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Explore California History

“There’s only the American Dream and the California dream.”
—Gov. Gavin Newsom

CAL@170 is a collection of 170 stories celebrating California’s 170 years of statehood. The aim is to offer examples of California’s unique character and that of its residents, past and present. That means among the good there will be some bad. For every success story, there’s a failure, a tragedy, an injustice. It’s from these mistakes that we learn and grow stronger together. Share a story with us that helps define what California means to you.

“Now It’s On To Chicago and Let’s Win This”

Robert Kennedy appearing before Platform Committee. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division [Reproduction…

“So I Decided to Be an Artichoke…”

In 1975, Edward V. Roberts is named director of the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation -- the same agency that…

A Self-Taught Botanist Feeds Millions

Burbank's new residence and information bureau, Santa Rosa, California [CIFII_Scan684] California State Library On June 17, 1930, federal law changes…

Sally Ride Is the First American Woman in Space

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Launch Complex 39. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HAER, Reproduction number HAER FL-8-11-B…

Element 98 is Named for the Golden State

On March 17, 1950, a team of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley announce the discovery of a new…

Plague Appears in San Francisco

In the spring of 1899, news of a potential “plague ship” making its way from Japan to San Francisco spurs…

The “Perigrinacion” Begins

With a banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe at their head, 70 striking farmworkers led by Cesar Chavez leave Delano…

A New Theory on the Dinosaurs Demise

On June 6, 1980, the 4448th issue of the magazine "Science" is published, which includes an article by four Californians…

Maiden Run of California’s First Railroad

At 11 a.m. on Washington’s Birthday, February 22, 1856, the Sacramento Valley Railroad inaugurates service to Folsom, as the locomotive…

The Children Are Spared, the Field Act Is Born

It's 5:54 p.m. on Friday, March 10, 1933. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake sweeps throughout Southern California, concentrating much of its…

Men — Barely — Give Women the Vote

California State Library California’s men narrowly grant California’s women the right to vote on October 10, 1911. Approval of the…

Sealing the Deal on the State Seal

The Constitutional Convention at Monterey adopts California's Great Seal on October 2, 1849. The debate over the final design is…

The Battle of Los Angeles

On the evening of February 24, 1942, an anti-aircraft barrage of more than 1,440 rounds is launched at what is…

California’s 12th Governor Takes Oath of Office

Lt. Gov. Romualdo Pacheco becomes the first – and so far only – Latino or Hispanic to hold the state's…

The Capitol Comes to Sacramento

On February 25, 1854, Gov. John Bigler ends California’s five-year game of musical capitals by signing legislation making Sacramento California’s permanent…

The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio Opens

Brothers Walter Elias Disney and Roy Oliver Disney found Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio on October 16, 1923. The studio is…

An Anti-Slavery US Senator is Selected

On February 10, 1863, state lawmakers choose Assemblyman John Conness, a strong opponent of slavery, as California’s U.S. Senator, succeeding…

America’s First Jewish Congresswoman

On February 17, 1925 Florence Prag Kahn wins a special election to fill the San Francisco congressional seat previously held…

“Winter of Love” Begins

Mayor Gavin Newsom marries Erin Carder (left) and Kerri McCoy at City Hall in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, October…