The History of Oakland, CA

Oakland is a city in Alameda County, California.  The history of this city can be traced to the development of a settlement by Edson Adams, Andrew Moon, and Horace Carpentier in the early 19th century.

Oakland, CA was first incorporated as a town in 1852, a move that was orchestrated by the industrial revolution.

The Huchiun tribe were the first inhabitants of this area, and they lived here for hundreds of years. This community was a member of the Ohlone tribe, which meant “western people.” Since the land was vast, this tribe chose to settle around Temescal Creek and Lake Merritt.

The Ohlone lands, Oakland, and the rest of Oakland was claimed by conquistadors who were of the Spanish origin in 1772. They did this for their Spanish king.

In the early 19th century, the East Bay Area was deeded to Luis Maria Peralta. When he died in 1842, he subdivided this vast land among his four sons, and the Oakland area was given to Vincente and Antonio Maria.

You might be wondering, what is the origin of the name Oakland?

In the peralta ranch, there were hundreds of Oak trees which stretched across the land. The peraltas named the area encinal, a Spanish word that means “oak grove.” In the subsequent naming of the town, this name was translated as Oakland, and it remained so until today.

During the Gold Rush in 1849, Oakland became a transit center for people and goods. In 1850, a squatter named Moses Chase and some of his associates purchased a farmland and built a town called Clinton, which was later renamed to Brookline.

In 1851, a trans-bay-ferry services was started by Horace Carpentier. He bought a town site in 1842, built it, and named it Oakland, thanks to the high number of oak trees that were lined up in grassy plains.

Carpentier extended the area, and the small town was incorporated as a city in 1854.

In 1869, Oakland was named the western terminus of the first ever transcontinental railway. This was the beginning of massive development. In 1906, a strong earthquake which was followed by ranging fires destroyed San Francisco. This came as a blessing to Oakland since as refugees came to the area, the population increased tremendously. Military and naval installations in the 1940s also boosted the population, and the once quiet city was now a hub of various socio-economic activities.

The city received some drawbacks in 1960 leading to a population decrease in population by 1950. The inner parts of the city was characterized by crime, racial discrimination, and poverty.


Efforts to restore sanity in the city began in 1970. By the late 1990s, the city was back on its feet, and it became better than it was many years back. Today, the Oakland’s economy is notably diversified. Most of the economic activities are focused on transportation, healthcare, retail trade, business services, and a host of other dealings.

Oakland is also home to several institutions of higher learning including Mills College, Holy Names University, University of California, and California College of the Arts, Berkeley Campus.

With state-of-the-art museums, theatre companies, leisure parks, and lots of other tourist destinations, this city is also a place you can live in, or visit whenever you are on vacation.

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