At the turn of the 19th century, Sacramento was settled by predominantly the Miwok, Maidu, and Shonommey Indian tribes. In the early 1800s, Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga arrived on the lush banks of the city's major river and proclaimed the area "Sacramento", the Spanish word for Holy Sacrament. However, the most pivotal event in Sacramento's history began in nearby Coloma, when pioneer John Sutter and his business partner, James Marshall, discovered gold on their property in 1848. This event forever changed the face of Sacramento and transformed it from a tranquil wilderness outpost into the center stage for prospector dreams and ambitions. As a result of the Gold Rush, Sacramento enjoyed a period of great economic prosperity as the commercial epicenter of the west coast. This economic boom was partly triggered by the building of the western hub of the first continental railroad in Sacramento and the city's close proximity to major rivers. In 1849, Sacramento became California's first charter city.
Sacramento became the state's capital city in 1854, four years after California was admitted into the Union. Since then it has served continuously as the center of government for what is now the world's fifth-largest economy. The State Capitol, made of granite and patterned after the national Capitol in Washington, D.C., was completed in 1874. Today, Sacramento is the workplace of Governor Jerry Brown as well as the state's 80 Assembly Members and 40 Senators. In addition, many of the state's agencies and departments are headquartered in Sacramento, making the state government the largest employer in the region. The local government incorporates both a city and county government comprised of locally-elected officials.
Things to See and Do
In addition to being enjoyed by local residents, the city of Sacramento has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. The stately California Capitol, historic Old Sacramento, the Crocker Art Museum, and the California State Railroad Museum are all enjoyable attractions. Sacramento also hosts numerous entertainment events each year, including the Memorial Day weekend Dixieland Jazz Jubilee and the California State Fair in August. Every month the city showcases its rich diversity with celebrations of the area's wide-ranging cultural heritage, such as the Highland Scottish Games and the Pacific Rim Street Festival. Sacramento is also the premier historic destination in California. The Golden State Museum, the California State Archives, the Victorian-style former Governor's Mansion, McClellan Aviation Museum, and the well-known Sutter's Fort are just a sampling of the exciting learning destinations in the area. Sacramento's professional basketball team, the Sacramento Kings, call the River City home. The Kings enjoy tremendous community support as they consistently play to sold-out crowds at the Arco Arena. During the summer, Sacramento residents pack the beautiful Raley Field to watch the River Cats, the city's Triple-A baseball affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Beyond these main attractions, Sacramentans often turn to the city's many renowned museums, theater, opera, and ballet productions. However, perhaps one of Sacramento's greatest adventures is the 32-mile long, 7,000-acre American River Parkway. It is the first, and one of the few, riverside habitat preservations within a major urban center. The parkway was designated a natural preserve in 1960, and includes 20 recreation areas offering numerous opportunities for fishing, rafting, kayaking, hiking, and nature study.