John C. Frémont

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As an explorer with the U.S. Topographical Engineers, Frémont traveled west on a mapping expedition to the border of Mexico and California in 1846. He discovered many californios who wanted California, or the Bear Flag Republic, to join the United States. Frémont declared himself a commander and led insurgents in a campaign to neutralize Mexican resistance. Commander John D. Sloat and his naval expedition arrived shortly after. By the end of the summer, California had fallen to U.S. forces.