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California Historic Figures
John Sutter
1803-80: In the 1840's, businessman Sutter ran a trading empire from a fort he built (with Native american help) in what is now mid-town Sacramento. He also was owner of Sutter's Mill in Coloma, where gold was first discovered in 1848 by James Marshall.
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Jedediah Smith
1798-1831: This early 19-th century trapper and explorer is believed to have been the first non-Native american to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains. He was also among the first white men to explore the state's far northern coast. A beautiful redwood state park and the scenic Smith River are named after him.
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John Muir
1838-1914: an explorer, naturalist, and writer, Muir helped preserve many of California's greatest scenic wonders, such as Yosemite Valley and Kings Canyon, now both national parks. He also founded the Sierra Club, a well-known San Francisco-based conservation group. Muir Woods National Monument, a redwood grove north of San Francisco, is named for him.
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Leland Stanford
1824-93: This tycoon helped map out a route for the first transcontinental railroad, which linked California to the East Coast in 1869. He also started Stanford University in Palo alto.
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