San Francisco

San Francisco
City and County of San Francisco
San Francisco from the Marin Headlands
San Francisco from the Marin Headlands
Oro en Paz, Fierro en Guerra (Spanish)
(English: "Gold in Peace, Iron in War")
San Francisco is located in San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco
San Francisco
Location within the San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco is located in California
San Francisco
San Francisco
Location within California
San Francisco is located in the United States
San Francisco
San Francisco
Location within the United States
San Francisco is located in North America
San Francisco
San Francisco
Location within North America
Coordinates: 37°47′N 122°25′W / 37°47′N 122°25′W / 37.783; -122.417California
CSASan Jose–San Francisco–Oakland
MetroSan Francisco–Oakland–Hayward
MissionJune 29, 1776[2]
IncorporatedApril 15, 1850[3]
Founded byJosé Joaquín Moraga
Francisco Palóu
Named forSt. Francis of Assisi
 • TypeMayor-council
 • BodyBoard of Supervisors
 • MayorLondon Breed (D)[4]
 • Supervisors[6]
 • Assembly members[7][8]David Chiu (D)
Phil Ting (D)
 • State senatorScott Wiener (D)[5]
 • United States Representatives[9][10]Nancy Pelosi (D)
Jackie Speier (D)
 • City and county231.89 sq mi (600.59 km2)
 • Land46.89 sq mi (121.46 km2)
 • Water185.00 sq mi (479.14 km2)  80.00%
 • Metro
3,524.4 sq mi (9,128 km2)
Elevation52 ft (16 m)
Highest elevation934 ft (285 m)
Lowest elevation0 ft (0 m)
 • City and county883,305
 • Rank4th in California
13th in United States
 • Density18,838/sq mi (7,272/km2)
 • Metro
4,729,484 (12th)
 • CSA
9,666,055 (5th)
Demonym(s)San Franciscan
San Francisqueño/a
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
ZIP Codes[15]
Area codes415/628[16]
FIPS code06-67000
GDP$154.2 billion[17] (2015)

San Francisco (n-/, Spanish: [sam fɾanˈsisko]; Spanish for "Saint Francis"), officially City and County of San Francisco and colloquially known as SF, San Fran, or "The City",[19][20] is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th most populous city in the United States, and the fourth most populous in California, with 883,305 residents as of 2018.[14] It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2),[21] mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second most densely populated large U.S. city, and the fifth most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is the 12th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States, with 4,729,484 people in 2018. With San Jose, it forms the fifth most populous combined statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area (9.67 million residents in 2018).

As of 2017, it was the seventh-highest income county in the United States, with a per capita personal income of $119,868.[22] As of 2015, San Francisco proper had a GDP of $154.2 billion, and a GDP per capita of $178,479.[23][24] The CSA San Francisco shares with San Jose and Oakland was the country's third-largest urban economy as of 2017, with a GDP of $907 billion.[25] Of the 500+ primary statistical areas in the U.S., this CSA had among the highest GDP per capita in 2017, at $93,938.[25] San Francisco was ranked 16th in the world and third in the United States on the Global Financial Centres Index as of March 2019.[26]

San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís a few miles away, all named for St. Francis of Assisi.[2] The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856.[27] San Francisco's status as the West Coast's largest city peaked between 1870 and 1900, when around 25% of California's population resided in the city proper.[28] After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire,[29] San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, San Francisco was a major port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater.[30] It then became the birthplace of the United Nations in 1945.[31][32][33] After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, significant immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the "hippie" counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. Politically, the city votes strongly along liberal Democratic Party lines.

A popular tourist destination,[34] San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman's Wharf, and its Chinatown district. San Francisco is also the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., Fitbit,, Dropbox, Reddit, Square, Inc., Dolby, Airbnb, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation, Craigslist, and Weather Underground. The city, and the surrounding Bay Area, is a global center of the sciences and arts[35][36] and is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions, such as the University of San Francisco (USF), University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco State University (SFSU), the De Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the SFJAZZ Center, and the California Academy of Sciences.

