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Aztlán and ArcadiaReligion, Ethnicity, and the Creation of Place$
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Roberto Ramón Lint Sagarena

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814740606

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814740606.001.0001

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Building a Region

Building a Region

(p.51) 2 Building a Region
Aztlán and Arcadia

Roberto Ramón Lint Sagarena

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the creation of Southern California as an American region within the context of post-Civil War reconstruction and the arrival of rail lines to the West. It first considers large-scale American migration to California after the Civil War following the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, along with the efforts of railroad boosters to promote the benefits of California's “Mediterranean” or “semi-tropical” climate to prospective tourists and settlers. It then examines romantic portrayals of the Californios' life of ease and goes on to discuss transformations in California's urban environments. It also explores how Helen Hunt Jackson, through her California writings such as the novel Ramona—which depicts the declining fortunes of wealthy Californios and the Indigenous peoples who worked their lands—shaped the way many Americans in Southern California understood and articulated their sense of place and region. The chapter concludes with a discussion of Southern Californians' development of an architecture that would reflect their identity and reinforce their invented historical traditions.

Keywords:   migration, Southern California, reconstruction, rail lines, railroad boosters, Californios, Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona, Indigenous peoples, architecture

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