From Left to Right:
The Spanish War Ensign Flag
The explorer Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo discovered the coast of the State of California for Spain in the autumn, of 1542. But Spain did not begin to colonize this state until 1769.
The English Flag
The English navigator, Francis Drake, on what is now the Marin County coast, north of the Golden Gate, from June 17 to July 23, 1579. While there, he claimed this region for England, however, England took no steps to maintain the claim.
The Imperial Russian Flag*
In 1812 Imperial Russia established a colony on the Sonoma County Coast from Bodega Bay north to Fort Ross. They did not attempt to expand or contest Spain's claim to the area. They voluntarily withdrew in 1842.
Flag of the Mexican Empire
In 1822, Mexico won its independence from Spain and the Mexican Empire flag was raised over California. In 1823, that Empire was superseded by the Republic of Mexico.
Flag of the Republic of Mexico
The Republic of Mexico maintained its sovereignty over California from 1823 until July, 1846.
The California Republic "Bear" Flag
June 14, 1846 thirty-three foreign settlers, mostly Americans, captured Sonoma as the first step in a plan to make California a free Republic; but no Republic was established because the United States Navy landed forces at Monterey July 7, 1846. On July 9th the United States flag replaced the Bear flag in Sonoma.
The Flag of the United States
Replaced the flag of Mexico at Monterey on July 7, 1846, when United States Naval forces were landed because the two countries were then engaged in war with each other. By early January 1847, The United States had control of the entire state.
Information provided by the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation. Download the print version.
*The flag displayed is the Russian-American Company Flag and is not a Russian sovereign flag, but the commercial company. Credit to former Sonoma City Historian Robert Demler, September 2017, for this information.