As of 2019, San Francisco is the highest rated American city on world liveability rankings.[37]


Historical affiliations
Spanish Empire 1776–1821
First Mexican Empire 1821–1823
Mexico United Mexican States 1823–1848
 United States 1848–present
Yelamu villages in San Francisco

The earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC.[38] The Yelamu group of the Ohlone people resided in a few small villages when an overland Spanish exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portolá, arrived on November 2, 1769, the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay.[39] Seven years later, on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores), established by the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza.[2]

View of San Francisco 1846–47

Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico. Under Mexican rule, the mission system gradually ended, and its lands became privatized. In 1835, Englishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead,[40] near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, and the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican–American War, and Captain John B. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30 of the next year, and Mexico officially ceded the territory to the United States at the end of the war. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography.[41]

Francis Samuel Marryat, Hilltop of San Francisco, California, Looking toward the Bay, 1849. M.& N. Hanhart Chromolithograph

The California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers (known as "forty-niners", as in "1849"). With their sourdough bread in tow,[42] prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia,[43] raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849.[44] The promise of great wealth was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor.[45] Some of these approximately 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships, saloons and hotels; many were left to rot and some were sunk to establish title to the underwater lot. By 1851 the harbor was extended out into the bay by wharves while buildings were erected on piles among the ships. By 1870 Yerba Buena Cove had been filled to create new land. Buried ships are occasionally exposed when foundations are dug for new buildings.[46]

California was quickly granted statehood in 1850, and the U.S. military built Fort Point at the Golden Gate and a fort on Alcatraz Island to secure the San Francisco Bay. Silver discoveries, including the Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1859, further drove rapid population growth.[47] With hordes of fortune seekers streaming through the city, lawlessness was common, and the Barbary Coast section of town gained notoriety as a haven for criminals, prostitution, and gambling.[48]

Entrepreneurs sought to capitalize on the wealth generated by the Gold Rush. Early winners were the banking industry, with the founding of Wells Fargo in 1852 and the Bank of California in 1864. Development of the Port of San Francisco and the establishment in 1869 of overland access to the eastern U.S. rail system via the newly completed Pacific Railroad (the construction of which the city only reluctantly helped support[49]) helped make the Bay Area a center for trade. Catering to the needs and tastes of the growing population, Levi Strauss opened a dry goods business and Domingo Ghirardelli began manufacturing chocolate. Immigrant laborers made the city a polyglot culture, with Chinese Railroad Workers, drawn to "Old Gold Mountain", creating the city's Chinatown quarter. In 1870, Asians made up 8% of the population.[50] The first cable cars carried San Franciscans up Clay Street in 1873. The city's sea of Victorian houses began to take shape, and civic leaders campaigned for a spacious public park, resulting in plans for Golden Gate Park. San Franciscans built schools, churches, theaters, and all the hallmarks of civic life. The Presidio developed into the most important American military installation on the Pacific coast.[51] By 1890, San Francisco's population approached 300,000, making it the eighth-largest city in the United States at the time. Around 1901, San Francisco was a major city known for its flamboyant style, stately hotels, ostentatious mansions on Nob Hill, and a thriving arts scene.[52] The first North American plague epidemic was the San Francisco plague of 1900–1904.[53]

At 5:12 am on April 18, 1906, a major earthquake struck San Francisco and northern California. As buildings collapsed from the shaking, ruptured gas lines ignited fires that spread across the city and burned out of control for several days. With water mains out of service, the Presidio Artillery Corps attempted to contain the inferno by dynamiting blocks of buildings to create firebreaks.[54] More than three-quarters of the city lay in ruins, including almost all of the downtown core.[29] Contemporary accounts reported that 498 people lost their lives, though modern estimates put the number in the several thousands.[55] More than half of the city's population of 400,000 was left homeless.[56] Refugees settled temporarily in makeshift tent villages in Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, on the beaches, and elsewhere. Many fled permanently to the East Bay.

