An 1856 US presidential campaign election poster depicting the first presidential candidate of the newly-formed US Republican Party, John C. Frémont, leading the way for the US expansion into the Western frontier. During the US war of conquest against the State of Mexico (1846-1848), Frémont was appointed by the US Government as one of the US military leaders who led the US invasion and conquest of the territory under present-day occupation of the US state of California. Frémont also led the first US Government-sanctioned genocidal massacre there — a large-scale massacre in early-April 1846, known as the Sacramento River Massacre. In that massacre, Frémont and the armed force under his command massacred mostly unarmed Indigenous people for over 2 hours, killing probably more than 200 (perhaps up to 1,000) men, women, and children. That was the beginning of the California Holocaust.



The Greatest US Genocide in the Western Hemisphere

By: Marc Immanuel

Published on: 13 April 2017
Last updated on: 16 May 2018

The Conquest of “California” by the United States

On 13 May 1846, the Federal Government of the United States [referred to as: the US Government]  declared war on the State of Mexico, initiating the US-Mexican War (1846-1848).

The US Government thereafter ordered the US Military to invade and occupy the territory then claimed and occupied by Mexico. At the time, the northern portion of that territory included territory under present-day occupation of the US states of Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and California.

The prime purpose of the US invasion was the conquest the whole of this northern portion of the territory under the claim of Mexico.

More information on that subject:
How the USA Conquered Much of US-Claimed Territory from the State of Mexico

That year, in 1846, the territory which thereafter became known to the world as “California” [Spanish colonialist naming] was invaded and occupied by US military forces.

Following the two-year US war against Mexico and the killing and injuring of thousands of Mexican citizens by US invasion and occupation forces, the State of Mexico surrendered. Mexico formally ceded to the United States the northern portion of its claimed territory (including the territory of “California”), in 1848, at the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Thereby, the territory now commonly referred to as “California” became, under international legal agreements, the legal “corporate property”, so-to-speak, of the corporation USA. Two years later, in 1850, the US Government instituted the 31st US state of California and defined as within the state’s jurisdiction the collective territory which became known as “California” [map below].

Distribution of Indigenous Peoples of the territory which became referred to by the European Peoples as “California” — at the time when the United States invaded the territory and began to perpetrate the California Holocaust (1846-1873). By 1900, the Indigenous population of the territory had been reduced to about 10% of its pre-US occupation population. ……………….. (Map by Encyclopedia Britannica)

The Natural Right to Life and Liberty Denied to a Whole Indigenous Population:
A Violation of the Highest Degree (Genocidal Holocaust)

The Indigenous Peoples inhabiting this territory, for whom this territory was their ancestral homeland (where their ancestors had lived for thousands of years), had no say in any of the legal transactions being made between the imperialist nation-states.

Until 1924, the Indigenous population of US-occupied territory had no legal rights under United States law – except for certain rights promised to Indigenous nations and tribes under “treaties” with the US Government when their leaders were forced or coerced into signing those treaties. And even those treaties were repeatedly violated by the US Government.

Under early United States occupation in “California” (1846-1875), the natural rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the territory — the very rights theoretically laid down as the political foundation of the United States in the US Declaration of Independence (1776) — were not only denied by the US Government, but completely violated, to the highest degree (that of genocidal holocaust), leading to the near-complete extermination of the Indigenous population.

The word holocaust is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as: destruction or slaughter on a mass scale”.

Destruction and slaughter on a mass scale is precisely what was perpetrated upon the Indigenous Peoples — not only in the territory under present-day jurisdiction of the US state of California, but throughout the whole of the territory under present-day  occupation of the 48-state contiguous United States, ever since the first arrival of European colonialist forces in quest for more gold and slaves in the early 16th century and up to the conclusion of the US war of conquest (1776-1924) about 400 years later.

The First US Government-sanctioned Genocidal Massacres
in “California” and “Oregon”
(Under US Army Captain John Frémont)

The first US Government-sanctioned genocidal massacres committed against Indigenous Peoples of the collective territory under present-day jurisdiction of the US states of California and Oregon were led by US Army Captain John C. Frémont, who had been sent in advance to the territory by the US Government when the US invasion was being prepared.

Sacramento River Massacre
(approx. 5 April 1846)

On or about 5 April 1846, Captain Frémont, with an armed force of approximately 75 men under his command attacked a peaceful band of Indigenous people (probably a mixture of WintuYana, and  Maidu) by the “Sacramento River”.

The armed men under Frémont’s command included frontiersman Christopher H. (“Kit”) Carson — a notorious death squad killer, who about 20 years later (while employed as a colonel in the US Army) commanded the Navajo Holocaust.

Frémont and men under his command indiscriminately massacred the mostly unarmed people for over 2 hours, killing a total of between 200 and 1,000 men, women, and children (based on various estimates reported by men who had been involved). [source8 (Chapter 2, 7th page)]

Referring to this massacre, Kit Carson said: “It was a perfect butchery.

