Most people would assume that the capital city of California is either Los Angeles or San Francisco because these are very popular cities. However, that is so not true as the capital of California is Sacramento.
Sacramento is situated within Central Valley and is the 7th most populated city in the state of California. If you are one of those wondering why Sacramento is the capital of the state and not any of the other popular cities, then this is the article you have been waiting for.
Allow us to take you on a journey of the history of Sacramento.
History of Sacramento’s Settlement
Sacramento has a history as old as the state. What is now known as Sacramento – the capital of California was originally settled by John Sutter. The location of Sutter’s Fort then is presently known as downtown Sacramento.
Sutter’s Fort, built by Jon Sutter served as a military stockade and trading colony. It was there that food and other resources in the area were shared to those residing at Sacramento as at that time.
Apart from the Fort, Sutter also built mills in the close by foothills. In fact, one of these mills was where gold was found in a stream. The gold was found by John Marshall, who was a worker at Sutter’s Fort in 1849.
During the period that gold was found by John Marshall, plans were already underway to make Sacramento a city. It was championed by the son of John Sutter, John Sutter Jr. This was achieved and thus Sacramento became the first incorporated city in California in 1849.
Sacramento is located in a vantage position. This city at the base of the foothills was just ninety miles inland from San Francisco and was literally filled with gold. Therefore, the city became a major distribution point and the heart of the Gold Rush economic activities.
With all that the city had going, it is no surprise that the First Transcontinental Railroad began there. Majority of the people who moved to California in search of greener pastures passed through Sacramento.
The history of California cannot be complete without the mention of Sacramento as a lot of businesses and services were established because of the miners at Sacramento. The Gold Rush attracted a lot of people to Sacramento.
When Did Sacramento Become the Capital of California?
You should know that Sacramento has not always been the capital of California. That status was first accorded to Monterey. In 1849, Monterey hosted California’s Constitutional Convention after which California became a state in the United States.
Following that, the capital was transferred from Monterey to San Jose. From San Jose it was moved to Vallejo and later on it was moved yet again to Benicia. Quite a journey but that was not the end as the capital was moved one more time to Sacramento and the city has remained the capital of California till date.
The move of capital from Benicia to Sacramento happened in 1854.
Why Was Sacramento Chosen as the Capital of California?
- Most people coming into California to make a better life stopped by Sacramento because of the gold.
- Blacksmiths, shopkeepers, and other service-related businesses came to establish themselves.
- Sacramento was not close to the ocean hence making the occurrence of an invasion less likely.
- Proximity to rivers leading to San Francisco and other ports.
- Sacramento already had a working system and structure so there was less work for the government in that regard.
The first reason which is the very obvious one is the Gold Rush. Like we pointed out already, most of the people coming into California to make a better life stopped by Sacramento because of the gold.
It was not just for the purpose of mining the gold, but there had to be blacksmiths, shopkeepers, and other service-related businesses and establishments. The fact that Sacramento had a good economic base due to the gold cannot be disputed.
Another reason for Sacramento being the capital is that unlike the other cities that had served as capitals, Sacramento was not close to the ocean. This made the occurrence of an invasion less likely.
Also it was close to rivers that led to San Francisco and other ports thus making it possible for the city to have dealings on land and at sea.
Finally, Sacramento already had a working system and structure thanks to John Sutter and John Marshall. The city was already well planned and established so there was less work for the government in that regard. In fact the street grids were already completed.
What Is Sacramento Like Today?
Although Sacramento is not as popular or big as some other cities in the state such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, it is still a very lovely city. In fact, for the people who want to stay away from the fast paced life of big cities, Sacramento is just perfect.
The California State Capitol building in downtown Sacramento is one of the many buildings that house the government of the state of California.