The History of San Jose, California

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0,

San Jose, the third largest city in California, is also the most populous part of the extensive metropolitan area around the bay, which includes Oakland in addition to San Francisco. Neighboring communities include Milpitas (northeast), Alum Rock (east), Los Gatos (southwest), Campbell and Santa Clara (west), and Sunnyvale (northwest). The city is the hub of Silicon Valley, a region of high-tech and computer-related industries that stretch along the southwestern shore of the bay to San Francisco. 1850, Inc.

Costanoan Indians were living in the area when European explorers arrived in the mid-18th century. The first civic settlement in California, founded in 1777 by José Joaquin Moraga as a Spanish farming community, was named Pueblo de San José de Guadalupé for St. Joseph. During the Spanish colonial and Mexican periods, the military garrisons in Monterey and San Francisco were supplied with wheat, vegetables and cattle. After the American occupation of California in 1846, San Jose briefly became the first capital of the new state, and the first state legislature convened there in December 1849. (The state capital was transferred to Vallejo in 1852 and permanently to Sacramento in 1854.)

San Jose became the first chartered city in California in March 1850, when it became a bustling goldfield trade depot east of Sacramento. In 1864, the arrival of the San Francisco railroad provided San Jose with improved trade connections and made it easier for the production of nearby farms to be shipped to San Francisco. Thus, the Santa Clara Valley soon developed into a region of orchards and fruit processing.

Until 1940, most of the city’s industries remained focused on food processing and production of orchard supplies and agricultural equipment. However, during and after World War II, there was a meteoric increase in the production of such durable goods as electrical machinery, aircraft parts and motor vehicles. Large aerospace and business-equipment firms located in the area, and the rise of San Jose as the Silicon Valley anchor, produced an even more spectacular growth in the city, which only increased with the boom in Internet-related industries in the 1990s.

The city annexed land at a rapid rate, more than tripling its area between 1960 and 2000; its population more than quadrupled during the same period. Citizens have long been ethnically diverse, with large and growing Asian and Hispanic communities, which together now make up some three-fifths of the total population.

San Jose stands out as a center of innovation for its affluence, Mediterranean climate and extremely high living costs. San Jose ‘s position as a cultural , political and economic center within the booming high-tech industry has earned the city the nickname “Capital of Silicon Valley.” San Jose is one of the wealthiest major cities in the United States and the world and has the third highest GDP per capita in the world (after Zurich, Switzerland and Oslo, Norway), according to the Brookings Institution.

The San Jose Metropolitan Area has the largest millionaires and the largest billionaires per capita in the United States. With a median home price of $1,085,000, San Jose has the most expensive housing market in the country and the fifth most expensive housing market in the world, according to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey 2017. Major global tech companies, including Cisco Systems, eBay, Adobe Inc., PayPal, Broadcom, Samsung, Acer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Zoom, have their headquarters in San Jose, Silicon Valley.

This amazing historical city is full of some amazing must-see landmarks you don’t want to miss:

  • Peralta Adobe-Fallon House Historic Site
  • Luis Maria Peralta Adobe
  • César Chávez Family Home 
  • History Park
  • James Lick Mansion
  • Winchester Mystery House
  • St. James Park – San Jose History Walk Marker #23
  • Southern Pacific Railroad Steam Locomotive #1215 
  • Olympic Black Power Statue  

All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location located at 3880 South Bascom Avenue in San Jose, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!