Bear Flag Revolt Facts

Bear Flag Revolt Facts
The Bear Flag Revolt or Bear Flag Rebellion took place from June 8 to July 19, 1846 in what is today the American state of California. The revolt was led by American William B. Ide against the Mexican government and was ostensibly a pro-American, anti-Mexican government rebellion by the territory's quickly increasing American population. The American population of California had been increasing rapidly beginning in the 1820s and when the Texans won independence from Mexico in 1836, many Americans in California saw that as a sign for them to do the same in California. When the Mexican-American War began in April 1846, Ide and other Californians, most notably John Fremont, decided to join the United States in its war against Mexico.
Interesting Bear Flag Revolt Facts:
Most of the major actions in the Bear Flag Revolt took place in northern California.
The capture of the Mexican garrison in Sonoma on June 14, 1846 was a major turning point in the revolt. The fort was surrendered by the Mexicans after a brief negotiation.
California was known as "Alta California," or Upper California, as opposed to Lower or Baja California.
The flag raised at Sonoma was that of a grizzly bear with a star and the words "California Republic." The revolt was so-named after the flag, which later became the basis for the state of California's flag.
Although California was part of Mexico, American President James Polk ordered a U.S. Army expedition to map and explore the region. The expedition was led by Captain James Fremont.
William B. Ide was born in 1796 Rutland, Massachusetts. He became a Mormon and continually moved west, eventually settling in California in late 1845.
The Bear Flag rebels began a hard core of about thirty men, with the numbers later rising to about 300.
The revolt was precipitated on the rumor that the Mexican government was planning to expel all non-Mexican citizens from the territory. Considering the fact that there were so few Mexican troops in Alta California at the time and there were so many Americans, such a plan would have been nearly logistically impossible, although it proved to be good propaganda for the Bear Flag rebels.
Fremont used Sutter's Fort as a garrison for his troops and as a prison for Mexican officers.
The Battle of Olumpali, which took place near an Indian village, was the first major engagement of the revolt. Although casualties on both sides were relatively minor, the Bear flaggers stood their ground and proved that their American made rifles were superior to the muskets of the Mexican militias.
Due to the slow speed of communication at the time - telegraph lines were not yet trans-continental - U.S. Naval ships in Monterey Bay did not know if the U.S. had declared war on Mexico when the revolt began. Finally on July 7, 1846, Commodore John D. Sloat of the Pacific Squadron captured Alta California's capital of Monterrey.
Yerba Buena (San Francisco) was taken by the Americans on July 9.
Robert Stockton replaced Sloat as commodore in July and then declared California as an American territory in August.


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