11 Cool Things You Didn't Know About Bay Area History

Kensington is a vibrant small community located in a BIG and thriving area: the San Francisco Bay region.

And it’s a pretty amazing region, too, with a rich, interesting history. Here are 11 things you may not know about the history of the San Francisco Bay area:

  • There is no official designation as to what constitutes the San Francisco Bay area. The exact boundaries will differ depending on the source.

  • The area has been inhabited by humans since at least 3000 BC, and some evidence points to even older settlements in the region.

  • The first European to claim land in the area was Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, a Spanish explorer who landed here in 1575. Sir Francis Drake landed in the area a few short years later. But interestingly, neither actually discovered the San Francisco Bay. That would take another two centuries!

  • The bay was discovered by Europeans by Gaspar de Portolà in 1769. Further expeditions followed, and then came settlements.

  • In 1821, the Bay Area became a province of Mexico, populated by ranchers and trappers.

  • Just 25 years later, the area was declared part of the independent Republic of California. The Mexican-American War started immediately after, and California would become part of the United States.

  • For a time, the capital of California bounced around between three Bay Area cities: San Jose, Vallejo, and Benicia. It wasn’t until 1854 that the state settled on Sacramento.

  • The great earthquake of 1906 was a disaster that killed thousands according to modern estimates, and destroyed over 28,000 buildings. There is no telling what the devastation would have been like in modern times.

  • During the 1929 market crash that helped plunge the nation into the Great Depression, banks all across the nation failed except in San Francisco, where not a single bank failed. Not even one!

  • Following World War II, the United Nations was chartered to prevent such a conflict from ever happening again – and it was chartered in San Francisco.

  • World War II also ended in San Francisco – sort of. When Japan finally officially surrendered to the Allied Forces, the ceremony took place in the city.

Interesting stuff, right? And that’s only scratching the surface when it comes to getting to know one of the country’s most lively, interesting regions. No wonder we love living and working here!