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California Counties
The U.S. state of California is divided into fifty-eight counties. On January 4, 1850, the California constitutional committee recommended the formation of 18 counties. They were Benicia, Butte, Fremont, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, Mount Diablo, Oro, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and Sutter. On April 22, the Counties of Branciforte, Calaveras, Coloma, Colusi, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Trinity, and Yuba were added. Benicia was renamed Solano, Coloma to El Dorado, Fremont to Yola, Mt. Diablo to Contra Costa, San Jose to Santa Clara, Oro to Tuolumne, and Redding to Shasta. One of the first state legislative acts regarding Counties was to rename Branciforte County to Santa Cruz, Colusi to Colusa, and Yola to Yolo.

The last California county to have been established is Imperial County in 1907.

Sacramento County, California

Sacramento County History, Geography, and Demographics

County Seat: Sacramento
Year Organized: 1850
Square Miles: 966
Court House:

700 H Street
County Courthouse
Sacramento, CA 95814-1216

Etymology - Origin of County Name

The county was named by Captain Moraga after the Sacramento River. The word Sacramento signifies "Sacrament" or "Lord's Supper."


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

Sacramento County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood.

The county was named after the Sacramento River, which forms its western border. The river was named by Spanish cavalry officer Gabriel Moraga for the Santisimo Sacramento (Most Holy Sacrament), referring to the Eucharist.

Native Americans, including the Miwok and Maidu tribes, were the first residents of Sacramento County. The first European to explore the Sacramento area was Gabriel Moraga, an officer in the Spanish Army. He is credited with naming the river and valley Sacramento, from the Spanish phrase Santisimo Sacramento meaning Most Holy Sacrament.

John Sutter, born in Switzerland in 1803, came to California in 1839 and settled in the Sacramento Valley. Sacramento was part of Mexico at the time, and, after becoming a Mexican citizen, Sutter was given a land grant by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado in the valley. At the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, Sutter built Fort Sutter.

As a result of the Mexican War of 1846-1848, California was ceded to the United States. In 1849, gold was discovered at Sutter's mill in what is now El Dorado County, and the Sacramento Valley was flooded with people coming to find gold. In 1850, California became a state, and Sacramento County was established as one of its original counties. The city of Sacramento was named the state capital in 1854.

One of the largest counties in the state at 1026 square miles. In 1884, the county was noted for Agriculture, and mining with a population of about 40,000.

The 1900 Sacramento Directory states the county is comprised of 640,000 acres. The city of Sacramento is fourth in population in the state, second in commercial importance. There are four rivers in the county, The Sacramento, American, Comsumnes, and Mokelumne.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 995 square miles (2,578 kmē), of which, 966 square miles (2,501 kmē) of it is land and 30 square miles (77 kmē) of it (3.00%) is water. Most of the county is at an elevation close to sea level, with some areas below sea level. Hills along the eastern boundary rise to several hundred feet. Major watercourses in the county include the American River, Sacramento River and Dry Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River.

Neighboring Counties:

  • Northeast: Placer County; El Dorado County
  • East: Amador County
  • South: San Joaquin County
  • Southwest: Contra Costa County; Solano County
  • Northwest: Yolo County; Sutter County

Cities and Towns:

- Citrus Heights city Incorporated Area
- Elk Grove city Incorporated Area
- Folsom city Incorporated Area
- Galt city Incorporated Area
- Isleton city Incorporated Area
- Rancho Cordova city Incorporated Area
- Sacramento (County Seat) city Incorporated Area

County Resources:

County Resources
Counties: US Map
The history of our nation was a prolonged struggle to define the relative roles and powers of our governments: federal, state, and local. And the names given the counties, our most locally based jurisdictions, reflects the "characteristic features of this country!"