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Returning from the Philippines, Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, commanding the galleon San Augustin, surveys the Pacific coast, spotting land north of Cape Mendocino and a large bay, present-day Drake's Bay, farthersouth.1808-1812 - Russian ship Kadiak, commanded by Ivan Kuskoff, sails into Bodega Bay looking for a trading base; sets up colony at Ft.Ross on Sonoma coast in 1812, hoping to prosper with sea otter trade. Mariano Vallejo, "the last of the Conquistadores," arrives, becomes dominant landholder and political leader through most of the 19th century, with up to 50,000 head of cattle; first home built on Petaluma Rancho 1834-36; Vallejo leads assaults, takes control over rebellious Indians in 1830s; creates a pueblo with a large plaza in Sonoma in 1835.
He builds strong conservation record, supports aviation-related bills.
Serious conflict avoided as Sonoma supporters of squatters face off against Bodega group led by landowner Tyler Curtis in so-called "Bodega War." Curtis, married to the widow of Stephen Smith, moves to San Francisco. Italians come to Occidental, other areas, work in lumber mills,tanneries and quarries.
Sonoma 6th most populous county in California, larger than Los Angeles. The Korbel brothers, Francis, Anton and Joseph, make money in lumbering/shipping in San Francisco,move to Russian River area in 1872, build wine cellars in 1880s, produce champagne by a special French methodin 1890s.
Solomon Schocker and Agostino Pinelli are pioneers.
Santa Rosa becomes major shipping center, moving livestock, fruit, hops and paving rocks from local quarries.