In 1769, much of California was inhabited by Native Americans. These native peoples, consisting of hundreds of subgroups, had made the region their home for over 10,000 years.
In the late 18th Century, Spain's colonies in the New World region of Mexico, then called Nueva Espana, had only entered what is now Western United States in the New Mexico and Arizona areas. The Viceroy of New Spain, Don Jose de Galvaz, under direction of Spanish King Don Carlos III, began California's modern era in 1769 by sending explorers under Don Gaspar de Portola into Upper California (Alta California). This pathfinding trek began a process of transformation of the local indeginous culture to that of the Spanish Empire.
A number of settlement expeditions soon followed, the largest being that under Juan Bautista De Anza in 1775/1776. Hispanic governance of this western frontier continued following Mexico's independence from Spain in 1822, and ended in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago following the war between Mexico and the United States. A few years later, California, then an American territory, was admitted as its 31st State.
The descendants of these settlers who arrived during Spanish and Mexican rule can be found throughout California today. Most are only vaguely aware of the role their ancestors played in the creation of this great state.
Los Fundadores is a California organization that serves to identify and recognize the families that came to Alta California between 1769 and 1848; the families who helped establish modern California. We endeavor to educate the general public on California's diverse multi-cultural roots.