San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

According to, San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in the state of California and the 12th in the United States, with an estimated population of 808,976 residents in 2008. It is the only consolidated city-county in California as featured on Abbreviationfinder, and covering a land area of ​​121 km 2, it has the second highest population density in the country among cities with more than 200,000 residents, after New York. It is the cultural, financial and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a metropolitan agglomeration with more than seven million residents.


It is located at the northern end of the San Francisco peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, the bay with the same name to the east, and the entrance to the bay to the north, so it is only connected to the mainland at its southern end.

The city includes several islands located within the bay (the most famous being Alcatraz), as well as Los Farallones, which are located 43 kilometers from the coast in the Pacific Ocean. It communicates with the rest of the country and the world through the San Francisco International Airport.


The first archaeological remains that evidence the population of the area date, approximately, from the year 3000 a. C. People of the Ohlone language group occupied Northern California since at least the 6th century. Although their territory was occupied by the Spanish from the beginning of the 16th century, the Ohlone maintained relatively little contact with the Europeans until 1769, when, as part of an attempt to colonize Alta California, an exploration group led by Gaspar de Portolá he learned of the existence of the San Francisco bay.

Seven years later, in 1776, an expedition led by Juan Bautista de Anza chose the place where José Joaquín Moraga would soon found the Presidio Real de San Francisco. At the end of that year, the Franciscan missionary Francisco Palóu founded the Mission of San Francisco de Asís (known today as “Mission Dolores”) there. The Yelamu tribe of the Ohlone, who owned some villages in the area, joined the Spanish to live and work in the mission and its members were converted to Catholicism.

After becoming independent from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico. Under Mexican rule, the missionary system gradually came to an end and the lands began to be privatized. In 1835, the Englishman William Richardson erected the first freestanding house, near an anchorage area around what is now Portsmouth Square. Together with Mayor Francisco de Haro, Richardson drew up an urban plan to expand the town, and the city, called Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on 7 July as as 1846during the Mexican-American war and Captain John B. Montgomery he arrived to claim her Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco the following year, and Mexico formalized the cession of the territory to the United States at the end of the conflict. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small town with an inhospitable geography.

The California gold rush brought a flood of people in search of this precious metal. The explorers, accompanied by their sourdough bread, settled in San Francisco instead of Benicia, their rival, and the population increased from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 in December 1849. The promise of great fortunes was so tempting that the crews of the arriving ships would desert and rush to the fields of gold, leaving behind the port of San Francisco littered with empty ships.

California quickly received State status and the US military erected Fort Point on the Golden Gate and a fort on Alcatraz Island to protect San Francisco Bay. Silver deposits, such as the Comstock Lode, were discovered in 1859, leading to even greater population growth. With veritable hordes of fortune seekers arriving in the city, chaos settled in San Francisco and the Barbary Coast area became home to criminals, prostitutes and gamblers.

Many entrepreneurs tried to take advantage of the wealth generated by the gold rush. One of the beneficiaries was the banking industry after the founding of Wells Fargo in 1852 and the Bank of California in 1864. The development of the port of San Francisco provided the city with an important status as a commercial center. In turn, and to supply the growing needs of the population, Levi Strauss and Domingo Ghirardelli opened businesses in the city. The immigrant workforce turned the city into a center of polyglot culture, especially with the construction of the Chinatown Chinese railroad workers. The first Cable Railroad in San Francisco was the Clay Street Hill Railroad, opened in 1873. The Victorian houses of the city were beginning to take shape and civil leaders fought in their campaigns for the construction of public parks, which eventually resulted in the Golden Gate Park project. In it is the California Academy of Sciences the most current Renzo Piano museum, which provides an illuminated and sustainable solution to a construction of the year 1934 with an avant-garde design. The Academy applies to win the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) award for best design.

The Presidio facilities became the most important that the US military had on the Pacificcoast. By the turn of the century, San Francisco was a great city known for its flamboyant style, towering hotels, lavish Nob Hill mansions, and an emerging arts scene.

At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, the city and northern California were rocked by an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale. Despite the fact that many buildings collapsed in the earthquake, the fires caused by the ruptures of the gas installations were more devastating. However, not all the fires were due to natural causes, as some owners did not have their properties insured against earthquakes, but they did insure against fires. With the water supply system out of service, the Presidio Artillery Forces attempted to contain the situation by dynamiting building blocks to create firebreaks. More than three-quarters of the city was left in ruins, including most of the city center.

The results obtained then affirmed that 498 people lost their lives due to the earthquake, but recent studies showed that, directly or indirectly, the earthquake left 3,000 dead. At that time, the population of San Francisco was 400,000; and more than half, 250,000, were left homeless. The refugees temporarily settled in tents set up in Golden Gate Park, the Presidio or the beaches, among other places. Many settled permanently in the east of the Bay.

The rebuilding of the city was rapid and on a large scale. Offers to completely redesign the urban layout were rejected, as the San Franciscans chose to rebuild the city quickly. Amadeo Giannini’s Bank of Italy (later Bank of America) granted loans to those who had lost all their livelihood. The ravaged mansions of Nob Hill, however, they were converted into large hotels. City Hall was rebuilt in a style Beaux Arts, and the city celebrated its rebirth with the Universal Exposition in San Francisco in 1915.

During World War II, the San Francisco Naval Shipyard became a center of activity, and Fort Mason became the main shipping port for sending troops to the Pacific theater of operations. The increase in jobs attracted many people, especially African Americans from the South, to the area. After the end of the war, many military men returned from their service abroad and the civilians who came to work in San Francisco decided to stay. The Charter that created the United Nations was drafted and signed in San Francisco in 1945 and, in 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco was signed, officially ending the war with Japan..

Urban planning projects in the 1950s and 1960s led to the destruction and redesign of western neighborhoods and the construction of new highways, of which only a number of segments were built before the project was halted due to the opposition of citizens. The Transamerica Pyramid was completed in 1972, and during the 1980s the manhattanization of San Francisco began, especially in the center of the city. Port activity moved to Oakland and the city began to lose jobs in the industry, but began to make tourism the center of its economy. The outskirts of the city experienced rapid growth and San Francisco underwent a major change in its demographics as numerous sectors of the white population left the city, being supplanted by waves of Asian and Latin American immigrants. During this period, San Francisco became a magnet for the American counterculture. Generation Beat writers fueled the San Francisco renaissance and settled in the North Beach neighborhood in the 1950s. The hippie movemen to ccupied Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, reaching its peak in the Summer of Love from 1967. In the 1970s the city became a center of the gay rights movement, especially after Castro’s emergence as a gay neighborhood, the election of Harvey Milk as a councilor by the San Francisco City Council, and the assassination of him and of George Moscone in 1978.

During the dot-com Bubble of the late 1990s, startup companies stimulated San Francisco’s economy. Large numbers of entrepreneurs and computer application developers moved to the city, followed by business and marketing professionals, changing the landscape of neighborhoods that were once poor and then gentrified. When the bubble burst in 2001, many of the companies closed and their employees left, although high-tech and entrepreneurship continue to be a linchpin of San Francisco’s economy.

San Francisco, California

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