San Diego City Directory

SDCD Home Page  A  B  C  D  E-F  G  H  I-J  K-L  M-N  O-P  Q-R  S  T  U-Z  SDCD Site Map


San Diego History

Once upon a time, a little town that we now know as San Diego, was inhabited by only the Kumeyaay people. That small town now stands as one of the biggest and prosperous cities in the United States. Its population now reaches 1,255,240 people and is proud to be the second largest city in California and the eighth largest in the United States. Its geographical position, on the southern coast of California, makes it the perfect destination for vacationers. There are so many things tourists desire: stunning beaches, fabulous weather, endless activities and a top convention destination. The prospering San Diego economy, was made possible by it’s focus on tourism, trade, agriculture, ship-building, the military, biotechnology, computer sciences and electronics. Thanks to this economic development the city’s appearance is being reflected both on the life style of the people and in the design of the buildings. Both tourists and citizens are welcomed to enjoy the downtown area where they will find attractive gathering places, overhead walkways, parks, historic districts and fantastic shopping in innovative centers and residential developments.

But the town was not always the prosperous city we all know. Its beginnings are tied to the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who first discovered San Diego and claimed it for Spain. He discovered the bay and named it San Miguel and was known under this name until 1602. The Spanish explorer Don Sebastian Viscaino, a Spanish Catholic saint, changed the name into St. Didacus known as "San Diego". He was first celebrated on November 12, 1602 when the Spanish fort and mission complex, the Presidio, was founded. We now know this area as Old Town, which is a favorite tourist destination in San Diego.

At that time the town was an important shipping point for cattle hide and quarried stone. In order to prove how important this shipping point was we can take the city of Boston as an example since it was paved with stone brought from San Diego.

After 1822, when Mexico gained its independence from Spain, San Diego became the capital of Mexican California. San Diego was under Mexico’s control for about 24 years until it was passed to the United States in 1846.. The town was incorporated as a city in 1850.

The town developed in the next twenty years especially thanks to the whaling port. The town’s downtown was made of a 1,000-acre plot that was then bought by Alonzo E. Horton in 1867. Alonzo started the town’s development by laying out streets, building a wharf and a hotel, and then donating land for churches. The town’s population increased quickly especially after 1870, due to the gold strike. In 1885, when Santa Fe Railroad and a number of eastern investors arrived in the city there were 40,000 people living in the area.

San Diego managed to overcome the economic setbacks from economic and business life even though there were times when the city registered a regression visible in the number of population that dwindled to 17,000 people. The obscurity that lied upon the town was caused by the more developed cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. After the World War II, San Diego extended his territory with almost 20 miles in each direction and became a military center, home base for a large number of naval trainees that were relocated to the city as civilians. So did the city begin its growth and development that has never ceased. The town’s territory expanded after the addition of new distinct communities that developed in the nearby canyons and valleys; territories that though incorporated into San Diego retain a separate identity.

Many of California’s famous fruit and vegetables come from the San Diego’s south side that has a rich agricultural area. These fruits and vegetables are shipped worldwide from San Diego’s port that can be found in the north side of the city. This north side is the area where tourists will find hotels, spectacular cliff homes, and recreational amenities.

The city continued its development and was able to surpass San Francisco as California's second largest city. One of the things that kept the city alive was the Centre City Development Corporation which is a comprehensive group of developers, financial experts, and civic leaders. San Diego has also been declared as the most efficiently run big city in California and it won’t stand for anything less.

San Diego has overcome many challenges and has proven itself to be one of America’s favorite big cities. Come visit San Diego and experience for yourself all that this treasure has to offer.



Visit Our Tourist Attractions - Tourist Information Category

Visit Our Travel Agents Category

Visit Our Travel - Tours Category

Visit Our Accommodation Category

Visit Our Hotels - Motels - Resorts Category