SOCIAL STUDIES FACT CARDS
CALIFORNIA HISTORY BY DECADES
Copyright © by Toucan Valley Publications, Inc. | Source Citation

1980s


Former California governor Ronald Reagan was elected president of the U.S.

In November of 1980, Ronald Reagan, former governor of California, was elected President of the United States. Reagan was born in Illinois, where he attended college. He graduated and became a sports announcer in Iowa for five years. In 1937 he moved to California where he had a career as an actor in motion pictures and in television. He served in the air force in World War II and later was president of the Screen Actors Guild, marking his beginning interest in politics. He was elected governor of California in 1966 without having served in a previous political office, and was governor until 1975.

In 1976 Reagan made his first bid to become President, but failed to win the nomination of the Republican Party. In 1980 he won the nomination and ran against the incumbent President, Democrat Jimmy Carter. Reagan won the election in a landslide, and instituted his conservative program which emphasized the economy, reforms in education and welfare, lower taxes, and increased spending on the military and defense. He was reelected in 1984, when he ran against Democrat Walter Mondale. During his time in office, Reaganís "Summer White House" was his ranch, Rancho del Cielo, in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Santa Barbara County. He spent a number of vacations there.


Restoration of the state capitol was completed


In January 1982, the state capitol building in Sacramento reopened following a lengthy renovation. The capitol building was built originally in 1874; one century later it was rebuilt both to strengthen it for earthquake safety and to restore the inside so it would look exactly as it had in 1905. Under laws passed by the legislature in that very building, the capitol did not meet earthquake safety requirements. The renovation cost about $67.8 million, making it one of the most expensive renovations in history.

Starting in 1975, hundreds of workers and craftsman had begun working on the capitol. During the seven-year process the entire building was gutted, leaving only the exterior walls. The legislature had to move to a temporary location in a nearby office building. The building now serves as both a working place for the state government and a museum of California history. It is regarded as a masterpiece. Situated in the midst of a 33-acre park, the capitol welcomes many visitors daily to its guided tours.


California condor was hatched in captivity at the San Diego Wild Animal Park

On April 29, 1988, the first successful birth of a California or Golden Condor in captivity occurred at the San Diego Zoo. Molloko, a male condor, was born to two parent birds who had been bred in captivity by zookeepers. The California Condor is a variety of vulture with black plumage, an orange head and neck, and a 10-foot wingspan. One of the most threatened animals on the endangered species list, the California Condor once was found throughout the state, but particularly in the central Coast Range Mountains. Thousands were poisoned or shot by farmers, despite the fact that as a scavenger the California Condor does not attack live cattle.

By 1974 there were only about 60 condors living in the wild; by 1978 there were only 30. Conservation groups in California banded together to protect the bird. They set out to capture all the remaining California Condors so they could be bred in captivity and reintroduced to the wild. On April 19, 1987, when the last wild condor was captured, there were 28 living in captivity. In 1991, the first two California Condors were released back into the wild. As of 1996, there were 28 condors living in the wild in their old habitat and 92 more living in captivity in either the Los Angeles Zoo or the San Diego Zoo.


San Francisco Bay Area was struck by an earthquake


On October 17, 1989, an earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area. The earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, was the worst to hit San Francisco since the Great Quake of 1906. The quake killed 62 people throughout central California, injured 3,757 and left more than 12,000 homeless. The jolt collapsed a section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and an elevated portion of a freeway in Oakland. The epicenter of the quake, known as the Loma Prieta Earthquake, was in the Santa Cruz Mountains about 56 miles south of San Francisco.

The earthquake struck the Bay Area just before the third game of the World Series at Candlestick Park. While the World Series game was canceled and rescheduled, relief in both money and food supplies poured in from around the world. Although many structures stood up to the earthquake, others that were supposedly "earthquake-proof" collapsed. It was many months before the highways, bridges, and transit systems returned to fully-operational status.


POPULATION

CALIFORNIA
23,667,902
Los Angeles
2,968,579
San Diego
875,538
San Francisco
678,974
San Jose
629,531
Long Beach
361,355
Oakland
339,337


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