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Revised 27 December 2010


California has been visited by several nations since the 1540s.  She was visited by Mexico, Spain, Russia and England up to 1792.  Spain controlled California until 1822, when Mexico came into possession.  Mexico held power until 1848.  In 1848, Mexico ceded California to the United States.  A gold strike at Sutter's Mill brought people to California from all parts of the world.  The Gold Rush increased the territorial population from 15,000 to 250,000 souls.

The foreign born residence of California come from all parts of the world.  There are recorded emigrants from Mexico, Canada, Italy, England & Wales, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland, Poland, Austria, France, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Lithuania and Belgium and many of the African nations as well.

World War II brought many new families to California to live as they went to the training camps in preparation of going to war.  Many others came to work in the ship yards and factories to build munitions and equipment for the soldiers. 


Name Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Alameda 1853 Contra Costa & Santa Clara Oakland
Alpine 1864 Eldorado, Amador, Calaveras,  Markleeville
Amador 1854 Calaveras  Jackson
Branciforte 18 Feb. 1850 Created by act of state Legislature but name changed to Santa Cruz April of the same year. Refer to Santa Cruz County
Butte 1850 Original County Oroville
Calaveras 1850 Original County San Andreas
Colomo (See El Dorado 1850 Original County.  Name changed to El Dorado one month later Refer to El Dorado
Colusa (See Colusi) 1850 Original County (Originally named Colusi) Colusa
Colusi (See Colusa) 1850 Original County -renamed Colusa. Refer to Colusa County
Contra Costa 1850 Original County - originally named Mt. Diablo Martinez
Del Norte 1857 Klamath Crescent City
El Dorado 1850 Original County (Originally named Colomo) Placerville & Rescue
Fremont (See Yola and Yolo) 18 Feb 1850 Created by act of state legislature.  Later renamed Yola and then Yolo. Refer to Yolo County
Fresno 1856 Merced, Mariposa Fresno
Glenn 1891 Colusa Willows
Humboldt 1853 Trinity Eureka
Imperial 1907 San Diego El Centro
Inyo 1866 Tulare Independence
Kern 1866 Tulare, Los Angeles Bakersfield
Kings 1893 Tulare, Fresno Hanford
Klamath (see note) 1850 Created from northern part of Trinity County.  Mostly mining land.  Leadership is said to have been corrupt.  County abolished in 1875.  Parts of the County went to Del Norte, Humboldt, Siskiyou and Trinity)  
Lake 1861 Napa Lakeport
Lassen 1864 Plumas, Shasta Susanville
Los Angeles 1850 Original County Los Angeles
Madera 1893 Fresno Madera
Marin 1850 Original County San Rafael
Mariposa 1850 Original county Mariposa
Mendocino 1850 Original County Ukiah
Merced 1855 Mariposa Merced
Modoc 1874 Siskiyou Alturas
Mono 1861 Calaveras, Fresno Bridgeport
Monterey 1850 Original County Salinas
Mt. Diablo (See Contra Costa) 1850 Name changed to Contra Costa.  
Napa 1850 Original County Napa
Nevada 1851 Yuba Nevada City
Orange 1889 Los Angeles Santa Ana
Oro (See Tuolumne) 1850 Original County.  Name changed to Tuolumne  
Patuah 1852 Created on paper in 1852 on land that was to have been ceded to California, but it never got passed the paper.  California never got the land so it was abolished in 1859.  Land later became Nevada.  Carsonville would have been the County seat. (See Nevada)
Placer 1851 Yuba, Sutter Auburn
Plumas 1854 Butte Quincy
Redding  (See Shasta)  1850 Renamed Shasta  
Riverside 1893 San Diego, San Bernardino Riverside
Sacramento 1850 Original County Sacramento
San Benito 1874 Monterey Hollister
San Bernardino 1853 Los Angeles Mentone & San Bernardino
San Diego 1850 Original County San Diego
San Francisco 1850 Original County San Francisco
San Joaquin 1850 Original County Stockton
San Jose (See Santa Clara) 1850 Name Changed to Santa Clara  
San Luis Obispo 1850 Original County San Luis Obispo & Templeton
San Mateo 1856 San Francisco Redwood City
Santa Barbara 1850 Original County Santa Barbara
Santa Clara (See San Jose) 1850 Original County San Jose
Santa Cruz 1850 Original County Santa Cruz
Shasta (See Redding) 1850 Original County Redding
Sierra 1852 Yuba Downieville
Siskiyou 1852 Shasta, Klamath Yreka
Solano 1850 Original County original County seat was Benecia.  It moved to Fairfield in 1858. Fairfield
Sonoma 1850 Original County Santa Rosa
Stanislaus 1854 Tuolumne Modesto
Sutter 1850 Original County Yuba City
Tehama 1856 Colusa, Butte, Shasta Red Bluff
Trinity 1850 Original County Weaverville
Tulare 1852 Mariposa Visalia
Tuolumne (See Oro) 1850 Original County Sonora
Ventura 1872 Santa Barbara Ventura (San Buenaventura)
Yolo 1850 Original County Woodland
Yuba 1850 Original County Marysville
For books on California History, visit the THE COUNTRY STORE.  Proceeds from sales of books through this link-over to Amazon.com will help to support this website.


California Genweb Project California History Website
California Missions virtual tour. Exploring the California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush California Heritage Collection
Native American Tribes in California Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum
Women of the West California Historical Society
California State Historical Landmarks by County. California Historical Societies.
California State Library. History & Historical Resources
California History Outline About CA - History - State of California
California History Online- European Exploration- Voyages of Discovery California History Collection