Before 1700 AD, Yurok people established the village of Tsurai on bluffs overlooking Trinidad Bay. The first European sighting of Trinidad Harbor was by the Manila galleon Captain Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, who did not make landfall. The next visit was by Bruno de Heceta and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra of the Spanish Navy.
Their two ships anchored in Trinidad Bay on June 9, 1775, and on June 11, 1775, Bruno de Heceta, commandant of an expedition up the northwest coast, marched with his men and two Franciscan fathers from the shore of the bay to the summit of Trinidad Head. Here they erected a cross and took possession in the name of Charles III of Spain. At the place where a wooden cross was erected stands a carved stone cross bearing the inscription “Carolus III Dei G. Hyspaniorum Rex, in the name of King Carlos of Spain.” The area was named "la Santisima Trinidad".
Settlers arrived on the James R. Whitting on April 8, 1850. Trinidad is the oldest town on the Northern California coast. During the 1850s, it served as a vital supply link between ships anchored at Trinidad Bay and miners in the Klamath, Trinity, Salmon River, and Gold Bluff mines. It was the county seat of Klamath County (now disbanded) from 1851 to 1854, but its population declined as Eureka and other area port cities developed.
During the American Civil War from July to October 1863 California Volunteers fighting the local Indians in the Bald Hills War were stationed in Trinidad. The Trinidad Camp protected Trinidad and the coast road from Indian raids, until they were moved four miles north to Camp Gilmore. Trinidad was incorporated in 1870 as a City of the State of California.
Trinidad is one of California’s smallest incorporated cities by population (367 residents in 2010). Trinidad is noted for its spectacular coastline with ten public beaches and offshore rocks, part of the California Coastal National Monument, of which Trinidad is a Gateway City. Fishing operations related to Trinidad Harbor are vital to both local tourism and commercial fishery interests in the region.
December 19th, 2016
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