and gender. As Sierra transitioned from a primarily monolithic nation of white Europeans and Hispanics to a more multicultural, multiethnic society, Sierran cultural experienced a transformation that fused ideas of the West with the East. Political, social, and economic issues converged to form the "new order of living" as described by King Lewis I who witnessed the early years of the Revolution. The Revolution began at the turn of the 20th century and is commonly believed to have ended by the 1950s although some have contended that it lasted until after the 1960s when the counterculture movement rose.
The Revolution coincided with increased Asian immigration, rapid modernization, technological advancement, and expansive political reforms. Poor race relations, legalized discrimination, and poor working conditions led to Asians, blacks, and Hispanics to press for their rights, ushering in an unprecedented push for civil rights for people of color in a predominantly white nation. Sociologist Mark Culler's book, Comparison of Western and Oriental Thought, has been cited as one of the most influential works in accelerating acceptance of non-whites and integration of foreign ideas into the Sierran collective. Growing interest in Orientalism and the rise of an affluent class of Asian professionals led to greater acceptance of the Asian community. Interracial marriages rose as miscegenation laws were outlawed, and the new demographic development of biracial families further cemented the intertwining of the two communities into one. Heralded as the "assimilation of new ideas", many white Sierrans followed suit in adopting certain Asian customs and traditions, most notably bowing, the use of chopsticks, and phrases of Asiatic origin. Coinciding with the revolution was a new wave of religious fervor as newer Christian denominations consisting of Adventists, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others spread, professing the need for a return to traditional values against the forces of modernized ills. Many churches, including the mainline denominations, endorsed the changes, urging believers to adopt customs and conceptions of respect, order, and class which were "consistent with Christ", and would bring them closer to God.