History of Oakland, California

The area of the city of Oakland was originally inhabited by the Costanoan Indians, owing to the abundant supply of water in the area. In the early 1770s, the Spanish decided to explore what is now California, making them the first white men to visit the area.

In 1820, a Spanish soldier by the name of Luis Maria Peralta made a request for and was granted land in close proximity to the current East Bay Area. It was not long after the Mexican War that the area of California was taken over by the United States.

Not long after becoming a state, simple mineral mining began for common minerals but quickly turned to gold mining when it was discovered in 1848. The following year, many gold seekers and settlers came to the area in hopes of becoming rich. This fantasy came true for many who came prepared for the search. The sudden influx of people forced the formulation of a local government and law system, which also paved the way for the town to become a city, which it did in 1854.

With close proximity to San Francisco, the area flourished with businesses locally and within its vicinity. Both cities lay on the bay’s edge, making them perfect for playing host to many shipping companies. As time went on, Oakland profited from that advantage and became a major port for both cities. Currently, Oakland is one of the busiest ports in the world for container ships.

Oakland's environs boast many natural features along with numerous attractions drawing visitors from all over the United States. One of the most prominent features in Oakland is Lake Merritt, which is well known for its location directly in the city center. Lake Merritt is home to much of the city’s recreation, and gives its name to the Lake Merritt Wild Fowl Sanctuary, the oldest sanctuary of its type in the United States, dating to 1870.

Oakland is not only home to the magnificent lake, but also to many public performances given by the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and the Oakland Civic Ballet. Oakland also is home to the Oakland Museum and the Knowland State Arboretum and Park, which lies within the Oakland Zoo.

Also laying claim to the Oakland area are such education institutions as the California College of the Arts and Crafts, Holy Names College, Mills College, and Patten College.

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