San Jose (meaning St. Joseph in Spanish) or San José is the third-largest city in California, and the tenth-largest in the United States. It is the county seat of Santa Clara County. San Jose is located in Silicon Valley, at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area. Once a small farming city, San Jose became a magnet for suburban newcomers in new housing developments between the 1960s and the 1990s, and is now the largest city in Northern California. The official United States Census Bureau population estimate for July 1, 2006 is 929,936.[4] The California Department of Finance estimates, San Jose's population on January 1, 2007 was 973,672. Originally known as El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777 as the first town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California, which later became Alta California. The city served as a farming community to support Spanish military installations at San Francisco and Monterey. When California gained statehood in 1850, San Jose served as its first capital.

After more than 150 years as an agricultural center, increased demand for housing from soldiers and other veterans returning from World War II, as well as aggressive expansion during the 1950s and 1960s, led San Jose to become a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. Growth in the 1970s attracted more businesses to the city. In the late 1980s, after four decades of heavy development and population growth, San Jose surpassed San Francisco in population to become the third most populous city in California. By the 1990s, San Jose's location within the booming local technology industry earned the city the nickname Capital of Silicon Valley. San Jose lies near the San Andreas Fault; a major source of earthquake activity in California. The most serious earthquake, in 1906, damaged many buildings in San Jose. San Jose, like most of the Bay Area, has a Mediterranean climate. Unlike San Francisco, which is exposed to the ocean or Bay on three sides and whose temperature therefore varies relatively little year-round and overnight, San Jose lies further inland, protected on three sides by mountains.

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