For 25 days back in 1846, a group of illegal immigrants speaking an alien language declared a chunk of Northern Mexico the Bear Flag Republic.
The adventurers and their breakaway Sonoma-based government lasted until a U.S. Army contingent arrived, dispatched after the U.S. Congress declared war on Mexico and launched a massive land grab that lead to the annexation of most of the American Southwest.
The republic may have lasted for the blink of an eye, but since 1911 a modified version of its flag still waves over the Golden State as the state’s official banner.
And just as the flag has lingered, so have thoughts of nationhood, and they’re growing stronger.
The election of Republican businessman Donald Trump as president of the United States has some Californians dreaming – of their own country.
One in every three California residents supports the most populous U.S. state’s peaceful withdrawal from the union, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, many of them Democrats strongly opposed to Trump’s ascension to the country’s highest office.
The 32 percent support rate is sharply higher than the last time the poll asked Californians about secession, in 2014, when one-in-five or 20 percent favored it around the time Scotland held its independence referendum and voted to remain in the United Kingdom.
California also far surpasses the national average favoring secession, which stood at 22 percent, down from 24 percent in 2014.
The poll surveyed 500 Californians among more than 14,000 adults nationwide from Dec. 6 to Jan. 19 and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of one percentage point nationally and five percentage points in California.