San Diego History
||San Diego has a long and rich
history. In the beginning, the area was inhabited by the Native
Americans long before being discovered by the westerners in
1542. The first European to visit the area was Juan Rodriguez
Cabrillo from Spain. He named it San Miguel. The area of present-day
San Diego was given its current name by Sebastian Vizcaino when
he was mapping the coastline of California for Spain in 1602.
These explorers were
camping near a Native American village and celebrated mass in honor
of San Diego de Alcala.
In 1769, Gaspar de Portola and his expedition founded a military
post and begin establishing the first mission in California, Mission
San Diego de Alcala. Soon after, colonists began arriving, which
caused the natives to rebel. The natives burned the mission down
and killed a priest and two others. However, one of the westerners
began rebuilding and two years later, a fire-proof adobe structure
was constructed. In 1979, the mission was the largest in all of
In 1821, Spain recognized Mexico’s independence. The governer
of Alta California and Baja California moved the capital from Monterey
to the area of San Diego. The colonists petitioned to form a town
and it soon became endorsed. Juan Maria Osuna was elected the first
mayor; however, the population of the town shrank to just over 100
people and by the late 1830s, it lost its township. In 1850, the
province of Alta California became part of the United States following
the Mexican defeat in the Mexican-American War and the city returned.
This village was designated a seat in the new San Diego County and
In 1885, San Diego was linked with a railroad to the rest of the
country, which was just the beginning of its growth. A few years
later, the U.S. Navy began its heavy prescence in this region with
a Navy coaling station. In 1915 and again in 1935, San Diego hosted
two World’s Fairs, drawing attention from across the globe.
Since World War II, the military played a leading role in boosting
San Diego’s economy. However, that changed after the end of
the Cold War and the military’s prescence began to diminish.
However, the city has become a center for the biotech and telecommunications
Beginning in 2003, the public learned of a fund scandal that left
the city with an estimated $1.4 billion pension fund gap. Controversy
has ensued during the mayor elections since this time. Mayor Dick
Murphy announced his intent to resign in 2005 due to mounting pressure
over controversies. A few days after his resignation, two city councilmembers
were convicted for taking bribes and both resigned.