Pio Pico is a prominent Latino in California’s history. Pico was a first generation Californian whose parents immigrated from “New Spain” aka Mexico, and settled into San Diego. Pio Pico was of Native American, Spanish and African ancestry due to his parents lineage. YES, Pico was BLACK!
Many thought Pico’s feature were abnormal and labeled him with a disease “acromegaly”. Gertrude Atherton, a prominent San Francisco writer, said of Pico in 1902: “…an uglier man than Pio Pico rarely had entered this world. The upper lip of his enormous mouth dipped at the middle; the broad thick under lip hung down with its own weight. The nose was big and coarse, although there was a certain spirited suggestion in the cavernous nostrils…” Those pesky “African” traits.
During the 1850’s Pico was one of the richest men in Alta California. It was also in 1850 that California became a State. Pico was granted citizenship and in 1868 constructed the most lavish hotel in Los Angeles, Casa de Pico, across from Olvera Street.
Pico ran for office in 1834 as the first alcalde (magistrate) of San Diego after secularization of the mission, but was defeated. He challenged Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado (1836 to 1842) on political issues and was imprisoned on several occasions.
In 1844 he was chosen as a leader of the California Assembly. In 1845, he was again appointed governor, succeeding the unpopular Manuel Micheltorena. Pico made Los Angeles the province’s capital.
In the year leading up to the Mexican–American War, Governor Pico was outspoken in favor of California’s becoming a British Protectorate rather than an American territory.
When U.S. troops occupied Los Angeles and San Diego in 1846 during the Mexican–American War, Pico fled to Baja California, Mexico, to argue before the Mexican Congress for sending troops to defend Alta California. Pico did not return to Los Angeles until after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and he reluctantly accepted the transfer of sovereignty.
So…Pico was of African descent, Black, would he approve of Latino’s identifying themselves as “white”? Perhaps former city of LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa should have fact checked more before declaring he was “white” back in 2000 for census purposes.
Are the Latino’s being forced into an alliance with the WASP’s to maintain the white privilege WASP’s have come to enjoy. Using lack of education and dangling immigration reform, statistics show that Latino’s will be the majority in CA in the not so distant future. Is this a ploy to secure votes to maintain a stronghold over politics?
Thus the race war continues…
About Alta California
Alta California (English: Upper California) was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, western Colorado and southwestern Wyoming. The territory passed to American control after the Mexican–American War and ceased to exist with the creation of the State of California in 1850.