San Jose, the third-largest city in California and seat of Santa Clara County, is located in the northern part of the state in the Santa Clara Valley, 50 mi south of downtown San Francisco.
San Jose was founded on Nov. 29, 1777, by Spanish colonizers who named the settlement Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe in honor of Saint Joseph and after the Guadalupe River on which the pueblo (town) was situated. San Jose was the first city to be established in California.
After California became a U.S. territory in 1847, San Jose was the state capital from 1849 to 1852 and was incorporated as a city in 1850. It developed commercially as a supply base for gold prospectors and, when the railroad connected it with San Francisco in 1864, it became the distribution point for agricultural products from the Santa Clara Valley.
Today, the city continues to be the distribution and food-processing center for the surrounding rich agricultural region, which produces seasonal fruits and grapes. More than 50 wineries grace the valley.
San Jose is the capital of Silicon (Santa Clara) Valley, where many high-tech companies are located. The area is also one of the world’s leading centers for medical treatment and research. Heart transplants, gene splicing, and transportable baby incubators were developed there.
San Jose has healthy retail, transportation, and tourism industries and is the primary center for real estate and industrial development in the area. Also, in a ranking of America’s safest cities in 2011, San Jose came in at number six.
But it’s technology that has made San Jose what it is today, the largest city in northern California and the heart of the Silicon Valley, known for its prominence in the development of semiconductors and computer-related technology. Headquartered in San Jose are industry giants Adobe Systems, BEA Systems, Cisco, and eBay. Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Hitachi also have bases in the city. The technology boom of the 1980s and beyond has brought significant prosperity to San Jose, making it one of the nation’s fastest-growing. The city also ranks among highest in the country for median household income, giving it a wealth of entertaining outlets to spend that income. Including Oakland, San Francisco and other communities in the Bay Area, San Jose is part of the country’s fourth-largest metropolis. But despite its size, San Jose is one of the country’s safest, ranking #1 among big cities on Morgan Quitno’s Safest Cities in America list three years in a row.
Mayor: Chuck Reed (to Nov. 2014)
City Manager: Debra Figone
2014 population estimate (rank):1,015,785 (10)
Land area: 175 sq mi. (453 sq km);
Alt.: Highest, 4,372 ft.; lowest, sea level
Avg. daily temp.: Jan., 49.4° F; July, 69.5° F
City-owned parks and playgrounds: 152 (3,136 ac.);
Radio stations: 14;
Television stations: 4
Civilian Labor Force (PMSA) April 2015: 1,051,4001;
Unemployed (April 2015):41,4001,
Percent (April 2015): 3.91;
Per capita personal income 2013: $34,025
Chamber of Commerce: San Jose Chamber of Commerce, 310 S. First St., San Jose, CA 95113