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3. American Settlement

American Settlement BannerAmerican Settlement
The first American settlers arrived in the Santa Clara Valley in the early 1830s. With the opening of the California Trail in 1844, thousands of American immigrants made the long trek over mountains and plains in search of land and, later, gold. Some of these new immigrants were among those obtaining grants from Mission Santa Clara's lands. They brought a new culture that overwhelmed the Californio way of life. 

Santa Clara Takes Shape
Many American immigrants lived on and around Mission Santa Clara's grounds in the late 1840s. Some paid rent and others just "squatted." In October 1847, Father Suarez del Real of Mission Santa Clara hired William Campbell to survey the lots near the mission complex and draw up a town plat, the beginning of what is now Santa Clara. Each lot was 300 feet square.

Gold Rush & Statehood
Santa Clara experienced many significant changes in the mid 1800s. The war with Mexico ended in 1848 and California became an American possession. A few months later, gold was discovered in Coloma and thousands rushed to California in search of riches. Santa Clara's population decreased dramatically as residents joined the Gold Rush. On September 9, 1850, California entered the Union as the 31st state.

Santa Clara Incorporated
On July 5, 1852, Santa Clara was incorporated as a township with the approval of the California State Legislature. At that time, Santa Clara consisted of about 2,000 acres with a population of approximately 200 people. They lived in a cluster of adobes and simple frame houses that had grown up around the mission and its college. The square shape of the original town is still known as the Old Quad.
Last updated: 10/19/2009 4:27:20 PM