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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.
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Santa Barbara County, California

Santa Barbara County Education, Geography, and HistorySanta Barbara County, Califronia Courthouse

Santa Barbara County, California, officially the County of Santa Barbara, is a county located in the southern portion of the state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 423,895. The county seat is Santa Barbara, and the largest city is Santa Maria.

Santa Barbara County comprises the Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Santa Barbara County Name

The Santa Barbara Channel received its name from Sebastian Vizcaino when he sailed over the channel waters in 1602. In 1782, Padre Junipero Serra dedicated a site near the channel for a presidio and on Dec. 4, 1786, he founded the nearby Mission Santa Barbara (Saint Barbara). The county derives its name from the mission.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

Santa Barbara County is a county located on the Pacific coast of the southern portion of the U.S. state of California, just west of Ventura County. The county seat is Santa Barbara, and the largest city is Santa Maria.

In 1848 Mexico signed a treaty ceding California to the United States. The territory became a state in 1850 when the population exploded to nearly 100,000 with the discovery of gold. While California was still a territory, county boundaries were formed. The present county of Ventura was originally included within Santa Barbara County until 1873 when the Legislature separated the area into the present Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

Santa Barbara County


According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,789 square miles (9,814 km2), of which, 2,737 square miles (7,089 km2) of it is land and 1,052 square miles (2,725 km2) of it (27.77%) is water.

Neighboring Counties:

  • Northeast: Kern County
  • East: Ventura County
  • Southwest: North Pacific Ocean
  • Northwest: San Luis Obispo County


There are 20 independent school districts in Santa Barbara County, and the Santa Barbara County Education Office serves as an intermediate agency between those districts and the California Department of Education. During the 2013 school year, 67,701 students were enrolled in Santa Barbara County schools, kindergarten through grade 12.

There are also a number of private schools in the county. The Los Angeles Archdiocese operates two Catholic high schools and several elementary schools.

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Names given the counties, our most locally based jurisdictions, reflects the "characteristic features of this country!"
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