115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Re-emergence of the Californio Identity

Carissa Conti, University of California, Riverside

A quick overview of the Californio history, the resurgence into society and its impact on identity.


Californio is a term used when describing the people of Hispanic descent living in California. This form of identity is an important part of the history from the colonization of the New World (aka Mexico) since it describes the descendants from Spanish ancestry who were born in the New World, of what is now California in the U.S., when the Spanish colonized over it. However, according to Douglas Monroy, in his research about “The Creation and Re-creation of Californio Society”, he plants that in the past, the Californios were indeed a society and very much an identity that did not last long because of the “political economy of California” (173). Monroy discusses that even though the Californio society dispersed and was unknown for a while, that it started to grow and become prominent again in California with the younger society. According to Barbara L. Voss, in her article “From Casta to Californio: Social Identity and the Archaeology of Culture Contact”, Californio comes from the “castas” of when the Spanish lived in New Spain and divided their people from others. It is this distinction that starts creating a different mind set and thus an identity.