The following posts provide an overview of how events in Sacramento escalated to bloodshed followed by decades of litigation.
The Sutter Latitudes are part of the tangled history of this land. In his scramble to escape chronic debt, Johann Augustus Sutter apparently sold land that didn’t belong to him, as shown by the document linked above. If Sacramento did not lie within the boundaries of Sutter’s legitimate claim, then those who bought land here were in effect receiving property stolen from the U.S. government as well as the homesteaders who staked rightful claims.
This conflict was supposedly resolved by an 1864 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, but as I’ve discovered, that case is deeply flawed, and it seems that Sacramento lies on stolen land, taken from the federal government and the settlers who resisted Sam Brannan’s crooked land scheme. In any case, the ruling utterly failed to prevent the litigation that resulted from ongoing speculation. This is clear from the massive legal free-for-all that erupted in the spring of 1868.