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List of California county seats

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Title: List of California county seats  
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List of California county seats

The state of California is divided into 58 counties.[1]


FIPS code
County seat
Formed from
Alameda County 001 Oakland 1853 Contra Costa and Santa Clara Spanish for "avenue shaded by trees" or "cottonwood grove." 1,510,271 738 sq mi
(1,911 km2)

Alpine County 003 Markleeville 1864 Amador, El Dorado, Calaveras, Mono and Tuolumne Location high in the Sierra Nevada. 1,175 739 sq mi
(1,914 km2)

Amador County 005 Jackson 1854 Calaveras Jose Maria Amador (1794–1883), a soldier, rancher, and miner who, along with several Native Americans, established a successful gold mining camp near present-day Amador City in 1848. 38,091 593 sq mi
(1,536 km2)

Butte County 007 Oroville 1850 Original Sutter Buttes, which was mistakenly thought to be in the county during the county's establishment. 220,000 1,640 sq mi
(4,248 km2)

Calaveras County 009 San Andreas 1850 Original Calaveras River; Calaveras itself is the Spanish for "skulls". 45,578 1,020 sq mi
(2,642 km2)

Colusa County 011 Colusa 1850 Original Rancho Colus land grant from Mexico. 21,419 1,151 sq mi
(2,981 km2)

Contra Costa County 013 Martinez 1850 Original Spanish for "opposite coast", from its location across San Francisco Bay from San Francisco. 1,049,025 720 sq mi
(1,865 km2)

Del Norte County 015 Crescent City 1857 Klamath Spanish for "northern", from its far northern location. 28,610 1,008 sq mi
(2,611 km2)

El Dorado County 017 Placerville 1850 Original El Dorado, a mythical city of gold, owing to the area's significance in the California Gold Rush. 181,058 1,712 sq mi
(4,434 km2)

Fresno County 019 Fresno 1856 Mariposa, Merced and Tulare The city of Fresno, itself Spanish for "ash tree." 930,450 5,963 sq mi
(15,444 km2)

Glenn County 021 Willows 1891 Colusa Dr. Hugh J. Glenn, a California businessman and politician. 28,122 1,315 sq mi
(3,406 km2)

Humboldt County 023 Eureka 1853 Trinity Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist and explorer. 134,623 3,573 sq mi
(9,254 km2)

Imperial County 025 El Centro 1907 San Diego Imperial Valley, named after the Imperial Land Company. 174,528 4,175 sq mi
(10,813 km2)

Inyo County 027 Independence 1866 Mono and Tulare exact etymology disputed; early settlers believed Inyo to be the native name for area mountains, but this term may be the name of a Mono Indian leader 18,546 10,192 sq mi
(26,397 km2)

Kern County 029 Bakersfield 1866 Los Angeles and Tulare Edward Kern, cartographer for John C. Fremont's 1845 expedition. 839,631 8,142 sq mi
(21,088 km2)

Kings County 031 Hanford 1893 Tulare Kings River, original Spanish name Rio de los Santos Reyes ("River of the Holy Kings"). 152,982 1,390 sq mi
(3,600 km2)

Lake County 033 Lakeport 1861 Napa Clear Lake 64,665 1,258 sq mi
(3,258 km2)

Lassen County 035 Susanville 1864 Plumas and Shasta, and now defunct Lake County, Nevada Peter Lassen, a Danish naturalist and explorer. 34,895 4,558 sq mi
(11,805 km2)

Los Angeles County 037 Los Angeles 1850 Original The city of Los Angeles, itself Spanish for "The Angels", abbreviated from El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of the river of Porziuncola). 9,818,605 4,060 sq mi
(10,515 km2)

Madera County 039 Madera 1893 Mariposa The city of Madera, itself Spanish for "wood", in reference to the forested area of the landscape 150,865 2,138 sq mi
(5,537 km2)

Marin County 041 San Rafael 1850 Original Exact etymology disputed; probably a corrupted abbreviation of Bahía de Nuestra Señora del Rosario la Marina, the Spanish name for area headlands along San Francisco Bay. 252,409 520 sq mi
(1,347 km2)

