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The CAGenWeb Project sincerely thanks the dedicated volunteers who devoted time and effort toward making this site a successful one:
Brent Beardsley, County Coordinator 1996-1997
Jessie Laib, County Coordinator 1997-2003
Carolyn Feroben, County Coordinator 2003-2005
Ron Filion, County Co-Coordinator 2005-2006
Pamela Storm-Wolfskill, County Co-Coordinator 2005-2006
Claire Martin, County Coordinator 2006-2017
Santa Clara County was one of the original counties of California, formed in 1850 at the time of statehood. The original inhabitants included the Ohlone, residing on Coyote Creek and Calaveras Creek. Part of the county's territory was given to Alameda County in 1853.
The European presence in the region began with the Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, The arrival of the Spanish started when Russian exploration into California alarmed the Spanish viceroy in Mexico City. The Russians had settled Alaska and were exploring the West Coast for trading posts within striking distance of the rich Spanish mines. They were a presence at Fort Ross in Northern California from 1812-1841. José de Gálvez, the visitor-general of New Spain, wanted to increase New Spain's territory for the Spanish crown. He sent the Spanish forward into Alta California (present day California). Encountering the native Ohlone people, the Spanish gave them the name of Costeños, or People of the Coast. José Francisco Ortega gave Santa Clara the name "Llano de los Robles" ("Plain of the Oaks") in 1769 as he scouted the region on the behalf of Captain Gaspar de Portolà.
Father Junípero Serra also came into present-day California, establishing a chain of Franciscan missions. It was in 1777 that Father Serra gave Santa Clara Valley its lasting name when he consecrated the Mission Santa Clara de Asís, which is named for Saint Clare of Assisi, Italy. The name "Clare" or "Clara" means "clear" or "bright." The 8th of the 21 established missions, Mission Santa Clara de Asís claimed land from San Francisquito Creek in present-day Palo Alto to Llagas Creek at Gilroy.
San Jose was California's first town and it briefly was California's first state capital. Legislators met in the city from 1849 to 1851. On March 27, 1850, San Jose was incorporated. It was incorporated on the same day as San Diego and Benicia. Together, these three cities followed Sacramento as California's earliest incorporated cities.
In the early 20th Century, the area was promoted as the "Valley of the Heart's Delight" due to its natural beauty, including a significant number of orchards.
The first major technology company to be based in the area was Hewlett-Packard, founded in a garage in Palo Alto in 1939. IBM selected San Jose as its West Coast headquarters in 1943. Varian Associates, Fairchild Semiconductor, and other early innovators were located in the county by the late 1940s and 1950s. The U.S. Navy had a large presence in the area and began giving large contracts to Silicon Valley electronics companies. The term "Silicon Valley" was coined in 1971. The trend accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s, and agriculture nearly been eliminated from the northern part of the county. Today, Santa Clara County is the headquarters for approximately 6500 high technology companies, including many of the largest tech companies in the world.
This site was updated last on 29-Mar-2018 0:43
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