[source8 (Chapter 2, 8th page)]

Main source (for Sacramento River Massacre): source8,
Chapter 2 (”Prelude to Genocide: March 1846 — March 1848″), 1st — 11th pages

Info resource: ”Sacramento River Massacre”, Wikipedia

Klamath Lake Massacre
(a.k.a. Dokdokwas Massacre)

About one month later, on 12 May 1846, to the north in territory under present-day jurisdiction of the US state of Oregon, the armed force under the command of Captain Frémont attacked a Klamath Tribe fishing village named Dokdokwas.  Frémont and men under his command completely destroyed the village, burning its approximately 50 houses to the ground and killing more than 20 men, women, and children of the village.

The body of at least one woman (perhaps one who had attempted to escape) was witnessed lying dead in a canoe.

Recalling the destruction in his memory, Kit Carson said that the flaming village was  “a beautiful sight”.

Sources (for Klamath Lake Massacre):
Klamath source1, Wikipedia; Klamath source2Klamath source3 (pgs 400-401)

That month of May 1846 (as the US Government declared war on Mexico and prepared for its approaching invasion of “California”), Frémont was appointed to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel directly by 11th US President (1845-1849) James K. Polk.

Manifest Destiny

John Frémont was the son-in-law of US Senator (1821-1851) Thomas H. Benton.

Thomas Benton was one of the most powerful and well-connected politicians in the US Federal Government — a leader of the US Democratic Party since its foundation in 1828, who led the party for nearly 25 years (1828-1851). He was a close associate of US Democratic Party founder and 7th US President (1829-1837) Andrew Jackson and his successor, 8th US President (1837-1841) Martin Van Buren.

During the period 1829-1841, Benton was the legislative right-hand man of Presidents Jackson and Van Buren. He was one of the top officials accountable for making the forced relocation of Indigenous Peoples to US designated “reservations” the official law of the United States. He was a top leader of the US expansionist movement that became known as Manifest Destiny.

The plan of Manifest Destiny was, basically, a plan to wage a war of conquest for the territory which became the US-conquered territory of the 48-state contiguous United States.

The Indigenous Peoples of the collective territory under US domination were to be forcibly relocated [crime against humanity, ICC Article 7, (1), criterion (d)] to US-designated “reservations” under conditions the International Criminal Court (ICC) now defines as “conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of the group in whole or in part” [physical genocide, ICC Article 6, criterion (c)].

Indigenous tribes which resisted conquest and relocation were to face war of aggression and extermination [physical genocide, ICC Article 6, criteria (a)-(b)] until they accepted the terms of the US Government and agreed to be confined to US Government reservations under the dictatorship of the US Government.

Both the US Democratic Party and the US Republican Party were complicit in Manifest Destiny genocide against Indigenous Peoples.

.                                                                                      Gold, Power, and Genocide
Democratic Party leader Thomas Benton led the US Government’s organization and funding of the US conquest of the territory referred to as “California”. He used his power and influence to place his son-in-law John Frémont in top leadership positions in the US Government’s initial activities in the territory in the 1840s and early 1850s.

After the territory of “California” had been taken over from Mexico and the 31st US state of California was instituted in 1850,  John Frémont held office in the US Government as one of the two senators in the first pair of senators representing the US state of California (during 1850-1851).

But Frémont’s political ambitions in offices of the US Federal Government in Washington, DC, were even higher:  He sought the US presidency — running in 1856 as the first presidential candidate of the newly-formed US Republican Party (founded in 1854). He lost the race to US Democratic Party candidate James Buchanan, who then entered into office as 15th US President (1857-1861).

In the territory of  “California” during the California Gold Rush, Frémont purchased over 100 km2 (70 square miles) of land as his “private property” in the Sierra foothills by Mariposa. Frémont hired Mexicans to work the gold fields on his “property” for a percentage share, and he accumulated a lot of wealth through the gain of gold — thereby acquiring large landholdings in the San Francisco area and living a wealthy lifestyle in Monterey. [Wikipedia article (section “Mariposa gold estate”), derived from source (Dictionary of American Biography, “Frémont, John Charles“)]

That is an example of the prime motive underlying the California Holocaust against the Indigenous Peoples during that period.


A Holocaust for Gold:
The California Gold Rush and the California Holocaust

At the time of the initial US invasion of “California”, in 1846, the human population of the territory was comprised of various Indigenous tribes consisting of a population of at least 150,000 people [source6], plus a small minority population of less than 10,000 residents in European-origin settlements (mostly Mexican) [source, section ”General”].

Less than 10 years later, by 1855, the Indigenous population had been reduced to about 50,000 people, and about 300,000 settlers had poured into the territory. [source6]

Most of the incoming settlers were men motivated by a quest for gold, during the period known as the California “Gold Rush(1848-1855).

A natural resource of gold had been first discovered in the territory in 1842 during Mexican occupation and was being mined under Mexican colonialist authority prior to the  US invasion of 1846. One of the top motives for the US colonialist interest in the territory even prior to the “US discovery” of gold in 1848 was the Mexican discovery of gold which had already taken place. [gold source 1, gold source 2]

In 1848, during the new US occupation of the territory “California”, news of the discovery of gold in that territory began to spread throughout the US citizen population of the eastern territory under US occupation, initiating the California Gold Rush.

