A Brief History of Sacramento County

Native Americans, including the Miwok and Maidu tribes, were the first residents of Sacramento County. The first European to explore the Sacramento area was Gabriel Moraga, an officer in the Spanish Army. He is credited with naming the river and valley Sacramento, from the Spanish phrase Santisimo Sacramento meaning Most Holy Sacrament. The county was named after the Sacramento River, which forms its western border.

John Sutter, born in Switzerland in 1803, came to California in 1839 and settled in the Sacramento Valley. Sacramento was part of Mexico at the time, and, after becoming a Mexican citizen, Sutter was given a land grant by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado in the valley. At the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, Sutter built Fort Sutter. 

As a result of the Mexican War of 1846-1848, California was ceded to the United States. In 1849, gold was discovered at Sutter's mill in what is now El Dorado County, and the Sacramento Valley was flooded with people coming to find gold. In 1850, California became a state, and Sacramento County was established as one of its original counties. The city of Sacramento was named the state capital in 1854. 

Alexander Hamilton Willard, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, is buried in the old Franklin Cemetery.

One of the largest counties in the state at 1026 square miles. In 1884, the county was noted for Agriculture, and mining with a population of about 40,000. 

The 1900 Sacramento Directory states the county is comprised of 640,000 acres. The city of Sacramento is fourth in population in the state, second in commercial importance. There are four (4) rivers in the county, The Sacramento, American, Comsumnes, and Mokelumne.

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