city, Monterey county, California, U.S. It lies on a peninsula at the southern end of Monterey Bay, about 85 miles (135 km) south of San Francisco. The area was originally inhabited by Costanoan Indians, and in 1542 it was first seen by the Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. In 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino named the area in honour of the count de Monte Rey, viceroy of New Spain (Mexico). In 1770 Gaspar de Portola established a presidio (military post) at the site, and Junipero Serra founded the Mission San Carlos Borromeo (moved to Carmel in 1771). Named the capital of Alta California in 1775, Monterey was fortified and became a port of entry and centre of Spanish culture. Under Mexico, Monterey remained the capital of a vast area that included all of present-day California and the American Southwest. In 1846 Commodore John Drake Sloat claimed the area for the United States and raised the American flag over the town's presidio during the Mexican War. The first constitutional convention in California met at Colton Hall in 1849. Monterey served as county seat of Monterey county until 1873, when the seat was moved to nearby Salinas.
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