Santa Barbara is a pretty amazing city with an equally amazing history. So because I’m feeling rather lineal today, I am going to begin with pre-contact and work up to today…
Seriously, for any of you history buffs out there… buckle up because you’re in for one wild ride.
There is evidence that there was a Paleoindian presence in the Santa Barbara area at least 13,000 years ago. At the time of European contact,thousands of Chumash people had lived on the south coast region of Santa Barbara.In 1769, a Spanish land expedition reached the Santa Barbara Channel and a number of Spanish missions were established in Chumash territory devastating the Chumash population with the introduction of European diseases and settler colonial violence.
The first Europeans to populate the area were Spanish missionaries and soldiers who were to reinforce the region against expansion by England and other colonizers who were interested in the “New World”, in addition to converting the natives to Christianity. The Santa Barbara Mission was established December 4, 1786 by the Spanish Franciscans. The powerful earthquake and tsunamiof 1812 destroyed the Mission and town; water reached as high as present-day AnapamuStreet,and resulted in complete destruction.With the end of the Mexican War of Independence, the Spanish period came to a closein 1822.
After the secularization in 1833, successive Mexican Governors allocated large tracks of land that werepreviously held by the Franciscan Order to various families. These land grants to local families mark the beginning of the “Rancho Period” in Santa Barbara history.
On December 27, 1846 Santa Barbara fell to a battalion of American soldiers during the Mexican–American War.The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 marked its joining of the United States.
During the gold rush and the years following an increasing number of American settlers moved in, making the Wild West town a haven for bandits and gamblers. A drought in 1863 ended the Rancho Period.
Just before the turn of the 20th century, oil was discovered region along the beach east of Santa Barbara. This brought an increase of oil derricks and piers for drilling offshore in the area, becoming the first offshore oil development in the world.
June 29, 1925 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake had devastating implications for much of the architecture and people of Santa Barbara. The earthquake instigated an infrastructure collapse, but brought opportunity for rebuilding during a time of architectural reform and unification around a Spanish Colonial style.
After WWIImany of the servicemen who had been posted in Santa Barbara returned to live permanently surging the population.
Today Santa Barbara is an affluent and beautiful city known for its red-tile roofs and buildings reminiscent of Mediterranean style. The city is situated between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains, and is a definite focus of the Central Coast that you should not miss.
With five colleges including the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), the city has a youthful exuberance that adds balance to its yachting, sailing and retirement communities. Santa Barbara’s downtown core is aesthetically beautiful, and has amazing shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.
With an incredible and sometimes terrible history, Santa Barbara has become a magnificent place.