San Jose (/ˌsæn hoʊˈzeɪ/; Spanish: St. Joseph) 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 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.
Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by several groups of Ohlone Native Americans. The first lasting European presence began with a series of Franciscan missions established from 1769 by Father Junípero Serra. On orders from Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, Spanish Viceroy of New Spain, San Jose was founded by Lieutenant José Joaquín Moraga as Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe (in honor of Saint Joseph) on November 29, 1777, to establish a farming community. The town was the first civil settlement in Alta California
In 1797, the pueblo was moved from its original location, near the present-Day intersection of Guadalupe Parkway and Taylor Street, to a location in what is now Downtown San Jose. San Jose came under Mexican rule in 1821 after Mexico broke with the Spanish crown. It then became part of the United States, after it capitulated in 1846 and California was annexed. On March 27, 1850, San Jose became the second incorporated city in the state (after Sacramento), with Josiah Belden its first mayor. San Jose was the California's first State capital, and hosted the first and second sessions (1850–1851) of the California Legislature. Today the Circle Of Palms Plaza in downtown is the historical marker for the first state capital. The city was a station on the Butterfield Overland Mail route.
San Jose is located at 37°20′07″N 121°53′31″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 180.0 sq mi (466 km sq), of which 3.4 sq mi (8.8 km sq) (1.91%) is water. San Jose lies between the San Andreas Fault, the source of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and the Calaveras Fault. San Jose is shaken by moderate earthquakes, above four on the Richter Scale, on average of one to two times a year. These quakes originate just east of the city on the creeping section of the Calaveras Fault, which is a major source of earthquake activity in Northern California. On April 14, 1984, at 1:15 pm, local time a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Calaveras Fault near San Jose's Mount Hamilton.
The city is generally divided into the following areas: Downtown San Jose, Central, West San Jose, North San Jose, East San Jose, and South San Jose. Many of these regions were originally unincorporated communities or separate municipalities that were later annexed by the city. Besides those mentioned above, some well-known communities within San Jose include Japantown, Rose Garden, Sunol-Midtown, Willow Glen, Naglee Park, Burbank, Winchester, Alviso, East Foothills, Alum Rock, Little Portugal, Blossom Valley, Cambrian, Almaden Valley, Silver Creek Valley, Evergreen Valley, Edenvale, Santa Teresa, Seven Trees, Coyote Valley, and Berryessa.
Arts and architecture
Because the downtown area is in the flight path to nearby Mineta San Jose International Airport (also evidenced in the above panoramic), there is a height limit for buildings in the downtown area, which is under the final approach corridor to the airport. The height limit is dictated by local ordinances, driven by the distance from the runway and a slope defined by Federal Aviation Administration regulations. Core downtown buildings are limited to approximately 300 feet (91 m) but can get taller farther from the airport.
Parks, gardens, and other outdoor recreational sites
San Jose possesses about 15,950 acres of parkland in its city limits, including a part of the expansive Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The city's oldest park is Alum Rock Park, established in 1872. In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, reported that San Jose was tied with Albuquerque and Omaha for having the 11th best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities.
Habitat and wildlife
Early written documents record the local presence of migrating salmon in the Rio Guadalupe dating as far back as the 18th century. Both steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and King salmon are extant in the Guadalupe River, making San Jose the southernmost major U. S. city with known salmon spawning runs, the other cities being Anchorage, Alaska; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon and Sacramento, California. Runs of up to 1,000 Chinook or King Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) swam up the Guadalupe River each fall in the 1990s, but have all but vanished in the current decade apparently blocked from access to breeding grounds by impassable culverts, weirs and wide, exposed and flat concrete paved channels installed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District. In 2011 a small number of Chinook salmon were filmed spawning under the Julian Street bridge.
Potable water is provided primarily by the private-sector San Jose Water Company, with some by the Great Oaks Water Company, and ten percent by the public-sector San Jose Municipal Water System. Great Oaks provides exclusively well water, while the other two provide water from multiple sources, including well water, and surface water from the Los Gatos Creek watershed, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.