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150Mil BC
145Mil BC
The Santiago Peak Volcanics took place in southern California.
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110Mil BC
80Mil BC
The Pacific Plate collided with the North American Plate at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada and in the process created the Farallon Islands, which then slowly moved north some 300 miles to stand off the coast of San Francisco.
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85Mil BC
65Mil BC
California dinosaur fossils of the Cretaceous have been found in the Moreno and upper Panoche Formations of western Fresno Ct., the Point Loma Formation near San Diego, and the Ladd and Williams Formations of Riverside Ct. These include the Saurolophus, a large bipedal "duckbill" dinosaur.
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60Mil BC
40Mil BC
The collision of the North American and Pacific Farallon plate, began lifting the Sierra Nevada about this time. The Clear Lake basin of California rose above sea level. The rise of the Sierra Nevada continued for another 20 million years.
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50Mil BC
The collision of the North American and Pacific plates about this time began lifting the Sierra Nevada and the Clear Lake basin of California above sea level. The rise of the Sierra Nevada continued for another 20 million years.
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40Mil BC
In 2006 scientists presented evidence that the Sierra Nevada mountain range rose about this time. Earlier estimates pegged the uplift at 3-5 million years BC.
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31Mil BC
28Mil BC
California’s northern Sierra rose by nearly 10,500 feet over this period.
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10Mil BC
Oceanic spreading began a process of mountain building in southern California, including formation of the San Andreas Fault, migration of the Baja California peninsula away from the mainland of Mexico, the loss of summer rainfall and the diversification of species.
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3.4Mil BC
In California volcanic ash from about this time covered coastal redwood forests. In 1871 petrified redwood trees, dating to this time, were discovered in Calistoga, Ca.
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3Mil BC
A fossil of a seabird, one of the Pelagornithids, from about this time was discovered in 2010 in Half Moon Bay, Ca. The gigantic, bony-toothed bird had an 18-foot wingspan.
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2Mil BC
About this time California’s King’s Canyon was carved out by a slab of ice 2,000 feet thick.
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1.8Mil BC
l BC - 300k BC The Irvingtonian period: In 2009 Southern California Edison, a utility company preparing to build a new substation in an arid canyon southeast of Los Angeles, stumbled on a trove of animal fossils dating back 1.4 million years. All the bones were dated to the Irvingtonian period, which spanned 1.8 million to 300,000 years ago. The bones found in Riverside County were dated by observing the layers of sediment they were found in and fall at about 1.4 million years ago.
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750000 BC
California's Mono Lake was formed about this time as the Sierra Range lifted and the Great Basin sank.
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700000 BC
A pyroclastic flow (hot gasses, pumice and other dry volcanic materials that roar down a volcano's slopes at one hundred km an hour) in California's Long Valley was so huge that it topped the Sierra Nevada.
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400000 BC
Activity at Mount Tehama volcano, Part of the Lassen volcanic center in the Sacramento Valley of California, declined about this time. Volcanic ash from its eruptions could later be seen in a band of white material on the cliff of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach at Fort Funston.
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240000 BC
9000 BC
This is called the Rancholabrean age and is named after the La Brea tar pits near Los Angeles.
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130700 BC
Researchers in 2017 said humanlike behavior dating to about this time was shown in the smashed bones of elephant-like mastodon unearthed by during a routine dig in the winter of 1992-93 during a freeway expansion project in San Diego, Ca. Researchers speculated that the bone smashers could have been Neanderthals, Denisovans or Homo erectus.
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66000 BC
Scientists in 2010 said Mammoth Mountain in the central California Sierras was formed about this time as a result of volcanic eruptions that took place over less than 2,000 years.
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38000 BC
The oldest fossils found at the La Brea tar pits in southern California dated back to about this time. In 1913 mass excavations began there.
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14000 BC
10000 BC
Rock art was inscribed in the Coso Mountains of California. In 2005 the area was designated as the Coso Rock Art National Historic Landmark.
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14000 BC
9000 BC
The Columbia mammoths, Mammuthus columbi, went extinct during this period. The species grew as tall as 14 feet and ranged widely in California. Remains were later found as far south as Florida and Central America.
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11000 BC
Scientists in 2009 said an oak bush in the Jurupa Hills of Riverside County, Ca., was about 13,000 years old, dating to about this time.
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8024 BC
In 1976 scientists in southern California scientists unearthed skeletal remains dating to about this time. They were among the oldest ever found in the Western Hemisphere.
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6000 BC
The Gabrielino-Tongva tribe lived in southern California about this time. Archaeologists in 2006 found their prehistoric milling area at the base of the Angeles National Forest estimated to be 8,000 years old.
