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about Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the county seat of Santa Cruz County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 54,593. It is on the northern edge of the Monterey Bay, about 60 miles (100 km) south of San Francisco.

The area was first settled by Ohlone Indians, Native American hunter-gatherers. Santa Cruz was colonized in the mid-1700s by the Spanish, who established both a mission (Mission Santa Cruz) and a secular settlement named Branciforte. The town was named, as many of the early Spanish settlements were, for the Catholic feast day on which it was founded. The Ohlones were concentrated by the Spanish into the mission and suffered a rapid decline due to diseases and overwork.

Santa Cruz was settled by Americans in the 19th century. Immigrants from Scotland, Italy, China and Portugal also added distinctive contributions to the area's culture. In the 19th Century forestry and commercial fishing were primary industries, as well as dairy farming and leather production.

Santa Cruz is home to the University of California, Santa Cruz, which was built starting in the 1960s as an 'alternative' campus. Overlooking the Monterey Bay among the redwood trees, UCSC is arguably the most beautiful of the University of California campuses. UCSC was long known for its lack of letter grades and organized sports teams, although this has been changing in recent years, with letter grades now provided for most classes. Their mascot is the banana slug.

Santa Cruz is also well-known for surfing, and is the home of O'Neill Wetsuits and Santa Cruz Surfboards (as well as Santa Cruz Skateboards).

Santa Cruz is also notable for the extensive damage it suffered during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which leveled the mostly unreinforced-brick downtown, killing five people. The downtown area, the Pacific Garden Mall, has been rebuilt almost from scratch.

The principal industries of Santa Cruz are agriculture, tourism, and high technology. Santa Cruz is a center of the organic agriculture movement, and many specialty products such as artichokes, grown in the Castroville area. Tourist attractions include the classic Santa Cruz Boardwalk on the beach, the redwood forests and the unspoiled Monterey Bay, which has been protected as a marine sanctuary.

Santa Cruz provides many great opportunities for birding.

In recent years, because of its close proximity to Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz has supported a large high technology industry, particularly in the Scotts Valley area. Many workers from Silicon Valley live in Santa Cruz and the surrounding towns. The influx of workers from Silicon Valley, in combination with growing enrollment at the university, have caused growing traffic problems and a high cost of housing; Santa Cruz is regularly listed among the five most expensive housing markets in the United States.

As a center of liberal activism, Santa Cruz became one of the first cities in California to test the state's medical marijuana laws in court after the arrest of several medical marijuana proponents by the DEA. The case was ruled in favor of the growers, and Santa Cruz has continued to be a haven for medical and recreational pot smokers.

Camper Van Beethoven was spawned in Santa Cruz.

The climate is Mediterranean, with mild summers due to coastal fog. Winters tend to be rainy, although periodic droughts have occurred in recent years.

Santa Cruz geography

Santa Cruz is located at 36°58'19" North, 122°1'35" West (36.972050, -122.026252).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.4 km² (15.6 mi²). 32.5 km² (12.5 mi²) of it is land and 8.0 km² (3.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 19.67% water.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Santa Cruz, California".

This city is also known as: Santa Cruz.

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