Northern California

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Northern California is the northern portion of the state of California.

The region contains the San Francisco Bay Area, the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento (the state capital), and the redwood forests, along with the Sierra Nevada including Yosemite Valley and Lake Tahoe, Mount Shasta (the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range), and the Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions.

Native Americans arrived in Northern California at least as early as 8,000 to 5,000 BC and perhaps even much before, and successive waves of arrivals led to one of the most densely populated areas of pre-Columbian North America. The arrival of European explorers from the early 16th to the mid-18th centuries, did not establish European settlements in Northern California. In 1770, the Spanish mission at Monterey was the first European settlement in the area, followed by other missions along the coast—eventually extending as far north as Sonoma County.


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