• View of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from the Marin Headlands, looking towards San Francisco at sunrise.

    Golden Gate

    National Recreation Area California

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  • Tunnel Closure

    The Barry/Baker tunnel on Bunker Road will be closed for maintenance during the weeks of 6/2 and 6/9. The tunnel will be open on the weekends. Please use Conzelman Road instead. More »

  • Muir Beach Overlook closure

    The Muir Beach Overlook will be closed for Accessibility improvements and trail upgrades from June 2 through July 21. Alternate viewpoints are available along Highway 1 between there and Stinson Beach.

Centuries of Defense - Spanish (1776-1821) and Mexican Era(1822-1846)

Spain controlled the western coast of the North American continent in 1776 as the thirteen colonies declared independence from Great Britain. The mouth of the San Francisco Bay presented an entry to a new and rich world, ripe for the taking as various nations vied for control of the region.

Presidio of San Francisco c. 1776

Drawing of what the Presidio of San Francisco may have looked like in the early 19th century.

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, PAM Negative Collection, GOGA 35256.0645

  • 1779 - El Presidio de San Francisco established

    Northern-most outpost of the Spanish territories. El Presidio is outfitted with two cannons and soldiers are garrisoned at the site for the protection of Spanish settlers, development of the community, and control of the native population.
  • 1794 - Construction of Castillo de San Joaquin

    Adobe fort built by the Spanish to protect the mouth of San Francisco Bay from possible British and Russian aggression.

  • 1797 - Construction of Battery San Jose

    A Spanish defense at the current site of Fort Mason, built in response to the war with Britain.
SPM - 2

Fort San Jose and the Golden Gate straight during the Mexican period.

Image courtesy of the Bancroft library.

  • 1821 - Formation of the Mexican Republic

    Mexico successfully battles through the War of Independence from Spain. Soldiers at the Spanish defenses in San Francisco change their allegiance from Spain to Mexico.

  • 1835 - Mexican forces abandon Presidio

    General Mariano Vallejo transfers military headquarters to Sonoma.

  • 1847 - American forces occupy the Presidio of San Francisco
Presidio of San Francisco crest

Original panel for "Spanish (1776-1821) and Mexican Era (1822-1846)" (PDF, 39.5 MB)


Did You Know?


A 1° F increase in average temperature seen in California over the last 100 years has led to Sierra snow melting 2 to 4 weeks earlier and flowers blooming 1 to 2 weeks earlier. Temperatures are predicted to increase another 1° to 2° F in the next 25 years.