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Santa Cruz County, California, officially the County of Santa Cruz, is a county located on the Pacific coast of the state of
California. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 262,382. The
county seat is Santa Cruz. The
county was created February 18, 1850. 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, named after the Santa Cruz Mission
Santa Cruz County comprises the Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.
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."
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
Santa Cruz County is a county located on the Pacific coast of the 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
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.
As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 607 square miles (1,573 km2), of
which, 445 square miles (1,153 km2) of it is land and 162 square miles (419 km2) of it (26.67%) is
water. Of California's counties, only San Francisco is physically smaller.
The county is a band of land about ten miles wide between the coast and the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains at the northern end of the Monterey Bay. Santa Cruz county 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 bordered by cliffs.
Bordering counties are as follows:
University of California, Santa Cruz (public) in Santa Cruz, California
Bethany University (private, now defunct) in Scotts Valley, California
Cabrillo College (public) in Aptos, California