Contra Costa County, California

Contra Costa County is a county in the state of California in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,049,025; the county seat is Martinez. It occupies the northern portion of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, is suburban; the county's name is Spanish for "opposite coast", referring to its position on the other side of the bay from San Francisco. Contra Costa County is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Berkeley, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. In prehistoric times the Miocene epoch, portions of the landforms now in the area were populated by a wide range of now extinct mammals, known in modern times by the fossil remains excavated in the southern part of the county. In the northern part of the county, significant coal and sand deposits were formed in earlier geologic eras. Other areas of the county have ridges exposing ancient but intact seashells, embedded in sandstone layers alternating with limestone. Layers of volcanic ash ejected from geologically recent but now extinct volcanoes and now tilted by compressive forces, may be seen at the site of some road excavations.

This county is an agglomeration of several distinct geologic terranes, as is most of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most geologically complex regions in the world. The great local mountain Mount Diablo has been formed and continues to be elevated by compressive forces resulting from the action of plate tectonics and at its upper reaches presents ancient seabed rocks scraped from distant oceanic sedimentation locations and accumulated and lifted by these great forces. Younger deposits at middle altitudes include pillow lavas, the product of undersea volcanic eruptions. There is an extensive but little-recorded human history pre-European settlement in this area, with the present county containing portions of regions populated by a number of Native American tribes; the earliest definitively established occupation by modern man appears to have occurred six to ten thousand years ago. However, there may have been human presence far earlier, at least as far as non–settling populations are concerned.

The known settled populations were hunter-gatherer societies that had no knowledge of metals and that produced utilitarian crafts for everyday use of the highest quality and with graphic embellishments of great aesthetic appeal. Extensive trading from tribe to tribe transferred exotic materials such as obsidian throughout the region from far distant Californian tribes. Unlike the nomadic Native American of the Great Plains it appears that these tribes did not incorporate warfare into their culture but were instead cooperative. Within these cultures the concept of individual or collective land ownership was nonexistent. Early European settlers in the region, did not record much about the culture of the natives. Most of what is known culturally comes from preserved contemporaneous and excavated artifacts and from inter-generational knowledge passed down through northerly outlying tribes of the larger region. Early interaction of these Native Americans with Europeans came with the Spanish colonization via the establishment of missions in this area, with the missions in San Jose and San Francisco and the establishment of a Presidio in 1776.

Although there were no missions established within this county, Spanish influence here was direct and extensive, through the establishment of land grants from the King of Spain to favored settlers. In 1821 Mexico gained independence from Spain. While little changed in ranchero life, the Mexican War of Independence resulted in the secularization of the missions with the re-distribution of their lands, a new system of land grants under the Mexican Federal Law of 1824. Mission lands extended including portions of Contra Costa County. Between 1836 and 1846, during the era when California was a province of independent Mexico, the following 15 land grants were made in Contra Costa County; the smallest unit was one square league, or about seven square miles, or 4,400 acres, maximum to one individual was eleven leagues, or 48,400 acres, including no more than 4,428 acres of irrigable land. Rough surveying was based on a map, or diseño, measured by streams, and/or horseman who marked it with rope and stakes.

Lands outside rancho grants were designated el sobrante, as in surplus or excess, considered common lands. The law required the construction of a house within a year. Fences were forbidden where they might interfere with roads or trails. Locally a large family required 2000 head of cattle and two square leagues of land to live comfortably. Foreign entrepreneurs came to the area to provide goods that Mexico could not, trading ships were taxed. Rancho Canada de los Vaqueros was granted to Francisco Alviso, Antonio Higuera, Manuel Miranda. Two ranchos, both called Rancho San Ramon, were granted by the Mexican government in the San Ramon Valley. In 1833, Bartolome Pacheco and Mariano Castro shared the two square league Rancho San Ramon. Jose Maria Amador was granted a four square league Rancho San Ramon in 1834. In 1834 Rancho Monte del Diablo was confirmed with 17,921 acres to Salvio Pacheco; the Pacheco family settled at the Rancho in 1846. The boundary lines


