Friday, November 21, 2008

A BIG crowd

(Image: Officers of the Commodore John D. Sloat hoisting the American flag on July 7, 1846 in Monterey, California. Illustration circa 1855 by Anonymous, considered in the public domain.)
Golf tournaments, car shows, and rock concerts draw big crowds on the Monterey Peninsula these days, but the record seems to have been set in 1946, when as many as 150,000 people gathered for a patriotic parade through New Monterey and downtown. It was part of the Monterey Centennial, which was really a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the western expansion of the United States. Navy Commodore John Sloat landed 225 marines and sailors in the 150-home village of Monterey on July 7, 1846, and seized a 600,000-square-mile section of Mexico for the U.S. The area was called Alta California. Now we call it California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and parts of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. The U.S. takeover didn't require a single shot because Mexico's troops had already withdrawn from Monterey, the territorial capital, giving up what they considered a lost cause.

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