Almanac: December » Almanac: December 05

Almanac: December
04 06


President James K. Polk reports to Congress that gold had been discovered in California. From California by Kevin Starr:

Within the following two years, the Gold Rush fast-forwarded California into what historian Hubert Howe Bancroft would later describe as “a rapid, monstrous maturity.” Within a year of President Polk’s announcement, the non-Native American population of California was approaching one hundred thousand, up from the less than ten thousand of 1848. Even more astonishingly, California had organized itself as a state, bypassing territorial status, had held elections, and was petitioning Congress for admission into the Union.

Within three years of President Polk’s announcement, the non-Native American population had soared to 255,000, and a new metropolis, San Francisco, had sprung into existence like Atlantis rising from the sea. In just about every way possible — its internationalism, its psychology of expectation, its artistic and literary culture, its racism, its heedless damage to the environment, its rapid creation of a political, economic, and technological infrastructure — the Gold Rush established, for better or for worse, the founding patterns, the DNA code, of American California.

Josiah Royce believed that the Gold Rush offered a case study in American character and hence was of importance to understanding the nation. Like the Revolutionary War, the Great Awakening, the Louisiana Purchase, or the Civil War, the Gold Rush, according to many historians, constitutes a defining moment in the development of the United States.

…The Spanish quest for El Dorado was now being Americanized with its psychological and mythic hold as powerful as ever.


Sir Speedy Printing opens for business in Los Alamitos. Owners Allen and Lauri McLean will pass the business along to their son Shawn in 2018.


Gerard Goedhart selected to serve as mayor of La Palma for 2018. One of his first responsibilities will be to lead the selection of a replacement for former Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hwangbo, who resigned for personal reasons on Nov. 30.