Located in Simoneau Plaza (Transit Station) are four flagpoles. Flying on each of them, are flags that have flown over Monterey. The flags represent four countries that have unfurled their banners over Monterey, beginning in 1602.
First is the Spanish who arrived here in 1602, and then returned June 3, 1770 to establish the Presidio and Mission at Monterey. For a few days in Oct. 1818 the Argentine Privateer Hipólito Bouchard occupied Monterey during the Argentine war for independence. In Sept. 1822, word reached Monterey that Mexico had won its freedom from Spain and that California, hence Monterey, was now part of the Mexican Empire. The Mexican flag graced Monterey’s sky until 1846 when United States’ forces seized the pueblo during the Mexican-American War. Since that time, the Stars and Stripes has flown over Monterey. The American flag has only 28 stars, representing the number of states in the United States at that time.
Although four countries have had flags fly over Monterey, each of those countries have had changes in their standards that have altered the flags. These changes are often represented by the change in the flag that is flying over Simoneau Plaza on a given day. Therefore, when looking at the flags at the Plaza, keep in mind that each flag represents the period when Spain, Argentina, Mexico or the United States had jurisdiction in Monterey.