Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ALVARADO, Juan Bautista, governor of California from 1836 till 1842. He was the leader of the Californian revolt against Mexican authority. Figueroa, the legitimate governor of the province, died in September, 1835, and Chico, a very obnoxious person in the eyes of Californians, was appointed in his stead by the Mexican government, his rule was so unpopular that he was forced to retire, upon which Alvarado in November 1836, rallied a force, including sundry adventurers from the United States, and other foreigners, seized Monterey, and sent the deputy, whom Chico had left, to Mexico. Independence was formally declared, and the legislature elected Alvarado governor ad interim. Southern California remained loyal for a time; but Alvarado, partly by a show of force, and partly through shrewd diplomacy, won over Santa Barbara and Los Angelos, and in January 1837, proclaimed the whole of California free and united. In June of the same year a Mexican commissioner was sent to negotiate with the revolted provinces, but the self-made governor, with characteristic address, won him over and sent him back to plead his (Alvarado's) cause. In the meantime the Mexican government had appointed a new and somewhat warlike governor for California, without consulting Alvarado, and hostilities forthwith began. A single " battle" took place at San Buena-ventura, in which one man was killed, the Mexican forces were routed, and Alvarado was soon recognized by the central government as governor of what was then designated as the "Department of California." For two years his jurisdiction was not seriously disputed, but in 1842 the Mexican government sent a new military representative, and Alvarado was deposed. He appeared subsequently as an intriguer of some ability, but never came to the front again in the character of a successful leader. The conquest by the United States followed in time to prevent further instances of the local tendency to revolution.
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