Mariposa County 043 Mariposa 1850 Original The city of Mariposa, itself Spanish for "butterfly". 18,251 1,451 sq mi
(3,758 km2)

Mendocino County 045 Ukiah 1850 Original Antonio de Mendoza, first viceroy of New Spain. 87,841 3,509 sq mi
(9,088 km2)

Merced County 047 Merced 1855 Mariposa The city of Merced, itself derived from the original Spanish name El Río de Nuestra Señora de la Merced ("River of Our Lady of Mercy"). 255,793 1,929 sq mi
(4,996 km2)

Modoc County 049 Alturas 1874 Siskiyou The Modoc people 9,686 3,944 sq mi
(10,215 km2)

Mono County 051 Bridgeport 1861 Calaveras, Fresno and Mariposa Mono Lake; name derived from Monachi, a Yokut name for native peoples of the Sierra Nevada. 14,202 3,044 sq mi
(7,884 km2)

Monterey County 053 Salinas 1850 Original Monterey Bay, itself a Spanish portmanteau of monte ("hill") and rey ("king"). 415,057 3,322 sq mi
(8,604 km2)

Napa County 055 Napa 1850 Original Disputed origin; possibly derived from the Patwin word napo, meaning home. 136,484 754 sq mi
(1,953 km2)

Nevada County 057 Nevada City 1851 Yuba The bordering state of Nevada, itself Spanish for "snow-covered", referencing the area's high elevation 98,764 958 sq mi
(2,481 km2)

Orange County 059 Santa Ana 1889 Los Angeles The orange, which was widely abundant in the area at the time the county was established. 3,010,232 790 sq mi
(2,046 km2)

Placer County 061 Auburn 1851 Sutter and Yuba Spanish term for gravel deposits containing gold, a reference the California Gold Rush, which was centered in the area. 348,432 1,503 sq mi
(3,893 km2)

Plumas County 063 Quincy 1854 Butte Spanish for feathers. 20,007 2,554 sq mi
(6,615 km2)

Riverside County 065 Riverside 1893 San Bernardino and San Diego The city of Riverside, named in turn because of its location on the Santa Ana River. 2,189,641 7,208 sq mi
(18,669 km2)

Sacramento County 067 Sacramento 1850 Original The city of Sacramento, named in turn after the Santisimo Sacramento (Spanish for "Most Holy Sacrament"). 1,418,788 966 sq mi
(2,502 km2)

San Benito County 069 Hollister 1874 Monterey Saint Benedict (San Benedicto in Spanish; Benito is the diminutive of Benedicto). 55,269 1,389 sq mi
(3,597 km2)

San Bernardino County 071 San Bernardino 1853 Los Angeles The city of San Bernardino, named in turn after Saint Bernardino of Siena (San Bernardino de Siena in Spanish) 2,035,210 20,062 sq mi
(51,960 km2)

San Diego County 073 San Diego 1850 Original The city of San Diego, itself Spanish for Saint Didacus 3,095,313 4,204 sq mi
(10,888 km2)

San Francisco County 075 San Francisco 1850 Original The city of San Francisco, itself Spanish for Saint Francis. 805,235 47 sq mi
(122 km2)

San Joaquin County 077 Stockton 1850 Original Spanish for Saint Joachim. 685,306 1,399 sq mi
(3,623 km2)

San Luis Obispo County 079 San Luis Obispo 1850 Original The city of San Luis Obispo, itself Spanish for Saint Louis, the Bishop. 269,637 3,304 sq mi
(8,557 km2)

San Mateo County 081 Redwood City 1856 San Francisco and Santa Cruz Spanish for Saint Matthew. 718,451 449 sq mi
(1,163 km2)

Santa Barbara County 083 Santa Barbara 1850 Original The city of Santa Barbara, itself Spanish for Saint Barbara. 423,895 2,738 sq mi
(7,091 km2)

Santa Clara County 085 San Jose 1850 Original Mission Santa Clara de Asís, itself Spanish for Saint Clare of Assisi. 1,781,642 1,291 sq mi
(3,344 km2)

Santa Cruz County 087 Santa Cruz 1850 Original The city of Santa Cruz, itself Spanish for holy cross 262,382 446 sq mi
(1,155 km2)

