History of San Jose, California


The prosperous city of San Jose

San Jose is a city in the San Francisco’s Bay Area, California. It is the seat of government of the Santa Clara County. The city is located along the rivers of Coyote and Guadalupe in the south end of the San Francisco Bay. It is presently the largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the third largest city in the state of California. San Jose is also considered as the “Capital of the Silicon Valley” as it is home to numerous tech companies which will be enumerated later.

The area under Spanish rule

Before white people came to what is now known as San Jose, Ohlone American Indians used to live here along a river that is now called Guadalupe. The Indians lived in huts made from grasses. Around the 18th century, a group of Spanish conquistadores, led by Juan Bautista de Anza, arrived. In an effort to control the Indian population, the Spaniards started building missions just like they did in many present-day cities and towns around California. In this case they founded the Mission Santa Clara near the Guadalupe River. However, because the place was often flooded, the mission was moved quite a lot of times. The Spaniards also erected what are called presidios — fortresses that were built to protect them from hostile American Indians, enemy colonists, and pirates.

San Jose holds the historical distinction as being the first area in California to have a Spanish pueblo (town) which was neither connected to a mission nor a presidio. That town was named El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe (The Town of St. Joseph of Guadalupe). This pueblo was founded in 1777 founded by Jose Joaquin Moraga, one of the earliest members who led the expedition on the Alta California. Moraga is credited as the founder of San Jose.

San Jose in the hands of Mexico, and then United States

San Jose went under the Mexican rule in 1821 when Mexico broke with the Spanish regime. Like any other areas in California, the Spanish land grants were transformed into Mexican land grants, which were given to certain private individuals. For instance, the Rancho Rincon de Los Esteros grant was claimed by Rafael Nicanor Alviso in 1859.

In 1846 San Jose became part of the United States when Captain Thomas Fallon and his party seized the pueblo without any bloodshed. Following the end of the Mexican-American War, the state of California was then annexed. Fallon would later become San Jose’s tenth mayor. His residence is still standing in the city.

San Jose becoming a booming city

San Jose became the first incorporated city in California on March 27, 1850. Josiah Belden was elected as the first mayor since San Jose became a city. San Jose was also made as the first State capital of California, and played host for the fisst and second California Legislature sessions in 1850-1851.

A Mexican cavalry captain by the name of Andres Castillero discovered the cinnabar deposits in 1845; the red powder of this mercury ore was used by the Indians to decorate the missions. Two years after the discovery, mercury mining operations began just in time for the California Gold Rush, as mercury is useful in seprating gold from ore. In 1854 the New Alamden Quicksilver Mines was built just south of San Jose, and the mercury industry boomed from there, and gave birth to the city’s daily newspaper Mercury News (now San Jose Mercury News).

San Jose in the 20th century

In 1906 San Francisco earthquake, San Jose suffered damage but not as extensive as San Francisco’s. However, 100 casualties were recorded in just a single building — the Agnews State Hospital — after its walls and roofs collapsed. San Jose lies near the San Andreas Fault, which causes earthquake activity in California.

During the Second World War, San Jose experienced a tumultuous time. The racial tension ran high in the neighborhood, and several blacks, Mexican Americans and Japanese Americans were tremendously affected. The Japanese Americans were sent to interment for a time during the course of the war, while anti-Mexican violence took place in 1943 following the zoot suit riots that occurred in Los Angeles. At the start of the war, San Jose’s industry turned from agricultural to wartime manufacturing; The present FMC Corporation was contracted by the government to build 1000 Landing Vehicle Tracked units, which are amphibious wartime vehicles.

San Jose’s economic and industrial growth

IBM established its headquarters in San Jose in 1943; nine years later the company opened its research and development facility. IBM employee Reynold Johnson and his team invented the hard disk drive. These events would give a way to San Jose’s transition from an agricultural to technological industry hub. And sure enough, the technological side of the city began to grow.

During the 1950s and the 1960s, a major growth campaign was ensued, and adjacent areas such as Alviso and Cambrian Park were voted to become major suburban areas. Despite the opposition, development fees, as well as the incorporation of nearby cities Campbell and Cupertino, the development was still far from slowing. Rather, the urban growth was directed into already incorporated towns.

San Jose as “Capital of Silicon Valley”

San Jose’s high-tech industry boomed, and this led to economic growth as well as steady increase in population. For this kind of economical and industry progress, San Jose is now considered as the “Capital of Silicon Valley.” The city is the home turf of many of the world’s renowned tech companies such as Adobe, Cisco Systems, eBay and Xilinx, whose headquarters are based in the city. Major tech facilities are also found in San Jose including IBM, Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard, Qualcomm and a few others. Samsung’s North American headquraters as well as Acer’s US division are also based in San Jose. San Jose is also home to other large tech companies such as Netgear, Novellus Systems, TiVo, Quantum and VeriFone.

Because of San Jose’s prominent economic position, its cost of living is deemed one of the highest not only in California but in the whole of US. The city is nearing the one millionth population mark as it stands at 945,942 as of 2010 US Census.

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