California
   A present-day West Coast state of the United States, the northern portion of which was initially laid claim to by Russia in the early nineteenth century. Southern California passed from the Spanish Empire to Mexico, but the U.S. Navy took possession of Monterey and claimed California in July 1846. Acquisition of California was an unstated objective of the administration of James A. Polk during the Mexican War, and its cession to the United States by Mexico in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 gave the American republic both superb new ports and a vital interest in the Pacific Ocean. California’s admission to the Union as a free soil state in 1849 served to intensify the domestic tensions that ultimately led to the American Civil War.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of California. Santa Barbara, CA: W. Hebberd, 1963.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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