San Jose or San José is the third-largest city in California, and the tenth-largest in the United States. San Jose is located at the southern end of the Bay Area, a region commonly referred to as Silicon Valley. It is the county seat of Santa Clara County. Once a small farming city, San Jose became a magnet for suburban newcomers in new housing developments between the 1960s and 1990s, and is now the largest city in Northern California. The United States Census Bureau population estimates the city's population for 2007 as 939,899. As of January 1, 2008 the city had grown to a population of 989,496.
El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777 as the first town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California, which later became Alta California. The city served as a farming community to support Spanish military installations at San Francisco and Monterey. When California gained statehood in 1850, San Jose served as its first capital. After more than 150 years as an agricultural center, San Jose experienced increased demand for housing from soldiers and other veterans returning from World War II, as well as aggressive expansion during the 1950s and 1960s. Growth in the 1970s attracted more businesses to the city. In the late 1980s, after four decades of heavy development and population growth, San Jose surpassed San Francisco in population to become the third most populous city in California. By the 1990s, San Jose's location within the booming local technology industry earned the city the nickname Capital of Silicon Valley.