On the morning of June 14, 1846, men from the Grigsby-Ide party of settlers awoke General Mariano Vallejo in Sonoma, California demanding his surrender. This was the start of the "The Bear Flag Revolt," the first step towards California independence. A flag was needed and it was reportedly designed by William L. Todd, nephew of Mary Lincoln Todd. The flag bore a single star to signify our solidarity with the Texas revolution, a grizzly bear to signify strength, a red stripe along the bottom to signify our allegiance with the U.S. and the words "California Republic."

General Vallejo recalls that after his surrender that day the flag was raised in Sonoma and he
remembered the grizzly bear more resembled a pig. Although there are representations of this flag, the original flag was lost in the earthquake and fire of 1906.

1st-bear-flag

In a show of support for the Bear Flag Revolt, Captain John C. Fremont and a troop of about 60 Topical Engineers joined the revolt and helped to drive the hostile Mexican forces out of Northern California (not all Mexicans were sad to see the Mexican Government driven out nor did all of them participate in defending California against the Bear Flag Revolt).

The Bear Flag Revolt ended before the Mexican-American War, but California Independence was not established officially until February 2, 1848, the end of the Mexican-American War.