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Trappers and Settlers Encounter Five Shasta County Tribes

The first white men to come into contact with the Indigenous of Shasta County in Northern California may have been Russian fur trappers who moved through the mountains in 1815.  The region was home to five tribes, the Achomawi, Atsugewi, Okwanuchu, Wintu , and Yana. 

The next contact came when Spanish soldiers traveled north from missions established in the south, followed by American, British, and French trappers during the 1820s.  Finally, the gold rush and settlement period brought thousands into the area.
One of the first pioneers to settle around today’s Redding, Calif., was Maj. Pearson Barton Reading.  In 1844, Reading received a 26,632-acre land grant from Mexico along the Sacramento River.  Reading’s Rancho Buena Ventura became the most northern non-Indigenous settlement in California.
In 1848, Reading discovered gold west of Redding; not long after that he struck more gold on the Trinity River.  When gold was discovered in the Sierras, Shasta County became an important link in the chain of gold-rush settlements in Northern California.

Sources:  Smith, Dottie. "Shasta County ." ShastaCountyHistory.com. Ed. Dottie Smith. Web. 4 Jan. 2014.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.