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California Capitals

California Capitals

In the early days of California, the official seat of government was Loreto, in Lower California, and both Alta and Lower California were administered from there as Las Californios. When Alta California, as the upper portion of the region was called, gained in importance, the capital was moved to Monterey in 1777. Under the governorship of Pio Pico (1845-1846) the capital and assembly were transferred to Los Angeles while the customs and treasury were left in Monterey. Monterey remained the seat of government until 1849, when the capital was shifted to San Jose. While here, voters ratified statehood, and California was admitted into the United States in 1850. San Jose became the site of the first meeting of the state's governing body, known as the Legislature of 1,000 Drinks. In 1851, the state legislature accepted an offer to create a capital at Vallejo. While the Capitol in Vallejo was being constructed, the Legislature convened in Sacramento. When facilities in Vallejo were found to be insufficient, the capital was moved to Benicia in 1853. The accommodations in Benicia were also deemed inadequate, so, in 1854, Sacramento became the permanent seat of government for the State of California.

Monterey 1777 - October 13, 1849 (with the brief exception of 1845-1846 under the governorship of Pio Pico when the capital and assembly moved to Los Angeles)

San Jose December 15, 1849 - May 1, 1851

Vallejo January 5, 1852 - January 12, 1852

Sacramento January 16, 1852 - November 2, 1853

Vallejo January 3, 1853 - February 4, 1853

Benicia February 11, 1853 - February 25, 1854

Sacramento February 28, 1854 - present day

View similarly tagged entries:

California, geography, government



  • A Companion to California
    Newly Revised and Expanded with Illustrations. By James D. Hart. University of California Press, 1987.


Last updated by cowend on Dec. 9, 2009


While the Library has verified the information presented in these files in what it considers to be reliable and authoritative sources, it cannot take responsibility for nor guarantee the accuracy of the information presented.