A referendum will take place there on May 4th, in which Californians who are eligible to vote will vote on whether there should be a Republic of California that is independent of the USA.
The question sounds basically harmless, but contains a lot of political potential: “Do you want California to be an independent country in the form of a republic?” That is the question scheduled for May 4, 2021 independence referendum in California. This referendum was initiated by the “Yes California” initiative; the original wording of the “Calexit” document can be found here.
Such independence aspirations are not entirely new in the US. However, until now it has been the southern states that have attracted attention through such initiatives. The Texans in particular are famous and notorious for their historic drive for independence. In 1821 Texas became part of Mexico, which had become independent from Spain. But only 14 years later the Texans were fighting for their independence, which they finally achieved with the proclamation of the Republic of Texas on March 2, 1836. The joy was short-lived, however, as the United States annexed the independent republic just nine years later. On March 2, 1861, 25 years after the first declaration of independence, Texas broke up and joined the much looser Confederation of American States (“Southern States”). The South lost the ensuing American Civil War,on March 30, 1870, Texas was again part of the USA in the course of the “Reconstruction”.
The independence strivings in California are not quite as steeped in tradition. Similar to Texas, California was previously part of Mexico, but was added to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848. Before that, a Republic of California existed for exactly 25 (!) days during the American-Mexican War (May 13, 1846 until the conclusion of the conflict on February 2, 1848). It was founded by US settlers, but was annexed by the US shortly after it was founded. Since then, there have been no demonstrably well-founded attempts at independence for California – until this referendum, which is due to be voted on on May 4th.
California has 40 million people who live in an area of 424,000 square kilometers. An independent California would be the fifth largest economic power on earth. California and Texas secession would put the US in real trouble. But then again, the divisions are so insurmountable in the US that civil war or secession are the only two real options.