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 History of San Francisco

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kosovohp
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Join date : 2010-09-28

PostSubject: History of San Francisco   Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:18 am

The earliest archaeological evidence of inhabitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC.[21] The Yelamu group of the Ohlone people resided in several small villages when a Spanish exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portolà arrived on November 2, 1769, the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay.[22] Seven years later, on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores).

Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico. Under Mexican rule, the mission system gradually ended and its lands began to be privatized. In 1835, Englishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead,[23] near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, and the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican-American War, and Captain John B. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco the next year,[24] and Mexico officially ceded the territory to the United States at the end of the war. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography.[25]
Portsmouth Square in 1851

The California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers. With their sourdough bread in tow,[26] prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia,[27] raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849.[16] The promise of fabulous riches was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor.[28] California was quickly granted statehood, and the U.S. military built Fort Point at the Golden Gate and a fort on Alcatraz Island to secure the San Francisco Bay. Silver discoveries, including the Comstock Lode in 1859, further drove rapid population growth.[29] With hordes of fortune seekers streaming through the city, lawlessness was common, and the Barbary Coast section of town gained notoriety as a haven for criminals, prostitution, and gambling.[30]

Entrepreneurs sought to capitalize on the wealth generated by the Gold Rush. Early winners were the banking industry, which saw the founding of Wells Fargo in 1852, and the Bank of California in 1864, while the development of the Port of San Francisco established the city as a center of trade. Business was further enhanced when overland rail access to the Bay Area from the Eastern US was established in 1869 via the Central Pacific Railroad. Built between 1863 and 1869 by a group of then Sacramento-based magnates led by former Gov. Leland Stanford known as the the Big Four, the line constituted the western portion the Pacific Railroad (aka the First Transcontinental Railroad) authorized by the U.S. Pacific Railroad Acts of 1862 and 1864.[31]

Catering to the needs and tastes of the growing population, Levi Strauss opened a dry goods business and Domingo Ghirardelli began manufacturing chocolate. Immigrant laborers made the city a polyglot culture, with Chinese railroad workers creating the city's Chinatown quarter. The first cable cars carried San Franciscans up Clay Street in 1873. The city's sea of Victorian houses began to take shape, and civic leaders campaigned for a spacious public park, resulting in plans for Golden Gate Park. San Franciscans built schools, churches, theaters, and all the hallmarks of civic life. The Presidio developed into the most important American military installation on the Pacific coast.[32] By the turn of the century, San Francisco was a major city known for its flamboyant style, stately hotels, ostentatious mansions on Nob Hill, and a thriving arts scene

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