History of San Diego
The city is considered to be the birthplace of California. In fact, it was the first site on the West Coast visited by Europeans, In 1542. The land was claimed for Spain. In late 18th century, the area of present-day San Diego had a military post (Fort Presidio of San Diego) and a mission (Mission San Diego de Alcala). When Mexico gained independence in 1821, San Diego became part of Alta California, one of the Mexican states. The fort was abandoned but the town itself continued to grow. After the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), Alta California was ceded to the United States. California joined the Union in 1850 and that same year San Diego was incorporated as a city and county seat of San Diego County.
San Diego hosted two world’s fairs in the early 20th century - the Panama-California Exposition and the California Pacific International Exposition. By the 1930, San Diego was home to five large naval installments and it also established itself as an early center of aviation. Naturally, the city was a major military and defense center during the World War II but after the war, especially during the Cold War era, it was clear that its economy needed to be diversified, focusing on science and research and, of course, tourism. San Diego used to be the nation’s center for tuna fishing and tuna canning industry, however the last cannery closed in 1980.
San Diego Geography and Climate
The city is located in Southern California, in close proximity to the Mexican border. It lies in the San Diego Bay, on more than 200 canyons and hills that separate the mesas. Because of this, the city is somewhat segmented and rather hilly. The San Diego Valley runs through the city, dividing it into northern and southern portions. The highest point in San Diego is Cowles Mountain (1,593 ft.).
San Diego has 52 officially recognized areas and more than 100 neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are basically separated by natural geographic boundaries, such as canyons, as well as street patterns.
The climate in San Diego, as mentioned above, is very pleasant, mild and stable. In fact, the city has one of the two best climates in USA according to The Weather Channel and one of the top ten climates according to the Farmer’s Almanac. The climate can be classified as a combination of the Mediterranean and semi-arid climate. Summers are warm and dry, rarely very hot, and winters are mild to cool, also generally dry. Snowfall is very rare and always light.
According to the U.S. Census, in 2010 San Diego had a population of 1,307,402. The racial makeup was 58.9% White, 15.9% Asian (Filipino, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Laotian, Cambodian and Thai), 6.7% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.5% Pacific Islander, 12.3% some other race and 5.1% biracial, while 28.8% are Hispanic or Latino of any race (24.9% Mexican and 0.6% Puerto Rican.
In 2005, Money magazine rated San Diego the fifth-best place to live in the USA. In 2010, the city was rated by Forbes as the ninth-safest city in the USA.
As for the economy, the largest sectors in San Diego are military and defense, international trade, tourism, research and manufacturing.
San Diego has a large natural deep-water port, which has influenced heavily its economy. The port has the only major submarine yard on the West Coast. The city hosts the largest naval fleet in the world and several large defense contractors (General Atomics, Cubic and NASSCO). It is home to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. The institutions of the U.S. Navy in the city include Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Point Loma, Naval Medical Center San Diego, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. There are also several naval institutions located outside the city limits. The city is considered to be the birthplace of naval aviation.
The second largest economic sector is tourism, which relies on the city’s climate, beaches and other attractions, such as San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, Balboa Park, a number of historic sites such as Old Town San Diego National Historic Park and Mission San Diego de Alcala.
The city hosts several major producers of wireless cellular technology, such as Qualcomm, Nokia, LG Electronics, Kyocera International and Novatel Wireless. San Diego is also home to Websense Inc., U.S. headquarters of ESET, as well as research centers and branches of major biotech and pharmaceutical companies such as Neurocrine Biosciences, BD Biosciences, Biogen Idec, Pfizer, Merck, Celgene and others.
Events in San Diego
Major annual events, such as Comic-Con, Farmer’s Insurance Open golf tournament, Street Scene Music Festival, San Diego Pride and San Diego Black Film Festival also attract thousands of visitors each year.
San Diego also has a strong craft brewing scene that attracts craft beer enthusiasts from all over the nation.
Public institutions of higher education in the city include San Diego State University, University of California San Diego and the San Diego Community College District, while private ones include University of San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University, Alliant National University, California International Business University, NewSchool of Architecture and Design, Coleman University and others.
The city is home to the San Diego Chargers (NFL) and San Diego Padres (MLB). The city is unfortunately famous for the so-called “San Diego curse”, which refers to the fact that neither of the major league sports franchises has won their respective championships and also to untimely deaths of several players on San Diego teams.