Wednesday, February 7, 2018

California's First Star

Image by Peter Loeser
Alvarado's California Flag             

California "Lone Star" Republic Flag 1836
In 1836, Juan Alvarado vowed to gain increased autonomy for California from Mexican rule with either "bullets or words." He hoisted this white flag with a single, centered, red five-pointed star at Monterey.
In 1834, Alvarado had been elected to the Alta California Legislature as a delegate and appointed customs inspector in Monterey. The Mexican government had then appointed Lieutenant Colonel Nicolas Guterrez as Governor against the wishes of the legislature. In November of 1836, Alvarado and Jose Castro (with Vallejo's political support) surrounded the presidio at Monterey and forced Guterrez to surrender power to them. At the time of Alvarado's revolt, he still favored remaining a part of Mexico, and working with the Mexican government. With Vallejo's political support, he went on to become a two-time Governor of Alta California from 1836-1837, and later between 1842-1845.

The red star signifies freedom and independence from Mexico. The original flag is preserved at the Autry National Center in Pasadena, Cal. It is the oldest surviving California flag.

This is how the five pointed western star began in California. 


  1. I enjoyed reading your post this morning with a hot cup of joe. The number of beautiful flags that flew over pre statehood California are a feast to the eyes . It doesn’t get any better than the early variations of the star and bear .
    Well done Mike !