The history of San Jose can be traced back to 1777 when the area known as “El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe” was first explored by Juan Bautista DeAnza. The city’s current name, one of the oldest in California, is derived from a legend about a Catholic saint, Joseph of Cupertino and has nothing to do with the Mexican general Santa Anna.
The small town received its first official recognition as an American city in 1847 after it became state property. By this time, many gold mines had sprung up within viewing distance of San Jose which sparked a great deal of interest that resulted in California becoming America’s 31st state. It wasn’t until 1854 that John Montgomery opened the San Jose Mercury, California’s first newspaper. This was also the year that the town added “city” to its name and replaced its original Spanish St. James with a more English-sounding St. Joseph as its patron saint.
San Jose became an official stop on the transcontinental railroad line in 1864 which resulted in a great deal of economic growth within this small valley community. While there were several changes to city government over the next two decades, it wasn’t until 1889 that everything came together for one final push towards urbanization where new houses started appearing everywhere throughout downtown San Jose. The influence of high-tech companies such as LSI Logic, Sun Microsystems and Cisco Systems during the 80’s and 90’s made San Jose an epicenter for information technology.
The 20th century brought drastic change for San Jose when many large corporations moved their headquarters into this once quiet farming community including Lockheed Martin (1971) IBM (1936) and Apple (1976). This ushered in an era of unprecedented growth and prosperity which increased the city’s population tenfold.
By the 1980s, San Jose had grown into a regional center for high tech computer firms, a business that is still driving this California city’s economy today. The focus on science has resulted in several organizations calling San Jose home including NASA’S Ames Research Center and the Santa Clara Convention Center. In addition to being one of the most populous cities in Northern California, San Jose now holds claim to having one of the largest concentrations of technology companies worldwide which includes networking giant Cisco Systems as well as top equipment manufacturer Brocade Communications Systems
The arts have also made their way to downtown San Jose with the construction of San Jose Museum of Art and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library both receiving international acclaim in their own right.
Additionally, in 2010, San Jose was rated the safest large city in California and one of the top 25 safest cities in America.
Today, San Jose is home to more than 1 million people and is California’s third largest city. It also houses the world headquarters for Adobe Systems, eBay, PayPal, Brocade Communications Systems and has been nicknamed “Capital of Silicon Valley.” However, despite its billing as a city that will “play in the big leagues,” critics have called into question whether this area has what it takes to be a real financial rival to New York City or Tokyo.