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    Presidio of Monterey, CA History

    The Presidio of Monterey is one of the oldest military installations in the USA, and has been a fort for three governments; The Kingdom of Spain, the United Mexican States, and the United States of America. The Presidio Real de Monterey (Royal Fort) was named after the Spanish Count of Monterey, Gaspar de Zuniga y Acevedo. The area was first colonized by the Spanish in 1770 and a fort was constructed in the area of the present day Presidio. In 1823 the whole area came under control of the United Mexican States when they gained independence from the Spanish Crown.

    In 1846 Commodore John D. Sloat of the US Pacific Squadron landed in the area during the Mexican-American War and seized the territory for the US. New construction began right away, and the garrison was named Fort Mervine, after Captain William Mervine, one of the commanders in Sloat's squadron. During its early years, the fort went through a number of name change and commands, housing a variety of units, and often closed during peace. It wasn't until 1902 that the US Army built a cantonment area on the site, and various infantry regiments used it as a training area. Very soon the post was being called by its current name, Presidio of Monterey, but was a camp of a nearby fort.

    From the early 1900s until the onset of World War II, the Presidio was the temporary headquarters of many units, housing a school of musketry (yes, that's what it was called), cavalry and artillery units, and a baking and cooking school. Finally, in 1946, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (then called the Military Intelligence Service Language School) relocated to the Presidio of Monterey, where it still resides to this day. In 1994 the camp, the Presidio, was separated from its command post and became its own installation. Today, the Presidio maintains the mission of providing education, training, and evaluation in global languages, for the success of our nation's defense.