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California Cultures

Lesson Plan: Los Californios
California's Spanish, Native American, and African Heritage

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Creator: Raul Alarcon, Corinne A. Seeds University Elementary School / Primary Level

Grade Level Recommendation: 4

Unit Overview: Los Californios were the early land-holding families of California descendents of Spanish, Indian, and African peoples who colonized the present-day state of California after 1769. Alta California, as it was known then, marked the northern frontier of the Spanish empire in the New World. This unit focuses on Rancho De Buenos Ayres, located in what is now the Westside area of Los Angeles. Students will use primary resources to develop an understanding of how the Californios had to adapt to an order to retain ownership of their land in California.

This lesson plan was originally created at the UCLA Institute on Primary Resources.

Primary source materials used in this lesson plan include:


Diseño del Rancho San Josè de Buenos Ayres ca. 1845. 
Mapa de los Estados Unidos de Mejico, 1847
1. Diseño del Rancho San Josè de Buenos Ayres ca. 1845.
2. Mapa de los Estados Unidos de Mejico, 1847