San Francisco, CA and Its Fascinating History
San Francisco, CA is located on the Western Coast of the United States in beautiful Northern California. It has been inhabited for thousands of years by various populations, and it now boasts a population of nearly a million. Highly recognizable for its landmark Golden Gate Bridge and other tourist attractions that draw millions of visitors every year, it is an iconic city with a fascinating and extensive history.
Early History and European Settlement in CA
There is evidence of human settlement in the San Francisco as early as 3000BC. Later the Ohlone Native American occupied the area and came into contact with Spanish explorers in 1769. Shortly thereafter, a mission and a fort were established. The mission was known as San Francisco de Asis after St. Francis of Assisi giving the city the name it bears to this day. It became a part of Mexico when it gained independence from Spain in 1821. In 1835, an Englishman began a settlement in the area that came to be known as Yerba Buena which was a common herb in the area. The city became part of the United States through the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War.
The Gold Rush in CA
The gold rush that began in 1848 changed the fate of San Francisco dramatically. In two years the population increased by nearly 25 times. This rapid expansion led to a haphazardly planned city and lax social order as people flocked to the area in droves. For a long time, it was the largest city west of the Mississippi river until Los Angeles overtook it in 1920. Unfortunately, racism and violence marred San Francisco’s early beginnings as an American city.
The 20th Century in CA
San Francisco faced its largest challenge yet with the devastating Earthquake and fire of 1906. The Earthquake measured a 7.8 on the Richter scale and the fires raged for several days. Eighty percent of the city was destroyed, but this led to a major rebirth with a revolutionary city plan, engineered by Daniel Burnham. The city continued to grow and in World War II, it was the major port of entry and exit for war in the Pacific. Many sailors after the war settled in the city, leading to even more expansion.
Development of Culture
After the Second World War San Francisco became a hub for the counterculture movement. 1967 became known as the Summer of Love in which many young people flocked to the city. Rock music also underwent a lot of development in this area. Over the years, the gay community slowly began to build in this frontier town, and to this day, it is known for its extensive gay culture and club scene. In the 1980’s, the city went through a period of “Manhattanization” in which the city began to look much more like New York City with large skyscrapers, but this was met with opposition.
San Francisco, CA Today
Today San Francisco is a very progressive city that is on the forefront of the battle against climate change. They were the first American city to require new buildings under ten stories to install solar panels on their roofs. It is a very popular place to live and one of the most expensive cities in the country with its scenic views and temperate weather. San Francisco is a great place to live, work, and visit.
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