in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. As of 2005, the city population was 30,641. The city is noted for its rich history of resident artists beginning in the late 1800s and its historically famed fishery.
Monterey is home to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Monterey American Viticultural Area, Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf and the annual Monterey Jazz Festival.
In prehistoric times the Rumsen Ohlone tribe, one of seven linguistically distinct Ohlone groups in California, inhabited the area now known as Monterey. They lived a subsistent life of hunting, fishing and gathering in what has been deduced as a biologically rich Monterey Peninsula. The most prominent archaeological resources extant here are shell middens, the garbage dumps of these early inhabitants. We can infer from midden contents that mussels and abalone were consumed by the Rumsen Ohlone as their chief marine staples. The principal archaeological sites that have been mapped are located between the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Naval Postgraduate School, within about 2000 feet (610 m) of the coastline.
First established in 1770 by Father Junípero Serra and Gaspar de Portolà (governor of Baja and Alta California (1767–1770), explorer and founder of San Diego and Monterey), Monterey served as the capital of California from 1777 to 1849, under the flags of Spain and Mexico. Portola erected the Presidio of Monterey to defend the port against an expected Russian invasion. It was also the site of the July 7, 1846, Battle of Monterey during the Mexican-American War. It was on this date that John D. Sloat, Commodore in the United States Navy, raised the U.S. flag over the Monterey Customs House and claimed California for the United States. In addition, many California "firsts" occurred in Monterey. These include California's first theater, brick house, publicly funded school, public building, public library, and printing press. California's first constitution was also drafted here in October 1849.
Monterey had long been famous for the abundant fishery in Monterey Bay. That changed in the 1950s, when the local fishery business collapsed due to overfishing. A few of the old fishermen's cabins from the early twentieth century have been preserved as they stood along Cannery Row (photo below). The famous Cannery Row has now been turned into a tourist attraction, with restaurants and shops in the historical site. It is also the location of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In June 1967 the city was the venue of the
Monterey 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.
In addition to painters many noted authors through the years have also lived in and around the Monterey area such as John Steinbeck, Robinson Jeffers, Robert A. Heinlein, Henry Miller, Ed Ricketts, and Robert Louis Stevenson.
More recently, Monterey has been recognized for its significant involvement in post-secondary learning of languages other than English and its major role in delivering translation and interpretation services around the world. In November 1995, California Governor Pete Wilson proclaimed Monterey as "The Language Capital of the World".