Los Fundadores y Amigos de Alta California

In 1769, much of California was inhabited by Native Americans. These native peoples, consisting of hundreds of subgroups, had made the region their home for over 10,000 years. Around 1770, Spanish pathfinding treks in what was then known as Upper California (Alta California), encountered these people, and set in motion a process of transformation of their way of life.

By the late 18th Century, Spain's colony in Mexico, then called New Spain (Nueva España), had by then only entered what is now Western United States in the New Mexico and Arizona areas. The Viceroy of New Spain, Don José de Galvaz, under direction of Spanish King Don Carlos III, sent explorers under Don Gaspar de Portola in 1769 into the little known Upper California (Alta California) to head off Russian expansion into the West Coast.

A number of settlement expeditions soon followed, the largest being that under Juan Bautista De Anza in 1775/1776. Hispanic post-contact governance of this western region continued following Mexico's Independence from Spain in 1822, and ended in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago following the war between Mexico and the United States. A few years later, California, then an American territory, was admitted as its 31st State.

The descendants of these settlers who arrived during Spanish and Mexican rule, as well as the Native peoples, can be found throughout California today.

Los Fundadores is a California organization that serves to identify and recognize the families that came to Alta California between 1769 and 1848, as well as remember how this change as well as later changes under American rule decimated the lifeways of the Native peoples. We endeavor to educate the general public on California's diverse multi-cultural roots.

California Indians 1822 painting by Louis Choris