July 20, 2010
"The Bear Flag Republic"
On June 14, 1846, the Bear Flag Revolt was initiated by Americans in Sonoma. These American settlers declared the land today known as California, the California Republic, or the Bear Flag Republic. This was the first time that the bear insignia seen on our modern California Flag was flown, as they desired a symbol of strength to live by in their attempt to break away from the ever increasingly hostile Mexicans in the area. While they did refer to themselves as a republic, no government was ever implemented under such, nor did any governing body recognize them as one either. During the 26 day conflict, General Mariano Vallejo was captured at his headquarters and the republic demanded use of Sutter's fort facilities to imprison captured Mexican officials.
Though, not thrilled with the predicament he found himself in the middle of, Sutter raised the Bear Flag over his fort and accepted the war prisoners. Considering the Vallejos friends, however, he treated them as guests to his fort rather than prisoners.
The "Bear Flaggers" who were commanded by William B. Ide and John C. Fremont continued to wage war against the Mexican government, as Sutter attempted to reinstate a sense of normalcy in the New Helvetia region. The revolt had resulted in such a lack of manpower in the fort and New Helvetia region though, that a lack of productivity towards his efforts was inevitable.
On the 26th day, the US Army took control of the region and two years later California was annexed by the United States in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and Sutter's New Helvetia fell under American control.