San Jose (pronounced /?sænho?'ze?/) (meaning St. Joseph in Spanish) or San José is the third-largest city in California and the tenth-largest in the United States. The county seat of Santa Clara County, it is located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region commonly referred to as Silicon Valley. 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. Its estimated population by the US Census Bureau as of 2008 is 948,279. The California Department of Finance estimated San Jose's population as of 2009, at 1,006,892. The Metropolitan area contains approximately 1.8 million residents. It is one of the primary cities of the San Francisco Bay Area, and the largest in terms of population and land area.
San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777 as El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, 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 by annexing more land area. By the 1990s, San Jose's location within the booming local technology industry earned the city the nickname Capital of Silicon Valley.