Ahistorical Bedfellows: The California Corporations Code And The Common Law

Unlike New York or Virginia, the State of California was never an English colony (although Francis Drake named it New Albion and claimed it for England on June 17, 1579). Rather than English, California’s European historical roots are Spanish. Spain and then Mexico ruled what was to become California before it was ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo) in 1848.

Given the limited role of England in California history, does the law of a feudal, island kingdom that is half the world away have any place in modern California law? Yet, tenuous historical ties notwithstanding, the common law of England is California’s lex terrae (law of the land).

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