The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California.
First established in 1770 by Father Junípero Serra and Gaspar de Portolà, Monterey served as the capital of California from 1777 to 1849, under the flags of Spain and Mexico. Variants of the city's name are recorded as Monte Rey and Montery.
Monterey was also the site of the July 7, 1846, Battle of Monterey during the Mexican-American War. It was on this date that John D. Sloat, Commodore in the United States Navy, raised the U.S. flag over the Monterey Custom House and claimed California for the United States. In addition, many California "firsts" occurred in Monterey. These include California's first theatre, brick house, publicly funded school, public building, public library, and printing press, which printed The Californian, California's first newspaper. Larkin House, one of Monterey State Historic Park's National Historic Landmarks, built in the Mexican period by Thomas Oliver Larkin, is an early example of Monterey Colonial architecture. The old Custom House, the historic district and the Royal Presidio Chapel are also National Historic Landmarks. The Cooper-Molera Adobe is a National Trust Historic Site Colton Hall, built in 1849 by Walter Colton and was originally both a public school and government meeting place. It also hosted California's first constitutional convention. Today it houses a museum, while adjacent buildings serve as the seat of local government.
Monterey had long been famous for the abundant fishery in Monterey Bay. That changed in the 1950s, when the local fishery business collapsed due to overfishing. A few of the old fishermen's cabins from the early twentieth century have been preserved as they originally stood along Cannery Row.
More recently, Monterey has been recognized for its significant involvement in post-secondary learning of languages other than English and its major role in delivering translation and interpretation services around the world. In November 1995, California Governor Pete Wilson proclaimed Monterey as "The Language Capital of the World".