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The largest city in area in the United States is Juneau, Alaska. It covers 3,248 square miles, yet the city population is fewer than 30,000.

A marker on the 13th step of the Colorado capital building in Denver, Colorado is precisely 1 mile above sea level.
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City History

The San Diego area has long been inhabited by the Kumeyaay people. The first European to visit the region was Portuguese explorer Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo sailing under the Spanish Flag in 1499 - 1543, San Salvador, from Navidad, New Spain. Cabrillo claimed the bay for the Spanish Empire and named the site San Miguel. In November of 1602, Sebastián Vizcaíno was sent to map the California coast. He arrived with his flagship "San Diego". Vizcaíno surveyed the harbor and what is now Mission Bay and Point Loma, naming the area for the Spanish Catholic Saint St. Didacus (San Diego). On November 12, 1602, the first Christian religious service of record in Alta California was conducted by Fray Antonio de la Ascensión, a member of Vizcaíno's expedition, to celebrate the feast day of San Diego. In 1847 San Diego was a destination of the 2000 mile march of the Mormon Battalion which built the city's first courthouse with brick.

After the end of the Mexican-American War and the gold rush of 1848, San Diego was designated the seat of the newly-established San Diego County and was incorporated as a city in 1850. In the years before World War I, the anti-capitalist labor union the Industrial Workers of the World conducted a free speech fight in San Diego, and was met with a brutal response.

Significant U.S. Naval presence began in 1907 with the establishment of the Navy Coaling Station, which gave further impetus to the development of the town. San Diego hosted two World's Fairs, the Panama-California Exposition in 1915 and the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935.

After World War II, the military played an increasing role in the local economy. But at the end of the Cold War the local economy experienced a downturn due to cutbacks in the local defense and aerospace industry. San Diego leaders sought to diversify the city's economy, and San Diego has since become a major center of the emerging biotech industry. It is also home to telecommunications giant Qualcomm.

San Diego has been undergoing an urban renewal since the early 1980s, beginning with the opening of HortonPlaza, the revival of the Gaslamp Quarter, and the construction of the San Diego Convention Center. San Diego's downtown redevelopment agency, has transformed what was a largely abandoned downtown into a glittering showcase of waterfront skyscrapers, and expensive live-work loft developments, five-star hotels, and many cafes, restaurants, and boutiques.

Historic Figures

William Heath Davis (1822-1909)

William Heath Davis (1822-1909)
William Heath Davis has contributed greatly to our understanding of early California and San Diego through his book "Seventy-five Years in California". The book was published posthumously from notes and papers Davis had collected for his nearly completed manuscript, lost during the San Francisco fire in 1906. Davis published "Sixty Years in California" in 1889. Davis ended his days in San Leandro in financial straits. Few men of his time had the opportunity Davis had of seeing all sides of Californian life, and none has left a record as vital and as full. He died at Hayward, California, April 19, 1909.

July 15, 2024

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