Sonoma County Office of Education

Library Media Services

California History

California Historical Society
This site from the California Historical Society includes brief articles and images covering California's physical geography and 300 years of history. Topics include Early Californians, Spanish Colonial life (missions, presidios, and pueblos), Mexican California (rancho life), the Gold Rush, the impact of the Railroad, Economic Growth, and the Great Depression.

The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
The Museum's site showcases California history through the voices and newspapers of San Francisco. Gold Rush resources are highlighted on the home page, but searching by subject or year brings up resources on many other topics. Resources include biographies, chronologies, newspaper articles, and a wealth of primary source documents. (Note that the language of some source documents may be too challenging for fourth grade readers.)

Native Americans


Native American Cultural Center: Education
The education resources from the Native American Culture Center include lesson plans (K-6 and 7-12), an online art gallery, maps, surveys of current tribal culture, activities, literature recommendations, and teacher guides. NACC highlights California American Indian arts and culture, with a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area.

Indian Tribes of California
While it is difficult to find sites with specific information on many or all of California’s tribes, there are many that focus on a particular tribe or region. This site identifies many of those featuring the history and culture of specific tribes.

Early California History


Juan De Anza National Historic Website
This site explores early California through the eyes of Juan De Anza. The site describes his exploration and colonization of the California coast. It includes a page in Spanish, photos and brief information about California missions, and information on parks and recreation areas where you can visit parts of the De Anza trail today.

California Gold Rush Era


California’s Untold Story: Gold Rush
Explore the Gold Rush exhibit of the Oakland Museum with narrative, period photographs, and photographs of artifacts and other items from the display. The site includes curriculum and lesson plans for grades 4, 5, 8, and 11.

American Experience: The Gold Rush
This site was created as a companion to the November 2006 American Experience television program. Resources include a film description and transcript, native stories, people and events, maps, timeline, and teacher's guide.

Today’s California Government


California State Information
This website lists basic information and links to resources on the state flag, climate, topography, the Constitution, and more.