After Native Americans left the California missions, they found the land had changed with settlement. European settlers along the coast now owned much of the land that had previously supported the indigenous Californians. With little choice, many former mission residents turned to the ranchos for work herding cattle. Rancheros advanced them some money, food, and alcohol on credit, and when they were unable to repay their debts, forced them to continue working. Some were quickly reduced to begging and petty crime for survival. The native Californians were often rounded up to work during peak seasons.
Following the gold rush, white settlers and miners flooded their traditional lands. As some newcomers had been attacked on their way to California by other native peoples, some were hostile to the local tribes.
After 1848 a series of encounters between whites and Native Americans resulted in several massacres of which whites were often the perpetrators. The worst atrocities took place in northern California, and culminated in the Modoc War of 1872 and 1873. In 1864 the Modoc had been forced to move to a reservation in Oregon. They returned to California twice, but each time they were told to move back. On the second occasion, the Modoc took refuge in lava beds near Tule Lake. After a three-month battle in which the armed Modocs killed about 75 men while losing only 5, they were defeated and their chief, Kintpuash (known as Captain Jack), was hanged. By 1900, only about 5,000 Native Americans remained in the state. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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