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Mexican Peacemaker to U.S. Citizen

In January 1847, at a small ranch house near the Cahuenga Pass, Mexican Gen. Andres Pico (1810-1876) secured his place in American history by signing the treaty ending hostilities in California against U.S. forces led by John C. Fremont.

Known as the Articles of Capitulation, the treaty would help pave the way for the better-known Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo a year later, in which Mexico relinquished its claim to California, allowing its entry into the union as the 31st state.

Pico, who later became an American citizen, played a significant role in the early development of the Valley. A member of a prominent Mexican family and the brother of Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California, Andres became a large landowner and rancher.

After managing 117,000 acres of Valley land--encompassing the San Fernando Mission properties including a small adobe that still bears his name--Andres purchased half the land for $15,000 from the Spaniard Eulogio de Celis. Pico then transferred the parcel to brother Pio, who in turn sold it to the San Fernando Valley Homestead Assn. led by Isaac Lankershim and Isaac Newton Van Nuys.

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Pico also distinguished himself as a civic leader in the new California. He served as a brigadier general of the state National Guard and as a presidential elector in 1852. He was elected to the state Legislature where he sponsored a bill to split California in two. The bill passed, but stalled in Congress.


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