San Jose History
San Jose was founded as a pueblo in 1777 and named Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, in honor of Saint Joseph. In 1821, the town came under Mexican rule until 1846, when California was annexed to the United States. It was the first capital of California and hosted the first and second sessions of the California Legislature.
The city suffered extensive damage from the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, although to a lesser extent compared to San Francisco. During the World War II, many Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps, as a result of growing hostility towards the Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Also during the war, San Jose was site of anti-Mexican riots, following the famous L.A. “zoot suit riots” between white sailors and Mexican residents. World War II caused a shift in the local economy, from mostly agriculture-based activities towards industrial manufacturing.
During the 1950s and the 1960s, San Jose annexed several neighboring areas, which opened to space for suburban sprawl of the city. The fact that the city is located within the Silicon Valley triggered more growth and development, despite the efforts to keep the urban boundaries intact.
Geogaphy and Climate
San Jose is located between the Calaveras Fault and the San Andreas Fault. The area is seismically very active and the city gets one to two moderate earthquakes per year. The city lies close to the Pacific Ocean and its northern border touches the San Francisco Bay. The Guadalupe River runs through the northern section of the city and flows into the Bay at Alviso. The city can be divided into four distinct valleys - Almaden Valley to the southwest, named after mercury mines used during the California Gold Rush; Evergreen Valley lies to the southeast and is mostly hilly; Santa Clara Valley, which is flat and Coyote Valley, the rural area at the southernmost part of the city.
San Jose has a subtropical Mediterranean climate, typical for the Bay Area. It has more than 300 days of sunshine and, unlike the rest of the Bay Area, it is relatively dry, even semi-arid.
City Areas and Population
The city can generally be divided into Downtown, Central, West, North, East and South San Jose. Some of the well-known neighborhoods and communities in San Jose include Japantown, Downtown San Jose, Rose Garden, Sunol-Midtown, Burbank, Alviso, Winchester, Almaden Valley, Willow Glen, Santa Teresa, Blossom Valley, Cambrian and Edenvale.
San Jose has 971,372 inhabitants as of 2012. At the last official survey, the 2010 U.S. census, the racial makeup of the city was 33.2% Hispanic or Latino, 31.7% Asian, 28.7% non-Hispanic White, 2.9% non-Hispanic Black or African American, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 0.2% Native American, 2.7% biracial and 0.2% some other race.
The city is home to a very large percentage of foreign-born residents. These are a combination of high-tech workers from Asia, immigrants from Eastern Europe and poorer immigrants from Latin America, many of whom are not legal residents of the USA. San Jose also has the largest Vietnamese population outside Vietnam.
San Jose is the largest city in the Silicon Valley, an area known for very high concentration of high-tech, communications, engineering and microprocessor companies. The period known as the “tech bubble” or “dot com bubble” from 1995 to 2000 lead to extraordinary economic growth in San Jose and in the rest of the Silicon Valley, resulting in historic peaks in employment, housing, population but also in traffic congestion. After the “bubble” burst in 2000, the growth slowed down but it did not hurt the economy as much as it would have been expected. San Jose currently has the highest income in the USA for cities with 280,000 or more inhabitants.
Some of the largest companies with headquarters in San Jose include Adobe, Altera, Cisco Systems, eBay, Cadence Design Systems, Lee’s Sandwiches, Sanmina-SCI, Brocade Communications Systems and Xilinx. In addition, it has facilities of major companies such as IBM, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard, Ericsson, Becton Dickinson and KLA Tencor.
Landmarks and Culture
Landmarks and sites of interest in San Jose include History Park, Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, Plaza de Cesar Chavez, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Mexican Heritage Plaza, San Jose City Hall, Oak Hill Memorial Park, San Jose Flea Market, Japantown, De Anza Hotel, San Jose Municipal Stadium, Spartan Stadium and Lick Observatory.
Notable museums in the city include Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Children’s Discovery Museum and The Tech Museum of Innovation. The city is home to Opera San Jose, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, Symphony Silicon Valley and San Jose Repertory Theatre. Important annual events in San Jose include the Cinequest Film Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival and the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival, hosted in San Francisco, San Jose and Berkeley.
Education in San Jose
The largest institution of higher education in San Jose is the San Jose State University, founded in 1862. Other important institutions include National Hispanic University, California University of Management and Technology, Lincoln Law School of San Jose, University of Silicon Valley Law School, as well as a number of community colleges.
San Jose is served by the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport and Reid-Hillview Airport of Santa Clara County, although the residents of San Jose also use the much bigger San Francisco International Airport. Passenger rail service is provided by Amtrak, Caltrain, ACE and a local light-rail system operated by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
The city has only one major league professional sports team - the San Jose Sharks of the NHL.