How did California's state flag come to be?

The Original Bear Flag
The Original Bear Flag, a symbol of strength and unyielding resistance.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Throughout history, bears have been used as symbols. The grizzly bear on the California state flag (the "Bear Flag") is one such example. The design originated in 1846, when California was a part of Mexico. The Mexican governor declared null and void the acquisition of land by American settlers who had not been naturalized as Mexicans and threatened to expel them from the area. As tensions rose, a small band of American insurgents captured the town of Sonoma, home to an influential Mexican general. To replace the Mexican flag flying overhead, they designed a flag featuring a grizzly bear. They become known as the Bears, and their uprising was called the Bear Flag Revolt.