Shasta County 089 Redding 1850 Original Mount Shasta 177,223 3,786 sq mi
(9,806 km2)

Sierra County 091 Downieville 1852 Yuba Spanish for "mountain range", a reference to the area's topography 3,240 953 sq mi
(2,468 km2)

Siskiyou County 093 Yreka 1852 Shasta and Klamath Siskiyou Mountains; exact etymology of Siskiyou is disputed. 44,900 6,287 sq mi
(16,283 km2)

Solano County 095 Fairfield 1850 Original Chief Solano of the Suisunes 413,344 828 sq mi
(2,145 km2)

Sonoma County 097 Santa Rosa 1850 Original Exact etymology disputed; probably a Pomo term meaning "valley of the moon", which references a native legend about spiritual activity in the area. 483,878 1,576 sq mi
(4,082 km2)

Stanislaus County 099 Modesto 1854 Tuolumne Stanislaus River, named after Estanislao. 514,453 1,495 sq mi
(3,872 km2)

Sutter County 101 Yuba City 1850 Original John Sutter, a Swiss pioneer of California associated with the California Gold Rush. 94,737 603 sq mi
(1,562 km2)

Tehama County 103 Red Bluff 1856 Butte, Colusa and Shasta The city of Tehama, named after the Tehama people, a local Native American tribe. 63,463 2,951 sq mi
(7,643 km2)

Trinity County 105 Weaverville 1850 Original The city of Trinidad, itself Spanish for "Trinity". 13,786 3,179 sq mi
(8,234 km2)

Tulare County 107 Visalia 1852 Mariposa Tulare Lake, which is named after the tule rush (Schoenoplectus acutus) that lined the marshes and sloughs of its shores. 442,179 4,824 sq mi
(12,494 km2)

Tuolumne County 109 Sonora 1850 Original Exact etymology disputed; probably a corruption of the native term talmalamne, which means cluster of stone wigwams, a reference to local cave dwelling tribes. 55,365 2,236 sq mi
(5,791 km2)

Ventura County 111 Ventura 1872 Santa Barbara The city of Ventura, itself an abbreviation of San Buenaventura, Spanish for St. Bonaventure. 823,318 1,846 sq mi
(4,781 km2)

Yolo County 113 Woodland 1850 Original The Yolan people, a local Native American tribe. 200,849 1,012 sq mi
(2,621 km2)

Yuba County 115 Marysville 1850 Original Either named by the Maidu people, a local Native American tribe who live on the banks of the Feather & Yuba Rivers, or by Gabriel Moraga, who used the Spanish name for the wild grapes (Vitis californica) that grow abundantly at the edge of the rivers. 72,155 630 sq mi
(1,632 km2)

Defunct counties

  • Klamath County was created in 1851 from the northern half of Trinity County. Part of the county's territory went to Del Norte County in 1857, and in 1874 the remainder was divided between Humboldt and Siskiyou counties.
  • Pautah County was created in 1852 out of territory which, the state of California assumed, was to be ceded to it by the United States Congress from territory in what is now the state of Nevada. When the cession never occurred, the California State Legislature officially abolished the never-created county in 1859.
  • Buena Vista County - created in 1855 by the California legislature out of the southeastern territory of Tulare County on the west of the Sierra Nevada but was never officially organized. The south of Tulare County was later organized as Kern County in 1866, with additions from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
  • Coso County - created in 1864 by the California legislature out of territory of Mono County and Tulare County on the east slope of the Sierra Nevada but was never officially organized. The region was later organized in 1866 as Inyo County with additions from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

See also


External links

  • California State Association of Counties
  • State map showing the county names and linking to county data
  • California County Formation Maps. Shows the changing boundaries of the Counties from 1850 to 1925.
  • California State Association of Counties, Map of California Counties: circa 1850
  • California State Association of Counties, Map of California Counties: circa 1860
  • California State Association of Counties, Map of California Counties: circa 1870
  • California State Association of Counties, Map of California Counties: circa 1880
  • California State Association of Counties, Map of California Counties: circa 1900
  • California State Association of Counties, Map of California Counties: circa 1907-Present
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