In vivid detail, award-winning author Stephen G. Hyslop traces the story of early California from its founding in 1769 by Spanish colonists to its annexation in 1848 by the United States. He describes the motivations and activities of colonizers and colonized alike. Using eyewitness accounts, he allows all participants—Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American—to have their say. Soldiers, settlers, missionaries, and merchants testify to the heroic and commonplace, the colorful and tragic, in California’s pre-American history. Exhaustively researched yet concise, this book offers a much-needed alternative history of early California and its evolution from Spanish colony to American territory.