by the Spanish in 1776, the bustling and
picturesque city known as San Francisco
was but a small collection of buildings
on a huge peninsula. The site was hand
picked by a man named Juan Bautista de
Anza as an excellent site for a Mission.
When war broke out in 1846 the then Mexican
Province of “Alta California”
was invaded by the United States; the
tiny settlement (then called Yerba Buena)
went with it and was re-named San Francisco.
San Francisco might have remained tiny
if it weren’t for a yellowish and
highly valued metal… gold! Two years
after the war (i.e. 1848) a gold rush
occurred and the city went from a population
of 500 to 2500 in a space of a few years.
It was during this period that the first
Chinese immigrants settled in the city;
in fact many other peoples from all over
the world were beginning to come to what
was quickly becoming a very cosmopolitan
city. San Francisco’s natural harbour
and wonderful sailing weather made sure
that ships could easily dock and be protected
1869 the railroad finally reached the
city and the population began to explode.
Businesses of every kind opened up as
people from the east coast escaped to
the west coast to take advantage of the
mild weather. There was one snag…
earthquakes! Located right on top of the
San Andreas Fault line the city frequently
experiences sudden and violent earthquakes.
In fact on April 18th 1906 the fault shifted
violently that almost tore the city apart;
in the chaos that followed a fire took
root and it came very close to destroying
the city entirely. Despite this by 1937
two bridges, the San Francisco-Oakland
Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge
were open, allowing cars by the thousands
to travel across the bay into the city…
the suburbs were born and the city grew
San Francisco has been the site of many
important events of the 20th Century.
It was the last place of departure for
America’s armed forces during WWII.
It was the centre of the “counter-culture”
and “hippie” (see: Haight-Ashbury)
movements of the 1950s and 1960s, and
was also the centre of the anti-war protests
of the 1970s. The Gay-Rights movement
also holds a place in its heart for San
Francisco; Polk Street and Castro Street
have large Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual
communities that are rooted strongly in
city’s “liberal attitude”.
No matter who you are or where you come
from San Francisco is an excellent place
to visit and a wonderful place to live.
While is true that every once and a while
the earth might move under your feet,
San Francisco is a city is a city that
is prepared for the worse but looks forward
to the best. It is a city rich in history
and filled with many good people just
waiting for a visit.