Just a few years later, by 1852, the amount of gold being exported from the territory “California” had an average value of $60,000,000 per year. [source8]

With the California Gold Rush, came the California Holocaust.

.                                                                          Statements by Top Officials of the US State of California
(early 1850s)

“..That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the races, until the ‘Indian’ [Indigenous] race becomes extinct, must be expected…”

— 1st Governor of California (1849-1951), Peter H. Burnett,
Second Annual Message to the Legislature, 7 January 1851
(12th paragraph)

[The Indigenous Peoples of “California”]  “will be exterminated before the onward march of the white man… The interest of the white man demands their extinction.” [source8]

— US Senator (1852-1857) John B. Weller,
[held office as 5th Governor of California (1958-1860)],
speaking to his colleagues in the US Senate, 1852

The Means of Extermination

During the Gold Rush and the immediate years following, prior to any organized relocation policy, the policy of the US Government toward the Indigenous Peoples of “California” was purely the mass extermination of the Indigenous population [physical genocide: UN/ICC genocide criteria (a)-(b)-(c)].

That policy of mass extermination was implemented by US federal, state, and county armed forces and by US Government-funded ‘death squads‘ (‘killing squads’) and was achieved through the means of:

● widespread violent attacks
● genocidal killings
● massacres of whole communities
● destruction of encampments/villages/towns
● destruction of food sources
● forced removal of thousands of children
● captivity
● enslavement or forced hard labor
● forced displacement (later, US Government-organized forced relocations of the surviving population to US Government-designated and Government-controlled ”reservations”

In the 1850s, the US Government paid out more than $1 million in funding, via the California state government, to California death squads. The death squads were paid based on their delivery of scalps of the bodies of Indigenous people – as proof of death. [source9; further source (with details of fund amounts, pg 322)]

By the year 1900, the Indigenous population residing throughout the territory referred to as “California” had decreased to about 20,000 persons or less (possibly not more than 16,000 persons).

Conclusion of This Research

Following an in-depth independent research and study of the facts of history, the author of this research has concluded, that:

During the approximately half-century period beginning with the Sacramento River Massacre of April 1846 and until the year 1900, about 90% of the pre-US occupation Indigenous population of the territory referred to as “California” was intentionally exterminated in a physical genocide [UN/ICC genocide criteria (a)-(b)-(c)] headed by the US Federal Government.

Proportionally, this ranks as one of the greatest genocides of human history. 

20th Century Forms of US Genocide Against Indigenous Peoples:
Cultural Genocide and Biological Genocide
(Legally Ended by 1978)

During the period since about 1900 and up to 1978, with all of the territory under present-day jurisdiction of the 48-state contiguous United States conquered and nearly all Indigenous resistance to US conquest put to an end, the US Government ended its physical genocide [UN/ICC genocide criteria (a)-(b-(c)] against Indigenous Peoples of the collective territory, but continued with an official policy of cultural genocide and, later in the 20th century, biological genocide (involving removal of Indigenous children and coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women) [UN/ICC genocide criteria (d)-(e)].

More information on that subject:
Crimes of the US Government,
section, Genocide: subsections, Biological Genocide, Cultural Genocide

Indigenous Population in US-occupied ”California” as of 2015 

Though the majority of the pre-US genocide Indigenous population within the collective territory under present-day occupation of the 48 contiguous US states was exterminated during the collective US holocaust (1776-1900), a portion of that population survived that  holocaust and, beyond the year 1900, began to increase again.

As of 1 July 2005, the portion of the population of the territory “California” which ethnically self-identified as Indigenous (Native) [of the Western Continent in general] had risen to nearly 700,000 people — the largest Indigenous-origin population throughout all US-occupied territory of the Western Continent. [US Census Bureau, source2]


1. “California Genocide“,
Wikipedia, volunteer-written encyclopedia, article (historical)
2. “American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month: November 2006
US Census Bureau, fact page regarding Indigenous population within territory
under jurisdiction of 49-state continental United States, November 2006
3. “Demographics of California“,
Wikipedia, volunteer-written encyclopedia, article (demographic)
4. “An Introduction to California’s Native People“,
article (historical), Cabrillo College, California
5. “Was America Great When It Burned Native Babies“,
The Huffington Post, transcript of audio interview, updated 8 August 2016
transcript of interview with Benjamin Madley (professor of history at UCLA,
author of “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873.”),
22 May 2016
6. ”It’s Time to Acknowledge the Genocide of California’s Indians”,
Los Angeles Times, Opinion Section, article (historical), 22 May 2016,
by Benjamin Madley (professor, history, UCLA)
7. “The Great California Genocide”,
Daily Kos, article (historical), by gjohsit (researcher/writer), 15 August 2008
8. “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873”,
book, by Benjamin Madley (professor of history at UCLA, and author), Yale University Press, 2016 (book review)
9. “California’s War on Indians, 1850 to 1851“,
Native American Netroots, article (historic), by Ojibwa, 2 March 2015


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