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Andrés Pico

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Title: Andrés Pico  
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Subject: Mexican–American War, List of Governors of California before admission, Treaty of Cahuenga, John (Don Juan) Forster, Battle of Natividad
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Andrés Pico

Andrés Pico
  Governor of Alta California
In office
January 10, 1847 – January 13, 1847
Preceded by José María Flores
Succeeded by William B. Ide
Member of California State Assembly for Los Angeles
In office
Member of California State Senate for Los Angeles
In office
Personal details
Born 1810
San Diego, Las Californias
Died February 14, 1876(1876-02-14) (aged 66)
Los Angeles, California
Profession Politician, soldier, rancher, member of California State Assembly
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Allegiance Mexico
 United States
Service/branch Mexican Army
California State Militia (US Army)
Rank General (Mexico - until 1847)
Brigadier General (California State Militia - after 1858)

Andrés Pico (November 18, 1810 – February 14, 1876) was a Californio who became a successful rancher, served as a military commander during the Mexican-American War; and was elected to the state assembly and senate after California became a state, when he was also commissioned as a brigadier general in the state militia.

Early life

Andrés Pico was born in San Diego in the Spanish Las Californias Province of New Spain in 1810. He was one of several sons of José María Pico and María Eustaquia López, who together were of Native American, Spanish and African mixed-race ancestry. Andrés Pico was the younger brother of Pío Pico, who served briefly as governor of the Mexican Alta California Province.


In 1845 under the law for secularization of former Church properties, his older brother Governor Pío Pico granted Andrés Pico and his associate Juan Manso a nine-year lease for the Mission San Fernando Rey de España lands, which encompassed nearly the entire San Fernando Valley. At that time a 35-year old rancher, Andrés Pico lived in Pueblo de Los Angeles. He ran cattle on the ranch and made the Mission complex his rancho-base, with the Rómulo Pico Adobe his rancho residence.

In 1846, to raise funds for the Mexican-American War, the Pío Pico government sold secularized Mission lands. The Mission San Fernando was sold to Eulogio de Celis, who established Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. Celis returned to Spain, but his descendants stayed in California. Under the terms of secularization, the sale excluded the Mission compound and its immediate surroundings.[1]

In the Mexican-American War

During the Mexican-American War, Andrés Pico commanded the Mexican forces, the California Lancers, in Alta California. In 1846 Pico led an attack on forces commanded by U.S. General Stephen Watts Kearny at the Battle of San Pasqual, where Kearny's command was dealt a hard blow. In 1847, Andrés Pico was appointed as the acting Governor of Mexican Alta California, serving briefly in opposition to the U.S. provisional government established in 1846. On January 13, 1847, concerned that General Kearny might execute him, Andrés Pico signed the Treaty of Cahuenga with the American commander Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont. It was an informal agreement between rival military forces, which ended the Mexican-American War battles in California.[2] Andrés' brother, Pío Pico was the last official Mexican Governor of the province. General Andrés Pico was one of the signatories of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in 1848 formally ceding all of Mexico's Alta California territory to the United States.

Post-statehood activity

After California became an American state in 1850, Andrés Pico and other residents became United States citizens with full legal and voting rights. He remained in the new State of California. In 1853, Pico acquired a half interest in Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando from Eulogio de Celis; it was split along present-day Roscoe Boulevard, with Pico's land being the southern half of the San Fernando Valley to the Santa Monica Mountains.[1]

He was elected to the California State Assembly from Los Angeles in 1851.[1] He authored what was known as the Pico Bill in February 1859, to divide California. The bill proposed to create the "Territory of Colorado" from the southern counties of the state. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature and was signed by the Governor John B. Weller on April 18, 1859. But, the split was never put into effect because the U.S. Congress did not act on the bill.[3]

In 1858 Pico was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the California Militia. He was elected by the state legislature as a California State Senator from Los Angeles in 1860. In debt, Andrés Pico sold his half-interest in the Rancho ex-Mission San Fernando to his brother Pío Pico in 1862. He retired as a Californio ranchero in Los Angeles.[1]

Pico never married, but adopted several children. Don Andrés Pico died in Los Angeles in 1876.


  • Pico Boulevard, running from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles, is named for his brother Pió Pico, the former governor, but also honors the Pico family.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Andreas Pico Adobe", The Branding Iron, December 1976, Number 124; reprinted by the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, 1977; accessed 11 October 2011
  2. ^ Pitt, Leonard; Pitt, Dale (1997). Los Angeles A to Z: An Encyclopedia of the City and County. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 392.  
  3. ^ William Henry Ellison, "The Movement for State Division in California, 1849-1860," The Southwestern Historical Quarterly XVII, no. 2 (October, 1913), 139.
  4. ^ Kielbasa, John R. (1998), "Andres Pico Adobe", Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County,  .
  5. ^ "Andres Pico Adobe", Los Angeles Parks

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