History of Sacramento
The Sacramento River and its valley were first discovered either in 1799 or in 1808 by a Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga. The explorers described the region as very beautiful, peaceful and green. The air was so beneficial and pleasant for them they said it was like the Holy Sacrament, which is how the city got its name. The first permanent trading colony was established by a Swiss pioneer John Sutter in 1839, who basically started the agricultural economy in the area. There was a sudden and significant increase in population after gold was discovered in the area in 1848. The discovery of gold and the consequent gold rush in the Sacramento area were crucial for the city’s development. The city charter was adopted in 1849 and the following year Sacramento was incorporated.
Mid 19th century, large groups of Chinese immigrants started arriving to California and many settled in Sacramento, which, at the time, was the second largest Californian city, after San Francisco. At first, the local population was not pleased with the newcomers who quickly established Chinatown in Sacramento. However, despite the open hatred they had to face, the Chinese participated actively in the development of the city, of railroads and buildings, and today they are recognized as one of the vital parts in the history and society of Sacramento.
Throughout the 19th century, Sacramento was an important distribution and transportation center and one of the most important cities on the West Coast. It became the capital of California in 1854. The city was the western end of the Pony Express and of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The city suffered a great setback when it was devastated by floods and consequent cholera epidemics on two occasions- in 1850 and in 1861. However, despite having brought so much devastation to the city, the two rivers- America and Sacramento- were vital for the economic development of Sacramento. Sacramento is known by many as “The River City”, not only because of the importance of two rivers for the economy but also because they are major attractions for rafters and kayakers, and also because the Sacramento River, with its deep-water port, provides a quick and easy connection with the San Francisco Bay Area.
The economy of Sacramento is today based largely on government, which is the largest employer in the city. Transportation is still a large sector and other industries include hospitality, tourism and leisure, information technology, health services, education, research, business services and construction. Some of the major companies based in Sacramento include Sutter Health, Aerojet, Blue Diamond Growers, The McClatchy Company and Teichert.
Geography and Climate
The geography in the city is dominated by the America and Sacramento rivers and their confluence. The climate is Mediterranean, with mild and wet winters and hot and dry summers. Snowfall is relatively rare and even when it does snow, the flakes are light and don’t stick to the ground. Sacramento is one of the sunniest places in the world in the period between June and September.
Population of Sacramento
Sacramento is ethnically and racially very diverse. It has a large Hispanic or Latino population (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Nicaraguan), as well as Asian (Chinese, Hmong, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Laotian, Japanese, Pakistani, Korean, Thai and Cambodian). In 2002, Time magazine, in collaboration with the Harvard University Civil Rights project, named Sacramento one of the most racially and ethnically integrated major cities in the USA.
Culture and Tourism in Sacramento
The oldest part of the city is Sutter’s Fort, today part of a state-protected park. The second-oldest part is Old Sacramento, famous for its historic buildings and cobbled streets. Most of the mid-19th century buildings have been restored and serve as one of the city’s most important tourist attractions.
Sacramento has the largest number of community theaters in California. Professional theatre is also represented with several companies, most notably the California Musical Theatre, the Sacramento Theatre Company, and the events such as the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival.
The Crocker Art Museum, the oldest museum west of Mississippi, is one of the best museums in Sacramento. Other notable museums include the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts, the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park, the California State Railroad Museum and the Sacramento History Museum.
Sacramento has a rich alternative music scene, especially for hardcore and metal bands. Some of the famous bands based in Sacramento include Trash Talk, Deftones, Cake, Papa Roach, Tera Melos, Death Grips and Hella.
Food culture is becoming more and more prominent in Sacramento. Guy Fieri of Food Network owns a fusion restaurant in Sacramento and the city is also home to the famous chef and author Biba Caggiano.
The major university in the city is Sacramento State (officially California State University, Sacramento). There is also a campus of the University of California located in the nearby Davis, called UC Davis. The UC Davis Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the country. In addition, there are several two-year public colleges in the city and its surroundings. As for the private universities and colleges, the most important ones include the Art Institute of California-Sacramento, the National University Sacramento and the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, as well as extensions and campuses of the University of Southern California and the University of San Francisco.
As for the transportation, Sacramento is served by the Sacramento International Airport, Amtrak trains (Capitol Corridor, San Joaquins route, Coast Starlight and California Zephyr), and the major highways include I-80, I-5, U.S Route 50, State Route 99 and State Route 160. The Sacramento Regional Transit District is the ninth-busiest in the USA.