San Jose, CA, is a very old city, founded in 1777. Before white people came to this area, the Ohlone (Oh LONE ee) Indians lived here, along the Guadalupe (gwad uh LOOP ay) River. They were peaceful Indians who lived in huts made from grasses.
In the 18th century, Spaniards came to this area. They found bears, antelope and geese. They founded the Mission Santa Clara near the river. This mission was moved several times because the river flooded. It is now on the grounds of the University of Santa Clara.
The first civil settlement in California was El Pueblo San Jose de Guadalupe (el PWAY blow san hoZAY de gwad uh LOOP ay) founded in November 1777. It was a farming community and they grew food for the military forces in San Francisco and Monterey. These settlers finally moved to the area that is downtown San Jose today. The first census in 1778 showed 68 people of different races living here.
San Jose was the first capital of California, named in 1849 by the people who wanted California to become a new state. San Jose promised a lot, but disappointed the people who visited here. The capital building wasn’t finished. There weren’t enough rooms for the legislators. People had to sleep in tents and the weather was rainy. The people were so unhappy they moved the capital to Monterey.
Many people came to California looking for gold. Most of them didn’t find any gold, but decided to stay here and grow crops. Prunes became the valley’s biggest crop, also apples, apricots, cherries, peaches and pears. Canneries were built to can the fruit and ship it to other places. The 1906 earthquake hit San Jose very hard. Business buildings collapsed, homes were damaged and hundreds of people were hurt and killed. When A.P. “Dutch” Hamann was city manger (1950-1969) the city’s population grew from 95,000 to 446,000 and from 17 square miles to 136 square miles.
Today this area is known as Silicon Valley because of the powerful high technology economy. It all started with Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett in a garage in Palo Alto in 1938. Today, the Silicon Valley is known everywhere as the center of the computer and software industries.
San Jose still has a diverse population. Ethnic groups today make up about 52 per cent of the city. Large numbers of Vietnamese moved here after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and Asians make up 20% of the population. Hispanics, mostly from Mexico and Central America are about 27%.