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8.8.8 View of the Plaza, Marysville, Alt. Calif.

Lithograph depicting a busy scene at Marysville, Alta California. In the foreground are several boats near the shoreline. Goods are being transported by boat and raft. In the background are a row of buildings in the Plaza, including several hotels, and auction house, and other businesses.
Cooke & LeCount

"View of the Plaza, Marysville, Alt. Calif." Photograph. California Historical Society, California lettersheet collection, Kemble Spec Col 09.

The Mexican–American War transferred California and vast parts of the western part of the continent to the United States. For a newly industrial country, this meant new land from which to draw natural resources — like minerals and timber — and new areas to settle and make economically productive. This drawing depicts the town of Marysville during the Gold Rush. What are some of the ways that you see new arrivals in California turning the resources of the area into products that will earn them money? What are some environmental changes that you imagine had recently taken place when people began building this town, and what are some ways that people at the time of this drawing were relying on the environment and its resources? What impact did this have on Native and Mexican American populations?
One of the consequences of the Mexican–American War was the impact on the environment. The United States began industrial and agricultural development to a degree previously unknown in this region, in part because of the unprecedented numbers of people now living in the western part of the continent. Gold mining was the first major industry during the US era in California, but others quickly followed, including timber, agriculture, and the railroad that moved people and goods. Each of these industries had significant local and regional environmental consequences. For one, it meant that land occupied by Native communities became so valuable that it was easier to eliminate the people instead of legally removing them. These industries ordered and organized the West, bringing it into the US economy in ways that held enormous consequences for Western land and resources.

Lith. of Pollard & Perrgoy San Francisco.

View of the Plaza Marysville Alt. Calif.

Published by Cooke & LeCount Montgomery St. S.F.