San Francisco travel guide




San Francisco Travel Guide

San Francisco History

The earliest inhabitant's traces dates to 3000 BC, the area was home to the Yelamu Tribe a group of the Ohlone people. On November 2, 1769, a small group of European explorers led by Don Gaspar de Portolá first stumbled on the area. On March 28, 1776, the Spanish founded a military fort, the Presidio of San Francisco and the Mission San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores). The year of 1821 marked the independence from Spain, the area became part of Mexico.

In 1835, an Englishman named William Richardson founded the town of Yerba Buena near Mission Dolores. In 1846, Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States during the Mexican war, over the next couple of years, California became an official part of the United States and Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco.

In 1848, gold was discovered in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains, then San Francisco was overrun with “Gold Fever” and began to explode in population; folks streamed in from around the world to get to the gold fields, the population raised from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by the end of 1849. During this time, numerous major businesses were created and flourished although chaos was also common, many saloons, gambling joints, and brothels were opened to serve thousands of transitory settlers. The Barbary Coast section gained bad name as a refuge for criminals.

In 1870, San Francisco had become the tenth largest city in the United States. The first cable cars started operating in 1873. By this time, renowned writers such as Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, and Mark Twain congregated in San Francisco.

In the 1890s, there was a big campaign to modernize and beautify the city; there were built schools, churches, and theatres. By the turn of the century, San Francisco was home to about a third-of-a-million people.

The development of the Port of San Francisco established the city as a centre of trade. Immigrant labourers made the city a polyglot centre. The San Francisco's Chinese population, which is now an integral part of San Francisco's culture, created the city's Chinatown quarter.

In 1906, a devastating earthquake struck San Francisco, over 500 people perished although recent estimates put the number in the quite a few thousands. But the city quickly rebuilt itself, officials at the time immediately set out a plan to reconstruct the city on a grand scale. In 1915, San Francisco hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition as a way to celebrate its rebirth, today, the Palace of Fine Arts complex is the only remnant of the exposition.

The Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge were conceived and built during the Great Depression of the 1930's; it was also during this period that the Federal Government established a federal maximum security prison on Alcatraz Island which housed notorious inmates such as Al Capone.

World War II brought a flood of ship building to the Bay. In 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco officially ended the war with Japan.

After World War II, San Francisco continued to grow in population and economy, at the same time, San Francisco became a focal point of the counterculture and hippie movement, contributing to San Francisco's liberal position. Beat Generation writers fuelled the San Francisco Renaissance and centred on the North Beach neighbourhood while Hippies flocked to Haight-Ashbury and to the Golden Gate Park. The 60's brought talents like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, and Janis Joplin.

Urban renewal began in the 1960s and 1970s; the city was re-developed, and the Rapid Transit System was introduced to make the central city easier to get to those who lived in the peripheries.

In the 1970s, San Francisco became a centre for homosexual rights movement, leading the development of gay neighbourhoods like the Castro.

Today, San Francisco remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.

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