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History of San Diego
 
 
 

Early History

The area has long been inhabited by the Kumeyaay people. The first European to visit the region was Juan Rodr刕uez Cabrillo. A long-term resident of Spanish America Cabrillo was commissioned by Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza to continue the explorations of California. In 1542, Cabrillo named what is now known as San Diego, San Miguel. The San Diego Bay and the area of present-day San Diego were given their current names sixty years later by Sebasti疣 Vizca匤o when he was mapping the coastline of Alta California for Spain in 1602. The explorers camped near a Native American village called Nipaguay and celebrated mass in honour of San Diego de Alcala (Saint Didacus of Alcal・. California was then part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain under the Audiencia of Guadalajara.

In 1769, Gaspar de Portol・and his expedition founded the Presidio of San Diego (military post), and on July 16, Franciscan friars Jun厓ero Serra, Juan Viscaino and Fernando Parron raised and blessed a cross, establishing the first mission in Upper California, Mission San Diego de Alcala. Colonists began arriving in 1774; the following year, the native people rebelled. They killed the priest and two others, and burned the mission. Father Serra organised the rebuilding and two years later a fire-proof adobe structure was built. By 1797 the mission had become the largest in California, with over 1,400 natives associated with it.

Late 19th Century

In 1821, Spain recognised Mexico's independence. The governor of Alta California and Baja California moved the capital to San Diego from Monterey. The mission was secularised in 1834 and 432 people petitioned Governor Jos・Figueroa to form a pueblo. Commandant Santiago Arguello endorsed it. Juan Mar僘 Osuna was elected the first alcalde (mayor), winning over P卲 Pico in the 13 ballots cast. However, the population of the town shrank to little over a hundred persons, and by the late 1830s it lost its township until the province of Alta California became part of the United States in 1850 following the Mexican defeat in the Mexican-American War. The village was designated the seat of the newly-established San Diego County and incorporated as a city.

As a consequence of the gold rush of 1848 and thousands of people coming from Europe, San Diego was linked to the rest of the nation by railroad in 1885. San Diego was reincorporated as a city in 1886.

20th Century

Significant US Naval presence began in 1907 with the establishment of the Navy Coaling Station. While the city hosts a number of naval facilities, it suffered some setbacks. Most notably, the Naval Training Center just to the west of Lindbergh Field was slated for closure in 1993 by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission and the base completed the closure process on April 30, 1997. The former base is now the site for Liberty Station, a multi-use development for homes and businesses. The former Miramar Naval Air Station is now used by the US Marine Corps and now called MCAS Miramar.

San Diego hosted two World's Fairs, the Panama-California Exposition in 1915 and the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935.

Since World War II, the military has played a leading role in the local economy. Following the end of the Cold War the military presence has diminished considerably. San Diego has since become a centre of the emerging biotech industry and is home to telecommunications giant Qualcomm.

The city of San Diego is primarily Democratic, but San Diego County, which includes the surrounding cities of San Diego, has a republican majority.

San Diego was affected like many other US cities by the phenomenon known as "White flight" during the mid/late 20th century. Some of the neighbourhoods were re-populated with a larger Mexican presence. Its youth feeling discriminated and without power, organised and referred to themselves as Chicanos. The city became the centre of a national movement started by Professor Alurista at San Diego State University which called for a mystical nation of Aztlan. It stated that a separation of several southwestern states was necessary because they felt that they were "stolen" from Mexico. A local branch of the Young Lords joined together with this movement. In addition, they also called for self determination for Puerto Rico, neighbourhood empowerment and an opposition to urban renewal.


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