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Campo de Cahuenga, scene of the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga, January 13, 1847

The Treaty of Cahuenga, usually called the "Capitulation of Cahuenga," ended the fighting of the Mexican-American War in Californiamarker in 1847. It was not a formal treaty between nations but an informal agreement between rival military forces in which the Californios (Hispanics) gave up. The treaty was drafted in English and Spanish by José Antonio Carrillo, approved by Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont and Governor Andrés Pico on January 13, 1847 at Campo de Cahuengamarker in what is now North Hollywood, Los Angeles, Californiamarker.

The treaty called for the Californios to give up their artillery, and provided that all prisoners from both sides be immediately freed. Those Californios who promised not to again take up arms during the war, and to obey the laws and regulations of the United States, were allowed to peaceably return to their homes. They were to be allowed the same rights and privileges as are allowed to citizens of the United States, and were not to be compelled to take an oath of allegiance until a treaty of peace was signed between the United States and Mexico, and were given the privilege of leaving the country if they wished to do so.

Under the later Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), Mexicomarker formally ceded Alta Californiamarker and other territories to the United Statesmarker and the disputed border of Texasmarker was fixed at the Rio Grandemarker. Pico, like nearly all the Californios, became an American citizen with full legal and voting rights. Pico later became a state senator in the California legislature.

Text of Treaty of Cahuenga

The treaty was written as follows:

  • To All Who These Presents Shall Come, Greeting: Know Ye, that in consequence of propositions of peace, or cessation of hostilities, being submitted to me, as Commandant of the California Battalion of the United States forces, which have so far been acceded to by me as to cause me to appoint a board of commissioners to confer with a similar board appointed by the Californians, and it requiring a little time to close the negotiations; it is agreed upon and ordered by me that an entire cessation of hostilities shall take place until to-morrow afternoon (January 13), and that the said Californians be permitted to bring in their wounded to the mission of San Fernando, where, also, if they choose, they can move their camp to facilitate said negotiations.
Given under my hand and seal this 12th day of January, 1847.

  • J.C. Fremont,
  • Lieutenant-Colonel U.S.A.,
  • and Military Commandant of California.

  • ARTICLES OF CAPITULATION made and entered into at the Rancho of Couenga, this thirteenth day of January, Anno Domini, eighteen hundred and forty-seven, between P.B. Reading, Major; Louis Mclane, Jr., Commanding Artillery; Wm. H. Russell, Ordnance Officer; commissioners appointed by J.C. Fremont, Lieutenant-Colonel United States Army and Military Commandant of the territory of California; and Jose Antonio Carrillo, Commandante de Esquadron, Agustin Olivera, Diputado, commissioners appointed by Don Andres Pico, Commander-in-Chief of the California forces under the Mexican flag.

  • ARTICLE I.--The Commissioners on the part of the Californians agree that their entire force shall, on presentation of themselves to Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont, deliver up their artillery and public arms, and they shall return peaceably to their homes, conforming to the laws and regulations of the United States, and not again take up arms during the war between the United States and Mexico, but will assist in placing the country in a state of peace and tranquillity.

  • ART. II.--The Commissioners on the part of Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont agree to and bind themselves on the fulfillment of the first article by the Californians, that they shall be guaranteed protection of life and property, whether on parole or otherwise.

  • ART. III--That until a treaty of peace be made and signed between the United States of North American and the Republic of Mexico, no Californian or other Mexican citizen shall be bound to take the oath of allegiance.

  • ART. IV.--That any Californian or other citizen of Mexico desiring, is permitted by this capitulation to leave the country without let or hindrance.

  • ART. V--That in virtue of the aforesaid articles, equal rights and privileges are vouchsafed to every citizen of California as are enjoyed by the citizens of the United States of North America.

  • ART. VI--All officers, citizens, foreigners or others shall receive the protection guaranteed by the second article.

  • ART. VII.--This capitulation is intended to be no bar in effecting such arrangements as may in future be in justice required by both parties.

  • Major California Battalion

  • Ordnance Officer California Battalion

  • Commanding Artillery, California Battalion

  • Commandante de Esquadron

  • Diputado

  • Approved.
  • Lieutenant-Colonel U.S.A.
  • and Military Commandant of California

  • Approbado.
  • Commandante de Esquadron
  • y en Gife de las Guerzas Nationales en California

That the paroles of all officers, citizens and others of the United States, and of naturalized citizens of Mexico, are by this foregoing capitulation cancelled; and every condition of said paroles from and after this date are of no further force and effect; and all prisoners of both parties are hereby released.(Signed as above.)

  • CIUDAD DE LOS ANGELES, January 16, 1847

Historical re-enactment

In celebration, on or around the date of the original signing, a historical ceremony is conducted at Campo de Cahuengamarker State Historic Park and site. From time to time, some of the descendants have appeared, along with actors to re-create this historical moment.


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