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History and Facts of California Counties

California Counties – 

California Counties were first created in 1850. The State of California currently contains 58 counties.

The 27 Original Counties Of California

A committee of California’s first constitutional convention was convened on January 4, 1850. It was chaired by General Mariano Vallejo. At this committee meeting, it was suggested that California be split into 18 counties. They were:

Benicia, Butte, Fremont, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, Mt. Diablo, Oro, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Sutter

The committee later suggested some other changes and, from January 4, 1850 to February 18, 1850, the following 9 counties were added to the list, making a total of 27 counties:

Branciforte, Calaveras, Coloma, Colusi, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Trinity, Yuba

The committee also changed the names of several of the original counties at that time. Those changes were:

Benicia to El Dorado, Fremont to Yola, Mt. Diablo to Contra Costa, San Jose to Santa Clara, Oro to Tuolumne, Redding to Shasta

This meant that, as of February 18, 1850, the 27 counties in California were:

Branciforte, Butte, Calaveras, Colusi, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yola, Yuba

Then, a little later in 1850, some legislature was adopted that caused some of the county names to change yet again. Branciforte became Santa Cruz and Colusi became Colusa. Yola, meanwhile, was changed to Yolo.

California gained its statehood on September 9, 1850, with its 27 counties.

However, 32 more counties were created in the state after 1850. Of the original 27, only Marin county stayed exactly as it was, neither losing nor gaining land.

Of the 32 created later, only 7 stayed as they were upon their creation. Those 7 are: Alameda, Alpine, Imperial, Madera, Modoc, Orange, Riverside

Many of the county boundaries have also experienced small changes over the years. The original county boundaries tended to follow the geography of the land, often being established along mountain ridges and similar natural features.

These days, many of those boundaries have been altered to run along either section lines or township lines.

List of California Counties

California is divided into 58 counties.

List of Old Former / Extinct California Counties

California has counties that no longer are in existence. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have modified very little since 1900 in the vast most of states.

The below California counties no longer exist:

?? County, California

Created ? from ?. It was abolished ? and re-established as ? County on ?.

  • Branciforte County was one of the original 27 counties adopted by statutes of 1850, but soon after that the legislature changed the name to Santa Cruz County.
  • Coloma County was a county proposed by a committee of the California Constitutional Convention. Before the statute was adopted, the legislature changed the name to El Dorado County.
  • Coso County was approved by the State Legislature which designated territory in Mono County and Tulare County to be in the new county with the county seat at Bend City. Coso County, however, was never organized. In 1866 substantially the same territory was created as Inyo County.
  • Fremont County was a county proposed by a committee of the California Constitutional Convention. Before the statute was adopted, the legislature changed the name to Yola County and later changed the name to Yolo County.
  • Klamath County was created on 1851 from the northern half of Trinity County. In 1857 Klamath County lost significant territory to the newly formed Del Norte County. In 1875 Klamath County was abolished and its territory was divided between Humboldt County and Siskiyou County. Territory which at one time was in Klamath County is now in Del Norte CountyHumboldt County,Siskiyou County, and Trinity County.
  • Mount Diablo County was a county proposed by a committee of the California Constitutional Convention. Before the statute was adopted, the legislature changed the name to Contra Costa County.
  • Oro County was a county proposed by a committee of the California Constitutional Convention. Before the statute was adopted, the legislature changed the name to Tuolumne County.
  • Pautah County was created on 1852, an act to be effective when the United States Congress ceded to the State of California the territory described, in what is now the State of Nevada. The County seat was to be Carsonville. California never acquired the territory and the act creating the county was repealed in 1859.
  • Redding County was a county proposed by a committee of the California Constitutional Convention. Before the statute was adopted, the legislature changed the name to Shasta County.

Map of California County Boundary Changes from 1850 to 1925

This Interactive Map of California Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of California in 1850 to 1925.

Fun Facts about California Counties

County Name Facts

The County names:

  • 0 of them named for Native American words or people,
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Counties by Year

  • ? County was the first county created on ?.
  •  The last county to be formed was ? County on ?.
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Facts for County Size

  • ? County (000 sq mi) is the largest county in Arkansas.
  • ? County (000 sq mi) is the smallest county in California.

Facts for County Population (2017 Est.)

  • ? County (000) is the most populated county in California.
  • ? County (000) is the least populated county in California.

Facts for California Counties and Cities

California’s 10 largest cities (2010) are:

  1. Birmingham (000) is in ? County and ? Counties
  2. Los Angeles, San Diego,  San Jose,   San Francisco  Fresno, Sacramento,  Long Beach, Oakland,   Bakersfield  and Anaheim