San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the United States, and the county seat of Santa Clara County. San Jose is the largest city within Silicon Valley, which is a major component of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. It is the largest city in Northern California.
San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777, as El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, the first civilian town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California. The city served as a farming community to support Spanish military installations at San Francisco and Monterey. When California gained statehood in 1850, San Jose served as its first capital.
After more than 150 years as a small farming community, the San Jose area in the mid-20th century contained some of the last undeveloped land near San Francisco Bay. It then began to experience rapid population growth, much of it coming from veterans returning from World War II. San Jose then continued its aggressive expansion during the 1950s and 1960s by annexing more land area. The rapid growth of the high-technology and electronics industries further accelerated the transition from an agricultural center, to an urbanized metropolitan area.
By the 1990s, San Jose’s location within the booming local technology industry earned the city the nickname “Capital of Silicon Valley”. San Jose is now considered by some to be a global city. The U.S. Census Bureau reported the population of the city to be 945,942 in 2010.
San Jose, along with the Santa Clara Valley, has experienced decades of suburban sprawl, with characteristics of intense urbanization similar to the Los Angeles area of Southern California.