The California Republic was an unrecognized breakaway state that, for twenty-five days in 1846, militarily controlled an area north of San Francisco, in and around what is now Sonoma County in California. In June 1846, thirty-three American immigrants in Alta California rebelled against the Mexican department’s government. The immigrants had not been allowed to buy or rent land and had been threatened with expulsion from California because they had entered illegally without official permission. Mexican officials were concerned about a coming war with the United States coupled with the growing influx of Americans into California. The rebellion was soon overtaken by the beginning of the Mexican–American War.
The name “California Republic” appeared only on the flag the insurgents raised in Sonoma. It indicated their aspiration of forming a republican government for California. The insurgents elected military officers but no civil structure was ever established. The flag featured an image of a California grizzly bear and became known as the Bear Flag and the revolt as the Bear Flag Revolt.
Three weeks later, on July 5, 1846, the Republic’s military of 100 to 200 men was subsumed into the California Battalion commanded by U.S. Army Brevet Captain John C. Frémont. The Bear Flag Revolt and whatever remained of the “California Republic” ceased to exist on July 9 when U.S. Navy Lieutenant Joseph Revere raised the United States flag in front of the Sonoma Barracks and sent a second flag to be raised at Sutter’s Fort.
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