"Not in history has a modern imperial city been so completely destroyed. San Francisco is gone." –Jack London after the 1906 earthquake and fire[57]

Rebuilding was rapid and performed on a grand scale. Rejecting calls to completely remake the street grid, San Franciscans opted for speed.[58] Amadeo Giannini's Bank of Italy, later to become Bank of America, provided loans for many of those whose livelihoods had been devastated. The influential San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association or SPUR was founded in 1910 to address the quality of housing after the earthquake.[59] The earthquake hastened development of western neighborhoods that survived the fire, including Pacific Heights, where many of the city's wealthy rebuilt their homes.[60] In turn, the destroyed mansions of Nob Hill became grand hotels. City Hall rose again in splendid Beaux Arts style, and the city celebrated its rebirth at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915.[61]

It was during this period San Francisco built some of its most important infrastructure. Civil Engineer Michael O'Shaughnessy was hired by San Francisco Mayor James Rolph as chief engineer for the city in September 1912 to supervise the construction of the Twin Peaks Reservoir, the Stockton Street Tunnel, the Twin Peaks Tunnel, the San Francisco Municipal Railway, the Auxiliary Water Supply System, and new sewers. San Francisco's streetcar system, of which the J, K, L, M, and N lines survive today, was pushed to completion by O'Shaughnessy between 1915 and 1927. It was the O'Shaughnessy Dam, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, and Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct that would have the largest effect on San Francisco.[62] An abundant water supply enabled San Francisco to develop into the city it has become today.

The Bay Bridge, under construction in 1935, took forty months to complete.

In ensuing years, the city solidified its standing as a financial capital; in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash, not a single San Francisco-based bank failed.[63] Indeed, it was at the height of the Great Depression that San Francisco undertook two great civil engineering projects, simultaneously constructing the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, completing them in 1936 and 1937, respectively. It was in this period that the island of Alcatraz, a former military stockade, began its service as a federal maximum security prison, housing notorious inmates such as Al Capone, and Robert Franklin Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz. San Francisco later celebrated its regained grandeur with a World's fair, the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939–40, creating Treasure Island in the middle of the bay to house it.

The USS San Francisco steams under the Golden Gate Bridge in 1942, during World War II.

During World War II, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard became a hub of activity, and Fort Mason became the primary port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater of Operations.[30] The explosion of jobs drew many people, especially African Americans from the South, to the area. After the end of the war, many military personnel returning from service abroad and civilians who had originally come to work decided to stay. The United Nations Charter creating the United Nations was drafted and signed in San Francisco in 1945 and, in 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco officially ended the war with Japan.

Urban planning projects in the 1950s and 1960s involved widespread destruction and redevelopment of west-side neighborhoods and the construction of new freeways, of which only a series of short segments were built before being halted by citizen-led opposition.[64] The onset of containerization made San Francisco's small piers obsolete, and cargo activity moved to the larger Port of Oakland.[65] The city began to lose industrial jobs and turned to tourism as the most important segment of its economy.[66] The suburbs experienced rapid growth, and San Francisco underwent significant demographic change, as large segments of the white population left the city, supplanted by an increasing wave of immigration from Asia and Latin America.[67][68] From 1950 to 1980, the city lost over 10 percent of its population.

Over this period, San Francisco became a magnet for America's counterculture. Beat Generation writers fueled the San Francisco Renaissance and centered on the North Beach neighborhood in the 1950s.[69] Hippies flocked to Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, reaching a peak with the 1967 Summer of Love.[70] In 1974, the Zebra murders left at least 16 people dead.[71] In the 1970s, the city became a center of the gay rights movement, with the emergence of The Castro as an urban gay village, the election of Harvey Milk to the Board of Supervisors, and his assassination, along with that of Mayor George Moscone, in 1978.[72]

Bank of America completed 555 California Street in 1969 and the Transamerica Pyramid was completed in 1972,[73] igniting a wave of "Manhattanization" that lasted until the late 1980s, a period of extensive high-rise development downtown.[74] The 1980s also saw a dramatic increase in the number of homeless people in the city, an issue that remains today, despite many attempts to address it.[75] The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused destruction and loss of life throughout the Bay Area. In San Francisco, the quake severely damaged structures in the Marina and South of Market districts and precipitated the demolition of the damaged Embarcadero Freeway and much of the damaged Central Freeway, allowing the city to reclaim The Embarcadero as its historic downtown waterfront and revitalizing the Hayes Valley neighborhood.

