The History of the Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area, or simply the Bay Area or the Bay, is a region surrounding San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun Bay estuaries in Northern California. One of the most populous metropolitan regions in the United States, the Bay Area has changed significantly through the centuries.

While the Bay Area has achieved tremendous progress, it doesn’t turn its back on its roots. This is evidenced by several buildings, museums, and other public structures that tell of the region’s remarkable history.

Archaeological evidence indicated that the first human settlements in the Bay Area dates back 8,000 to 10,000 B.C.

The indigenous inhabitants of what is today’s San Francisco Bay Area were the Ohlone people. During the mid-18th century, a Spanish exploration party led by Gaspar de Portola first saw the Bay of San Francisco. But the first European to enter the Bay is believed to have been another Spanish explorer, Juan de Ayala, who passed the Golden Gate on his ship, in 1775.

After Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, the Bay Area was under control by the Mexican government for a short period. The United States seized Mexico during the Mexican American War (1846 to 1848) and purchased the territory from the latter. In 1848, the Mexican province of Alta California was annexed to the United States by signing the treaty of Hidalgo.

In 1849, California applied for stateship and was accepted into the Union a year later, becoming the 31st state.

During the California Gold Rush (1848-1855), the San Francisco Bay area attracted a flood of fortune-seekers, many of whom used several ports of the region as an entry point. As a result, the region suddenly became one of the largest seaports in the world, dominating shipping on the West Coast until the final years of the 19th century.

In 1906, a major earthquake leveled the city of San Francisco, leaving it in ruins. But the region quickly rebuilt in time to host the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915.

During World War II, San Francisco’s Fort Mason functioned as a primary embarkation point for the American troops.

The postwar years saw the Bay Area experiencing growth, both in its economy and population. Because of the rapid increase of population and urbanization, the size of the bay itself was getting smaller and smaller. It resulted in fewer recreational areas. There were almost no beaches.

The US Army Corps of Engineers created a plan to fill what was left of the bay to increase industrial and commercial activity. This triggered harsh criticisms and backlash from environmental groups and concerned citizens. It also led to the founding of Save the Bay movement, which was organized to stop the infill of wetlands and the bay in general. Because of this swift action from Save the Bay movement, filling of the bay and its surroundings was banned, and parks and other public recreational places popped up around the area.

Today, the Bay Area has one of the densest industrial populations and urban settlements in the country. It is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the West Coat with approximately seven million residents.

Perhaps the most famous landmark in the Bay Area is the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The Bay Area is also home to one of the world’s finest “wine country” regions, including the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley.

If you’re in the city of San Francisco, you must see and visit some of the landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Yerba Buena garden sculptures, the Golden Gate Park, Tank Hill, and Balmy Alley. The “Painted Ladies” – a row of gorgeous Victorian and Edwardian-style houses – are also a must-see when you visit the city.

These well-preserved historical landmarks and structures are results of diligent government and community efforts to keep the San Francisco Bay Area beautiful. If you live in the Bay Area and are looking for a residential or commercial painter to keep your home or business looking its best, contact Custom Painting, Inc. at 925-294-8062. Company founder and CEO Mark Thissell and his crew have been providing quality paint services for homes and businesses in the Bay Area for over 35 years.