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14 Feb 15
In California a woman and her 4 children were killed in their SUV near Riverdale after a driver in a minivan failed to yield at a stop sign.
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200
50
000BC Fossils from this period of horses, turtles, giant bison and Columbian mammoths were found in 2015 during grading at the Carlsbad Quarry Creek in southern California.
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1542 Nov
Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo landed at the Channel Island later known as San Miguel. His men soon got into a scuffle with local Indians and Cabrillo broke a leg. The party continued to sail north almost to present day Fort Ross.
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1543 Jan 3
Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (43-44) died of gangrene and was buried at San Miguel. He was injured in December while helping defend his men fight off a band of Indians in the Channel Islands off California. In 1989 Harry Kelsey authored the biography “Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.”
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1579 Jun 17
Sir Francis Drake sailed into a bay in Northern California and proclaimed English sovereignty over New Albion (California). Some claim that Sir Francis Drake sailed into the SF Bay. Sir Francis Drake claimed the area for England. The location may have been Drake’s Bay or Bolinas Lagoon. In 1999 there were 17 proposed locations for his landing with the latest set in Oregon and described by Bob Ward in the book "Lost Harbor Found." A brass plate, allegedly left by Drake, was found in 1993, but determined to be a fake in 1977. In 2012 Drake’s Cove in Point Reyes was designated as the site where Drake landed and named a national historic site.
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1579 Jun 23
Francis Fletcher, the chaplain of the Golden Hind, gave the first-ever Protestant service in North America somewhere around Point Reyes, Ca. The Golden Hind, under the command of English privateer Francis Drake, had stopped here for repairs and supplies after failing to find the fabled Strait of Anian.
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1595 Nov
The San Agustin, a Spanish galleon from Manila, sank off the coast of northern California near Point Reyes with a load of silks and porcelains from the Orient. Skipper Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno sailed with survivors in an open boat 2,500 miles to Acapulco.
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1700 Jan 26
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake shook Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Colombia. It triggered tsunami that damages villages in Japan.
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1739
In northern California and Oregon some sort of extreme climactic event slowed the growth of redwood and other trees according to later tree ring studies by researchers.
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1769 Jul 14
Don Gaspar de Portola led 63 men north from San Diego in search of Monterey and arrived there in late September.
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1769 Jul 16
Father Junipero Serra founded Mission San Diego de Alcala, the 1st mission in Calif. The Franciscan friars soon planted cuttings of olive trees. California’s first olive press was established in Ventura County in 1871. Serra went on to build nine missions along the coast and to take over tribal lands.
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1769 Oct 30
Captain Portola and his party camped at what is now Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica. They climbed the ridge above Linda Mar and saw the Farallon Islands as well as the cliffs of Point Reyes. Portola camped in San Pedro Valley and sent Sergeant Jose Ortega out to survey what was ahead.
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1770 Jun 3
Father Junipero Serra founded Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo on the shores of Monterey Bay as a chapel for the new Spanish Presidio of Monterey. A year later he moved the mission to Carmel.
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1772 Apr 2
Father Juan Crespi looked out over a bay, later called Suisun Bay, and believed he had found the fabled Northwest Passage, a shortcut to the Colorado River. After Father Serra established a mission in Monterey, Ca, Pedro Fages and Father Juan Crespi had set out to explore the SF Bay by land.
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1775 Sep 29
Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza (39) and his party of Spanish soldiers and setters departed Tubac, Arizona, on a journey to the SF Bay Area following reports of a great river flowing into the bay. Anza led 240 soldiers, priests and settlers to Monterey. Jose Manuel Valencia was one of the soldiers. His son, Candelario Valencia, later served in the military at the Presidio and owned a ranch in Lafayette and property next to Mission Dolores. One of the soldiers was Don Salvio Pacheco.
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1775 Oct 30
Fr. Lasuen founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, but the site was abandoned after eight days when they received word of an attack at the San Diego Mission. They quickly buried the bells for safe keeping and fled to the Presidio (fort) in San Diego for shelter.
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1775 Nov 5
In southern California Indians infuriated by Spanish soldier rapes of native women attacked the mission at San Diego bludgeoning a priest to death and killing two other church workers.
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1776 Mar 10
The expedition of Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza arrived in Monterey, Ca. Colonists were left in Monterey as a smaller party departed for the SF Bay.
