Concept

San Francisco Bay Area

Summary
The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populous region associated with the San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun Bay estuaries in Northern California. The Bay Area is defined by the Association of Bay Area Governments to include the nine counties that border the aforementioned estuaries: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, and San Francisco. The core cities of the Bay Area are Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. Home to approximately 7.5 million people, Northern California's nine-county Bay Area contains many cities, towns, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a complex multimodal transportation network. The Bay Area is known for its natural beauty, progressive politics, prominent universities, technology companies, and affluence. The larger federal classification, the combined statistical area of the region which includes 14 counties, is the second-largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth-largest in the United States, and the 41st-largest urban area in the world with 9.67 million people. The Bay Area's population is ethnically diverse: roughly three-fifths of the region's residents are Hispanic, Asian, African American, or Pacific Islander (with the other two-fifths being non-Hispanic White American), all of whom have a significant presence throughout the region. The earliest archaeological evidence of human settlements in the Bay Area dates back to 8000–10,000 BC from shell mounds in the Coyote Hills. In 1769, the Bay Area was inhabited by Ohlone people when a Spanish exploration party led by Gaspar de Portolá entered the Bay – the first documented European visit to the Bay Area. After Mexico established independence from Spain in 1821, the region was briefly controlled by the Mexican government until the United States seized the territory in 1846 during the Mexican–American War. Soon after, discovery of gold in California attracted a flood of treasure seekers, many using ports in the Bay Area as an entry point.
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