History of San Jose

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The city of San Jose, seat since 1850 of Santa Clara County, is located in west-central California. It lies in the Santa Clara Valley along the Coyote and Guadalupe Rivers, 50 miles (80 km) southeast of San Francisco. The first civic settlement in California, it was founded by José Joaquin Moraga in 1777 as a Spanish military-supply base named Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe. During the Spanish Colonial and Mexican periods it supplied wheat, vegetables, and cattle to the military garrisons at Monterey and San Francisco. After the American occupation of California in 1846, San Jose briefly became the new territory's first capital and the first territorial legislative assembly convened here in December 1849. The state capital was moved to Vallejo and then Sacramento where it remains today.

In 1850 San Jose became the first chartered city in California, by which time it had become a bustling trade depot for the gold fields. In 1864 the coming of the railroad from San Francisco gave San Jose improved trade connections and enabled the produce of its nearby farms to be readily shipped to San Francisco. The Santa Clara Valley thus soon developed into a fruit-growing region specializing in plums and apricots. A few of those fruit trees can be seen even today in many an empty lot.

Until 1940 most of the city's industries were concerned with dried-fruit processing and the manufacture of orchard supplies and agricultural equipment. During and after World War II, however, there was a meteoric growth in its manufactur of such durable goods as electrical machinery, aircraft parts and motor vehicles. Large aerospace and business-equipment firms located plants in the area and the rise of the computer industry in an area now known as Silicon Valley farther north in the Santa Clara Valley meant a spectacular burst of growth for San Jose. Even with all of its history, San Jose is best known for its high-tech contributions to the computer hardware and software industry.

The city annexed land at a rapid rate and during the period from 1960 to 1980 and its population more than tripled. The city is still a processing and distribution center for a rich agricultural area producing fruit and wine, while also producing extremely diverse products such as computers and aerospace components, auto parts, food-processing machinery and a variety of household and consumer goods. The city continues to reflect the urban growth of the San Francisco Bay area.

With this growth came a surge of multicultural influences that contribute to the diversity of the city--San Jose's melting pot community. With the many cultures and ethnic groups converging in one place, the city takes on an international appeal. The assortment of ethnic restaurants and cultural events leave little to want. The assortment of food at local eateries is incredible. You can travel to Thailand, China, Japan, Middle East, Mexico, France, Italy by simply entering the doors of popular restaurants. And the food is not only authentic, but also absolutely fabulous! Many a visitor to our city has been delightfully surprised by the variety and quality of the cuisine available.

Locals enjoy the proximity of San Jose to Lake Tahoe (3 hours east) for skiing, and of the Pacific coastline (Santa Cruz, 45 minutes south) for the great surfing. Since the average temperature is ideal at 65-75 degrees, locals enjoy outdoor activities year round including mountain and street bicycling, running, swimming, tennis, rock climbing, roller blading, horseback riding, fishing, rowing, and motorcycling. However, don't be fooled by the air temperature-the ocean is cold and not even the bravest souls should enter without a thick wetsuit. Anyone who loves the outdoors will quickly become a fan of San Jose.

Visiting here any time of year is a great idea. Among the city's many cultural attractions are the Municipal Rose Garden, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, and the Alum Rock Park municipal recreation area. The University of Santa Clara and Stanford University (Palo Alto) are also nearby. San Jose State University was established in 1857 and San Jose City (junior) College in 1921.

The population of San Jose is ever surging, now almost one million.