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1776 Mar 28
Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, Lt. Jose Moraga, and Franciscan priest Pedro Font arrived at the tip of San Francisco. De Anza planted a cross at what is now Fort Point. They camped at Mountain Lake and searched inland for a more hospitable area and found a site they called Laguna de los Dolores or the Friday of Sorrows since the day was Friday before Palm Sunday. Anza became known as the “father of SF.” Mission Dolores was founded by Father Francisco Palou and Father Pedro Cambon. Rancho San Pedro, near what is now Pacifica, served as the agricultural center. Laguna de los Dolores was later believed to be a spring near the modern-day corner of Duboce and Sanchez.
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1776 Mar 31
Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and a crew that included such names as Castro, Peralta, Bernal, Moraga, Alviso and Berryessa, among others, arrived at the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay on a 5-day expedition to explore the area.
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1776 Nov 1
Father Junipero Serra arrived at the site of Mission of San Juan Capistrano and re-founded it. His mission was to convert the members of the Acagchemem tribe called Juanenos by the Spaniards. The tribe at the time was experiencing the end of a 7-year draught.
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1781 Jul 17
Yuma Indians in southern California attacked two missions killing all the men but two and enslaving the women and children. They were upset after a Spanish officer let a large horse herd loose to graze in Yuma fields.
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1781 Jul 18
Yuma Indians in southern California ambushed Spanish Capt. Fernando Rivera y Moncada and his soldiers. Rivera had been ordered to recruit settlers in Sinaloa and Sonora and lead them through the desert over the Anza trail to a new settlement called Los Angeles. Rivera and all his soldiers were killed.
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1784 Aug 28
Father Junipero Serra (b.1713) died of tuberculosis at the adobe church of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, later Carmel.
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1785
Manual Gonzalez, the 3rd mayor of Pueblo San Jose de Guadelupe (California), conscripted local residents to build the town’s 1st City Hall.
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1786 Sep 14
Two French ships appeared off the coast of Monterey, the first foreign vessels to visit Spain's California colonies. Aboard was a party of eminent scientists, navigators, cartographers, illustrators, and physicians. For the next ten days Jean Francois de La Pérouse, the commander of this expedition, took detailed notes on the life and character of the area. Perouse’s notes were later published under the title “Life in a California Mission: Monterey in 1786: The Journals of Jean Francois De LA Perouse.”
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1792
Construction began on the Royal Chapel at Carmel, Ca. It was dedicated in 1795.
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1794
Twenty horse soldiers were dispatched from the Presidio of San Francisco to quell an Ohlone rebellion in the Santa Cruz mountains.
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1795 Jan 25
The Royal Chapel at Carmel, Ca., was dedicated with a Mass of Thanksgiving. A major renovation was undertaken in 1856.
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1802
1889
Juana Briones Y Tapia de Miranda was born in Santa Cruz, Ca. She was a battered wife and became the first California woman to get a divorce. Her family moved to the Presidio in 1812. She was the first to settle on San Francisco’s Powell St. in what is now North Beach and worked as a homeopathic doctor. In 1989 the Women’s Heritage Museum persuaded the state to authorize a plaque in her honor to be set in Washington Square.
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1805
Spanish soldiers under Lt. Francisco Ruiz discovered badgers in a canyon during an expedition in southern California. The area was thus named El Tejon (the badger).
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1806 Apr
Nicolai Rezanov (42), a director of the Russian-American Co., arrived in SF aboard the Juno. He had proposed a California outpost to serve the Russian colonies in Alaska and sailed south to establish a settlement on the Columbia River but could not land there due to difficult seas. He sailed south to the Presidio at Monterey and negotiated a trade deal with Commander Jose Arguello. He also fell in love with Concepcion Arguello (d.1857), the daughter of Commander Arguello, and proposed marriage. He died that winter while crossing Siberia. In 2013 Owen Matthews “Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian American.”
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1806 May 21
Nicolai Rezanov (1764-1806), a director of the Russian-American Co., departed SF for Sitka, Alaska. He died that winter while crossing Siberia.
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1810
1813
Boston-based whalers slaughtered an estimated 150,000 fur seals on the Farallon Islands, 28 miles west of San Francisco. Russian hunters followed and occupied the islands for the next 25 years during which they wiped out the remaining fur seals. Fur seals began to return around 1977, but their first pup wasn’t born until 1996.
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1818 Oct 25
Argentine privateer Frenchman Hipolito Bouchard aboard La Argentina and Englishman Peter Corney in command of the Santa Rosa set sail from Hawaii for Alta California with 360 men and 52 canons.
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1818 Nov 21
Argentine privateers Frenchman Hipolito Bouchard and Englishman Peter Corney led a 2-ship attack against the presidio at Monterey, Ca. The women, children, and men unfit to fight were sent to an inland mission at Soledad. Five of the attackers were killed as Commander Pablo Vicente de Sola successfully defended the fort.
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