The area we know as the Yosemite Valley has a history of over 3,000 years. The people indigenous to the region were the Sierra Miwok, Mono, Paiute and other Native American groups. When the European Americans came, the Sierra Nevada region of California was the home of Native Americans called the Ahwahnechee. The California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century brought much change including an increase of people not native to the region. This increase lead to conflicts between natives and white settlers. During the Mariposa War, Settler James Savage led the Mariposa Battalion into Yosemite Valley on March 25, 1851, in pursuit of Ahwaneechees led by Chief Tenaya. The battalion, especially from Dr. Lafayette Bunnell, popularized Yosemite Valley because it was spectacular site to see.
Photo from his 1880 book, Discovery of the Yosemite, and the Indian War of 1851, which led to that event
I created this slideshow from photographs labeled as authorized for non-commercial reuse. There were so many beautiful photographs to choose. I eventually had to force my self to stop adding.
I previously wrote about the dedication of Yosemite as a National Park