Becerrillo or Bezerrillo was the name of a Castilian attack dog during the time of the Spanish conquistadors. Becirrillo's date and place of birth are unknown although historians speculate he may have been whelped in either the kennels of Diego Columbus or those of Juan Ponce de León. A black eyed, medium-sized dog with a red coloured coat, it is recorded that he was in Puerto Rico in 1511 sporting battle scars. Historical records indicate; the dog was owned by Ponce de León but when he was busy with his duties as governor of Puerto Rico, Becerrillo was entrusted to the care of Captain Diego Guilarte de Salazar, a man known for his ruthless tactics and shrewd strategy. He would use Becerrillo to attack natives who defied the conquistadors, attempting to terrorize them into accepting the rule of the Spanish invaders. Becerrillo was well known due to the sheer number of victims that he mauled and killed. While Ponce de León was on the island San Juan in 1509, it was common to use attack dogs to subjugate the Indian natives.

During one specific battle in which the natives launched a surprise attack against the village where the Spanish troops led by Guilarte de Salazar were encamped, Becerrillo alerted the conquistadors by barking until they awoke. Guilarte de Salazar entered the battle with the dog at his side. During the course of the half-hour-long battle, Becerrillo alone killed thirty-three of the native attackers; the reputation of the killer dog spread. The dog was accomplished at finding and instilling fear in the Indians and able to do the work of fifty soldiers. Another story finds the Spanish conquistadors outside the capitol of Caparra, where a group of Indians had been captured and subdued. While waiting for Ponce de León to arrive from the capitol, the troops amused themselves by harassing the captives. Guilarte de Salazar gave an old Indian woman a folded piece of paper and informed her that it was a letter, to be carried to the governor- if she refused, she would be fed to the dogs; the frightened woman accepted in the hopes of surviving, but after she turned and began down the road Salazar released Becerrillo and commanded him to take her.

As she was charged by the dog, the old woman prayed "Please, my Lord Dog. I am on my way to take this letter to Christians. I beg you, my Lord Dog, please do not hurt me." According to witnesses, Becerrillo stopped regarded the woman intently. He sniffed at the woman and the paper in her hands, before turning away, lifting a leg, marking her with urine, he stood by as the woman returned unharmed to the Spanish troops. Upon his arrival, Ponce de León was informed of, he commanded the troops, "send her safely back to her people. Let us leave this place for now. I will not permit the compassion and forgiveness of a dog to outshine that of a true Christian." Becerrillo died in 1514. His body was protected from injury by a padded jacket but it is not known if it was worn that day, his handlers were convinced their opponents considered Becerrillo indestructible so buried him in an unmarked grave in the belief the natives would not learn of his death. Becerrillo had sired a son, who had the same ferocious temperament and skills as his sire.

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Timeline of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

This is a timeline of the history of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India. AD 52 - Arrival of Saint Thomas the Apostle in Muziris in Thrissur district of Kerala. Jerome Furtado as Vicar General in place of the traditional Archdeacon 1652 – Mar Ahatalla met deacons Chenkayil Itty of Chengannur and Kizhakkedath Kurian of Kuravilangad at Mylapore and sent message to the Archdeacon 3 January 1653 – Archdeacon and others with 25,000 soldiers went to Cochin Port to receive Mar Ahatalla. 2 January 1687 – Death of Bishop Alexander Palliveettil 29 June 1704 – John Ribeiro S. J. appointed Archbishop of Kodungalloor 13 March 1709 – Suppression of Vicariate Apostolic of Malabar and Vicariate Apostolic of Verapoly erected by Pope Clement XI 1773 February 8 – Martyrdom of Fr. Jacob Puthenpurackal 16 July 1782 – Mar Joseph Kariyatty appointed Archbishop of Kodungalloor by Padroado 16 December 1782 – Rome approves Mar Joseph Kariyatty as Archbishop of Kodungalloor 17 February 1783 – Episcopal ordination of Mar Joseph Kariyatty at Lisbon, Porgugal 10 September 1786 – Death of Archbishop Kariyatty in Goa.

Ancient Syrian churches at Palayur, Ollur,Parappukkara, Ambazhakad, Angamaly, Akaparamb etc. were destroyed by the Mysore army. The Syrian seminari and nasrani church headqua