San Jose, California's first civilian settlement (the first settlement which was not a Catholic mission), was founded by Spanish settlers in 1777.  When California became part of the United States in 1847, San Jose served as the capitol of the territory until 1852. 

During the Gold Rush of 1849, the city served as a base for prospectors, because of its idea location, and experienced a huge explosion in population along with new businesses, homes, hotels and entertainment venues.  When the city was eventually connected to a rail line in 1864, giving residents and merchants easy access to San Francisco, San Jose became an important trading center, a position which would cause more population growth.

For many years San Jose was known for its fruit production, and it packed and shipped all types of fruit across the country.  But in the 1950's, with the beginning of the technological age, the city also became important for its other natural resource: silicon.  Today San Jose remains a top technological center in the US.