Monterey is one of the more beautiful coastal cities in California. It is located on the central coast and is known for its magnificent natural beauty, world famous Aquarium, and temperate year-round climate. It was originally the state capital of California, and has more historic buildings in its downtown than any other city west of Santa Fe, including California's first theatre, public building, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. Monterey was established in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra and soon became a Spanish military base. Eventually it became a thriving commercial trade port. Once Mexico gained its independence from Spain, this city became the capital of Alta California under Mexican rule. Even after California became part of the United States after the Mexican-American War, Monterey remained the capital of the territory. Today it is best known for its beautiful coastline, and its world-class aquarium. It has been immortalized in the many John Steinbeck novels set there, including Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat and East of Eden