Below is a list of the Governors of early California (1769-1850), before its admission as the 31st U.S. state. First explored by Gaspar de Portolá, with colonies established at San Diego and Monterey, California was a remote, sparsely-settled Spanish province of New Spain. In 1822, following the Mexican independence, California became part of Mexico.
In 1836, a coup led by Californios Juan Bautista Alvarado and Jose Castro eventually resulted in Alvarado becoming governor. That conflict ended in 1838, when the central government of Mexico recognized Alvarado as California Governor. The territorial diputación (legislature) approved the appointment.
Another disputed governorship occurred in 1844, settled when another Californio, Pio Pico, became the last Governor of Mexican California. In 1846, the "Bear Flag Revolt" in Sonoma declared California an independent republic--the "Bear Flag Republic". No government was formed, however, and the revolt did not have time to spread very far because, than a month later, California came under U.S. military protection at the outset of the Mexican-American War. California was ceded to the U.S. in 1848, and was admitted as the 31st U.S. state on September 9, 1850. Peter Burnett, the last governor of the post-war military territory, became its first state governor after admission.
After Mexican rule reached California in 1822, native son Luis Argüello became governor. California's first revolt against Mexico took place the same year as Mexico's first constitution, 1824. In 1832, Gov. Victoria was overthrown; Pio Pico claimed the office for but twenty days, following which the office was either vacant or held by Echeandia, whose authority was challenged by Zamorano, the Comandante General in the north.
During the Mexican-American War, U.S. military forces under Sloat, Stockton and Kearny assumed civilian control. General Mason was the first appointed military governor, in 1847. In 1849, a convention ratified a new state constitution and Peter Burnett was elected governor. On September 9, 1850, California was admitted into the U.S. as the 31st state.