It is the home of the Cal Bears and one of the focal points of political movements in years past. Berkeley is a key city within the Bay Area and serves as a hub between San Francisco and the East Bay. The town borders Oakland, Lafayette, and Orinda while being near the cities of Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Concord, and Alamo. It is on the east shore of San Francisco Bay and a part of Alameda County. The city has a population exceeding 110,000 and has the oldest University of California campus within it.
Prior to the European’s arrival, Berkeley was home to the Chochenyo/Huchiun band of the Ohlone Indians. The first Europeans arrived around 1776 within the area. They established themselves at the Presidio of San Francisco. A soldier at the Presidio, Luis Peralta was granted land on the east shore of the Bay including the land that is now known as Berkeley due to his service. Upon his passing, the land was split among his children. Today, Berkeley honors them by having streets with their name on it.
In 1866, Oakland’s College of California looked for a new location. It settled on a location in Berkeley. After some troubles, they coordinated with the State of California to create the University of California in 1868.
Through the years, Berkeley has changed dramatically as houses and businesses formed surrounding the campus. In addition, Berkeley has proved itself to be a pivotal cornerstone for many social movements. For instance, it was a leader in the prohibition movement in the early 1900s and led many social movements in the 40s through 60s. Even as recently as 2011, it was a key player in the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Berkeley has a diverse population formed by many ethnicities. This has created a cultural mecca within the region as exhibited by shops and festivals. This melting pot also comes across through the public school system as children are exposed to many backgrounds among their classmates. As a result, the city will continue to provide a key hub for the nation’s social and cultural movements.