City (pop., 2000: 427,652), central California, U.S. Located in the San Joaquin River valley, it was settled in 1872 as a station on the Central Pacific Railroad and became an agricultural community in the 1880s. A marketing and shipping centre, it processes cotton, grain, fruits, wines, and dairy products. It is headquarters of the Sierra National Forest and a gateway to resort areas of the Sierra Nevadas. It is the home of California State University, Fresno (1911).