There are many literatures romanticizing the richness of its civilization but the fact remains that these social groups were hunters and gatherers with some already having some semblance of agricultural knowledge. When the Spaniards came with their swords and their cross, the bow and arrow wielding natives were forced to become 'civilized' which stood for adapting and tailoring their customs and habits according to European culture.
The Native Americans who were conquered soon became mini Spaniards because they shifted their beliefs and customs to mimic those of the colonizers and most importantly, they traded their native tongue for Spanish words. Although many native groups which were left alone resumed their hunting and gathering orientation, most of the inhabitants of California have become agriculturally oriented especially with the establishment of Ranchos. These areas were the land where cattle and sheep were raised. It was granted by the Spanish and Mexican regimes to encourage settlement. The domestic animals soon became important exports such as cow hides and fat used to make candles and soaps.
Not only were they affected in language and way of subsistence, they also experienced the religious transformation that had become the mark of Spanish colonies. This was due to the California Missions which saw the construction religious outposts of major sects of Christian religion such as the Dominicans and the Jesuits. These missions were also the avenue thru which European livestock, fruits, vegetables and industry entered the California region. From their old set of animistic beliefs, which others in the past would call as pagan, the Native Americans became Christian primarily because they had no choice but to wield to the interests of the colonizers who had superior arms.
The Gold Rush
Mexicans broke the Spanish rule only to be replaced by Americans during the Mexican-American War in 1846. American domination paved the way for the occurrence of events which would radically transform the society of California.
Two years after the American conquest of California, gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The discovery led to a remarkable event in California's history and is aptly termed as the Gold Rush. With the discovery came an exodus of miners, merchants and bankers into the region. It was estimated that in 1855, about 300,000 Forty-Niners or those hoping to get a piece of gold arrived in the region. California saw a precipitous rise in settlements especially along San Francisco Bay.
The significance of the Gold Rush was that it transformed the formerly agricultural region to a mining and profit oriented society though agriculture was still an integral part. This had the effect of bringing in capital to the region thereby sponsoring a boom in infrastructures and developments in housing and education. The immigrants were by no means illiterate and untrained. In fact, they were highly skilled and trained in their profession. The immigrants had knowledge as teamsters, draymen, lighter men, riggers, stevedores, bakers,