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This is a list of Governors of California before her admission as the 31st U.S. state in 1850. From 1769 to 1822, the area was a Spanish colony. Upon Mexico's independence from Spain in 1822 until statehood in 1836, it was a federal territory of the United Mexican States (UEM). From 1836 to 1846, it achieved full self-rule as a free and sovereign State alongside the UEM, sending its elected and voting representation to Mexico City. From 1846 to 1850, it was a nominally independent republic in cooperation with the U.S. military. California was admitted as one of the United States on September 9, 1850.
At the start of the Bear Flag revolt against Mexico in 1846, land surveyor Capt. John C. Fremont on the frontier sent his companion William B. Ide over to Sonoma, where he tried to foment insurrection and where he captured Californian citizens. Ide made many public declarations about himself as conquering "commander" and "President of California," but such bluster had no political substance. A year later, Fremont pronounced himself military governor and for that he was convicted of mutiny in court-martial, his superior, Gen. Kearney presiding. While this was going on, Californians willingly cooperated with the American military and freely continued to elect their own civil officials.