California Counties
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California Counties

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

Imperial County, California

Imperial County Education, Geography, and HistoryImperial County, Califronia Courthouse

Imperial County is a county located in the state of California. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 174,528. The county seat is El Centro.  Imperial county was established in 1907. The county is named for the Imperial Valley. The valley was named for the Imperial Land Company, a subsidiary of the California Development Company.

Imperial County comprises the El Centro, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is also part of the Southern California border region, the smallest but most economically diverse region in the state. It is located in the Imperial Valley, in the far southeast of California, bordering both Arizona and Mexico.

Etymology - Origin of Imperial County Name

Imperial county got its name from the Imperial Valley and is the "youngest" of California's counties. The valley is named for the Imperial Land Company, a subsidiary of the California Development Company, which at the turn of the century had reclaimed the southern portion of the Colorado desert for agriculture.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Imperial County History

Imperial County, originally part of San Diego County, was founded August 7, 1907. The area was visited as early as 1540 by Hernando de Alarcon, discoverer of the Colorado River. It was further explored by Spanish explorers and Catholic friars. Settlements existed along the Butterfield Stage Route as early as 1858, but no real development took place until water was brought into the area in 1901.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,482 square miles (11,608 km2), of which, 4,175 square miles (10,812 km2) of it is land and 307 square miles (795 km2) of it (6.85%) is water.

The Colorado River forms the county's eastern boundary. Two notable geographic features are found in the county, the Salton Sea, at 235 feet (72 m) below sea level, and the Algodones Dunes, one of the largest dune fields in America.

The Chocolate Mountains are located east of the Salton Sea, and extend in a northwest-southeast direction for approximately 60 miles (97 km).

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Riverside County
  • Northeast: La Paz County, Ariz.
  • East: Yuma County, Ariz.
  • South: Baja California
  • West: San Diego County


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