"San Francisco" California Favorite Tip by traveldave

California General: 347 reviews and 301 photos


Favorite thing: San Francisco is located on a peninsula bounded by the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco Bay, and the two-mile (three-kilometer) gap of the Golden Gate, where the waters of the ocean and bay meet.

In 1775, Spanish sailor Juan Manuel de Ayala sailed his ship, the San Carlos, through the Golden Gate and became the first European to explore the bay. A year later, Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and Father Francisco Palou, along with 200 settlers from Mexico, established the Mission Dolores and the Presidio. They named their small settlement Yerba Buena, which is Spanish for "Good Herb."

In 1846, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War and ceded all of California to the United States. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco. It remained a sleepy outpost until gold was discovered in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1849. Then the city boomed as the jumping-off point for the thousands of "forty-niners" who flocked to the area in search of riches.

The city further prospered when it became the western terminus of the transcontinental railroad. During its construction, thousands of Chinese laborers were imported to work on the railroad. Afterward, the Chinese settled in San Francisco, and founded what would be the largest Chinese community outside of China.

In 1906, an earthquake, which measured 8.3 on the Richter scale, completely destroyed the city, leaving 3,000 dead and 100,000 homeless. San Francisco was quickly rebuilt and became the largest and most important city on the West Coast, until it was later surpassed by Los Angeles in the middle of the twentieth century.

Nowadays, San Francisco is the center of a metropolitan area with about 7,530,000 inhabitants.

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 28, 2007
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