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Monterey was the site of the Battle of Monterey on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican-American War. Sloat, Commodore in the United States Navy, raised the U. flag over the Monterey Custom House and claimed California for the United States.In addition, many historic "firsts" occurred in Monterey.The cathedral is the oldest continuously operating parish and the oldest stone building in California.

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Variants of the city's name (from the Spanish Monterrey) are recorded as Monte Rey and Montery.In 1769, the first European land exploration of Alta California, the Spanish Portolá expedition, traveled north from San Diego, seeking Vizcaino's "Port of Monterey" from 167 years earlier.Vizcaino also noted and named the "Point of Pines" (labeled on today's maps as "Point Pinos", the northernmost point of the Monterey Peninsula).All other uses of the name Monterey derive from Vizcaino's name for the bay.The city has a noteworthy history as a center for California painters in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Such painters as Arthur Frank Mathews, Armin Hansen, Xavier Martinez, Rowena Meeks Abdy and Percy Gray lived or visited to pursue painting in the style of either En plein air or Tonalism.It hosted California's first constitutional convention in 1849, which composed the documents necessary to apply to the United States for statehood.Today it houses a museum, while adjacent buildings serve as the seat of local government. Monterey had long been famous for the abundant fishery in Monterey Bay.It was the only port of entry for taxable goods in California. The city had California's first theater, public building, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper.The city and surrounding area have attracted artists since the late 19th century and many celebrated painters and writers have lived there. Among Monterey's notable present-day attractions are the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf and the annual Monterey Jazz Festival.They subsisted by hunting, fishing and gathering food on and around the biologically rich Monterey Peninsula.