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The San Francisco Bay Area (referred to locally as the Bay Area) is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland, along with smaller urban and rural areas. The Bay Area's nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Home to approximately 7.68 million people, the nine-county Bay Area contains many cities, towns, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels, and commuter rail. The combined statistical area of the region is the second-largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth-largest in the United States, and the 43rd-largest urban area in the world with 8.80 million people.

The Bay Area has the second-most Fortune 500 companies in the United States, after the New York metropolitan area, and is known for its natural beauty, liberal politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity. The area ranks second in highest density of college graduates, after the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and performs above the state median household income in the 2010 census; it includes the five highest California counties by per capita income and two of the top 25 wealthiest counties in the United States. Based on a 2013 population report from the California Department of Finance, the Bay Area is the only region in California where the rate of people migrating in from other areas in the United States is greater than the rate of those leaving the region, led by Alameda and Contra Costa counties. (more...)

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The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 struck San Francisco and the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. Devastating fires broke out in the city that lasted for several days. As a result of the quake and fires, about 3,000 people died and over 80% of San Francisco was destroyed.

The earthquake and resulting fire are remembered as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States alongside the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The death toll from the earthquake and resulting fire is the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California's history. (more...)

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Gavin Newsom

Gavin Christopher Newsom (born October 10, 1967) is an American politician. He is the 49th and current Lieutenant Governor of California, after being elected in 2010. In 2003, he was elected the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, the city's youngest in 100 years. Newsom was re-elected in 2007 with 72 percent of the vote. In 2010, a Samepoint study named Newsom the Most Social Mayor in America's largest 100 cities.

In 1996, San Francisco mayor Willie Brown appointed Newsom to serve on the city's Parking and Traffic Commission, and then as a member of the Board of Supervisors the following year. Newsom drew voter attention with his Care Not Cash program, designed to move homeless people into city-assisted care.

Newsom graduated from Redwood High School and Santa Clara University. He has co-founded 11 businesses, 10 in which family friend Gordon Getty has been an investor.. (more...)

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Mountain View is a city in Santa Clara County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. It is named for its views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The city shares its borders with the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale, as well as Moffett Federal Airfield and the San Francisco Bay. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 74,066.

Situated in Silicon Valley, Mountain View is home to many high technology companies. In 1956, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, the first company to develop silicon semiconductor devices in what came to be known as Silicon Valley, was established in the city by William Shockley. Today, many of the largest technology companies in the world are headquartered in the city, including Google, Mozilla Foundation, Symantec, and Intuit. (more...)

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The Bay Area by year

1979
Rioters at SF City Hall
SF Mayor Dianne Feinstein

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image credit: Estate of Allen Cohen and Regent Press

Did you know...

San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds
San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds

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July - December 2005

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The Solano Avenue Stroll is an annual street fair held every September, a week after Labor Day, on the Solano Avenue shopping district in Albany and Berkeley, California. Stretching close to 2 miles long and bringing between 250,000 and 300,000 attendees in a single day, it has been called the oldest and largest street festival in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2001, The Library of Congress's American Folklife Center in Washington, D.C. designated the festival as a "National Local Legacy". (video of 2009 Solano Stroll, with musicians and passing BART train, displayed)

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~ Kai Fu Shah, first Minister to the United States from the Republic of China
*more quotes about San Francisco from Wikiquote

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