Monterey (Spanish: Monterrey; Ohlone: Aacistak) is a city located in Monterey County on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California‘s Central Coast. Founded on June 3, 1770, it was the capital of Alta California under both Spain (1804 to 1821) and Mexico (1822 to 1836). During this period, Monterey hosted California’s first theater, public building, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. It was originally the only port of entry for all taxable goods in California. In 1846 during the Mexican–American War, the United States flag was raised over the Customs House. After California was ceded to the U.S. after the war, Monterey hosted California’s first constitutional convention in 1849.
The city occupies a land area of 8.466 sq mi (21.93 km2) and the city hall is at 26 feet (8 m) above sea level. The 2010 census recorded a population of 27,810. Monterey and surrounding area have attracted artists since the late 19th century and many celebrated painters and writers have lived there. Until the 1950s, there was an abundant fishery. Among Monterey’s present-day attractions are the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, California Roots Music and Arts Festival, and the annual Monterey Jazz Festival. Long before the arrival of Spanish explorers, the Rumsen Ohlone tribe, one of seven linguistically distinct Ohlone groups in California, inhabited the area now known as Monterey.
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