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City (pop., 2000: 776,733) and port, northern California, U.S. San Francisco lies on the northern end of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. The Golden Gate Bridge spans the strait to the north that separates San Francisco from Marin county. Founded in the 18th century by the Spanish, it came under Mexican control after Mexican independence in 1821. Occupied by U.S. forces in 1846, it grew rapidly after the discovery of gold in nearby areas (seegold rush). San Francisco suffered extensive damage from the earthquake and fire of 1906 and from an earthquake in 1989. The city was prominent in the American cultural revolution of the 1960s. It is a commercial, cultural, educational, and financial centre and one of the country's most cosmopolitan cities.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on San Francisco, visit Britannica.com.