Monterey (Spanish: Monterrey; Ohlone: Aacistak) is a city located in Monterey County on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California's Central Coast. Founded on June 3, 1770, it was the capital of Alta California under both Spain (1804 to 1821) and Mexico (1822 to 1836). During this period, Monterey hosted California's first theater, public building, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. It was originally the only port of entry for all taxable goods in California. In 1846 during the Mexican–American War, the United States flag was raised over the Customs House. After California was ceded to the U.S. after the war, Monterey hosted California's first constitutional convention in 1849.
Monterey and surrounding area have attracted artists since the late 19th century and many celebrated painters and writers have lived there. Until the 1950s, there was an abundant fishery. Among Monterey's present-day attractions are the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf, California Roots Music and Arts Festival, and the annual Monterey Jazz Festival.
Monterey 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 small museum, while adjacent buildings serve as the seat of local government, and the Monterey post office (opened in 1849). Monterey was incorporated in 1890.
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 20th century have been preserved as they originally stood along Cannery Row.
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.
In addition to painters, many noted authors have also lived in and around the Monterey area, including Robert Louis Stevenson, John Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts, Robinson Jeffers, Robert A. Heinlein, and Henry Miller.
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.
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