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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 Cruz County, California

Santa Cruz County History, Geography, and Demographics

County Seat: Santa Cruz
Year Organized: 1850
Square Miles: 446
Court House:

701 Ocean Street, Rm 500
County Courthouse
Santa Cruz, CA 95060-4003

Etymology - Origin of County Name

In the original act, the county was given the name of Branciforte after the Spanish pueblo founded there in 1797. Less than two months later, the name was changed to Santa Cruz. Established in 1791 and completed in 1794, the Santa Cruz Mission was destroyed by earthquake in 1857, but a smaller-scale replica was erected in 1931. Santa Cruz signifies "holy cross."

Demographics:

County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

Santa Cruz County is a county located on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California, just south of the San Francisco Bay Area. The county seat is Santa Cruz.

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

In the original act, the county was given the name of "Branciforte" after the Spanish pueblo founded there in 1797; a major watercourse in the county, Branciforte Creek, bears this name. Less than two months later, the name was changed to "Santa Cruz" ("Holy Cross"). Mission Santa Cruz, established in 1791 and completed in 1794, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1857, but a smaller-scale replica was erected in 1931.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 607 square miles (1,573 kmē), of which, 445 square miles (1,153 kmē) of it is land and 162 square miles (419 kmē) of it (26.67%) is water. Of California's counties, only San Francisco is physically smaller.

The county is a strip about ten miles wide between the coast and the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains at the northern end of the Monterey Bay. It can be divided roughly into four regions: the rugged "north coast"; the urban City of Santa Cruz, Soquel, Capitola, and Aptos; mountainous Bonny Doon, San Lorenzo River Valley; and fertile "south county", including Watsonville. Agriculture is concentrated in the coastal lowlands of the county's northern and southern ends. Most of the coastline is flanked by cliffs.

Neighboring Counties:

  • Northeast: Santa Clara County
  • Southeast: San Benito County; Monterey County
  • Southwest: North Pacific Ocean
  • Northwest: San Mateo County
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