Two recent decades have seen two booms driven by the internet industry. First was the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, startup companies invigorated the San Francisco economy. Large numbers of entrepreneurs and computer application developers moved into the city, followed by marketing, design, and sales professionals, changing the social landscape as once-poorer neighborhoods became increasingly gentrified.[76] Demand for new housing and office space ignited a second wave of high-rise development, this time in the South of Market district.[77] By 2000, the city's population reached new highs, surpassing the previous record set in 1950. When the bubble burst in 2001, many of these companies folded and their employees were laid off. Yet high technology and entrepreneurship remain mainstays of the San Francisco economy. By the mid-2000s (decade), the social media boom had begun, with San Francisco becoming a popular location for tech offices and a common place to live for people employed in Silicon Valley companies such as Apple and Google.[78]

The Ferry Station Post Office Building, Armour & Co. Building, Atherton House, and YMCA Hotel are historic buildings among dozens of historical landmarks in the city according to the National Register of Historic Places listings in San Francisco.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: San Francisco
Alemannisch: San Francisco
azərbaycanca: San-Fransisko
bamanankan: San Francisco
Bân-lâm-gú: San Francisco
башҡортса: Сан-Франциско
беларуская: Сан-Францыска
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Сан-Францыска
български: Сан Франциско
Boarisch: San Francisco
bosanski: San Francisco
català: San Francisco
čeština: San Francisco
Chavacano de Zamboanga: San Francisco
Cymraeg: San Francisco
Deitsch: San Francisco
Deutsch: San Francisco
Diné bizaad: Naʼníʼá Hóneezí
Ελληνικά: Σαν Φρανσίσκο
emiliàn e rumagnòl: San Francisco
Esperanto: San-Francisko
estremeñu: San Franciscu
føroyskt: San Francisco
français: San Francisco
Gaeilge: San Francisco
Gàidhlig: San Francisco
ГӀалгӀай: Сан-Франциско
贛語: 舊金山
Gĩkũyũ: San Francisco
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: San Francisco
Hawaiʻi: Kapalakiko
Արեւմտահայերէն: Սան Ֆրանսիսքօ
Ilokano: San Francisco
Bahasa Indonesia: San Francisco
interlingua: San Francisco
Interlingue: San Francisco
íslenska: San Francisco
italiano: San Francisco
Kabɩyɛ: Sanfransiskoo
къарачай-малкъар: Сан-Франциско
kernowek: San Francisco
Kiswahili: San Francisco
Kreyòl ayisyen: San Francisco, Kalifòni
кырык мары: Сан-Франциско
لۊری شومالی: سان‌ فرانسیسکو
latviešu: Sanfrancisko
Lëtzebuergesch: San Francisco
lietuvių: San Fransiskas
Limburgs: San Francisco
lingála: San Francisco
lumbaart: San Francisco
македонски: Сан Франциско
Malagasy: San Francisco
მარგალური: სან-ფრანცისკო
Bahasa Melayu: San Francisco
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Gô-gĭng-săng
Dorerin Naoero: San Francisco
Na Vosa Vakaviti: San Francisco
Nederlands: San Francisco
norsk nynorsk: San Francisco
occitan: San Francisco
олык марий: Сан-Франциско
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: San Fransisko
Plattdüütsch: San Francisco
reo tahiti: San Francisco
română: San Francisco
romani čhib: San Francisco
саха тыла: Сан Франсиско
Seeltersk: San Francisco
sicilianu: San Franciscu
Simple English: San Francisco
slovenčina: San Francisco
slovenščina: San Francisco
ślůnski: San Francisco
Soomaaliga: San Fransisko
српски / srpski: Сан Франциско
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: San Francisco
svenska: San Francisco
Taqbaylit: San Francisco
татарча/tatarça: Сан-Франциско
Tsetsêhestâhese: San Francisco
Türkçe: San Francisco
українська: Сан-Франциско
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: San Fransisko
vèneto: San Francisco
vepsän kel’: San Francisko
Tiếng Việt: San Francisco
Volapük: San Francisco
文言: 舊金山
Winaray: San Francisco
吴语: 舊金山
Yorùbá: San Francisco
粵語: 三藩市
中文: 旧金山