History of San Francisco
The Cliff House, circa 1900
Located at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, the history of San Francisco, California, has been greatly influenced by its coastal location as a port city. Among other factors, this significant geographic feature ultimately caused San Francisco to become a natural center for maritime trade and military activity. The first Native Americans to settle this region found the Bay to be a vast natural resource for hunting and gathering their provisions and for the establishment of many small villages. The earliest European settlers from Spain also found this location to be of great strategic significance, both for trade and defense. Since its incorporation into the United States, where it is now estimated to be the twelth largest city, San Francisco has been characterized by rapid economic change and cultural diversity.