Santa Clara County:

Santa Clara County is a county located in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California. It is the primary site of Silicon Valley. As of 2000 it had a population of 1,682,585. The county seat is San Jose. Santa Clara County was one of the original counties of California, formed in 1850 at the time of statehood. The original inhabitants included the Ohlone, residing on Coyote Creek and Calaveras Creek. Part of the county's territory was given to Alameda County in 1853.

The county is named after Mission Santa Clara, which was established in 1777, and named for Saint Clare of Assisi, Italy. In 1882, Santa Clara County tried to levy taxes upon property of the Southern Pacific Railroad within county boundaries. The result was the U.S. Supreme Court case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394 (1886), in which the Court extended Due Process rights to artificial legal entities.

After two centuries of an agricultural economy started by the Spanish missionaries, the focus has shifted to technology. This trend is not new. Hewlett Packard was founded in 1939, and Fairchild Semiconductor along with other early innovators were located in the county by the late 1950s. The term "Silicon Valley" was itself coined in 1971. The trend accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s, and agriculture has been nearly eliminated from the northern part of the county. Today, Santa Clara County is the headquarters for such companies as Apple Computer, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, Google, Yahoo, eBay, Intel and many others. The county is the main area of the Silicon Valley, which includes several other counties both north and south of Santa Clara.

 

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