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California was quickly granted statehood in 1850 and the U. military built Fort Point at the Golden Gate and a fort on Alcatraz Island to secure the San Francisco Bay.

Silver discoveries, including the Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1859, further drove rapid population growth.

After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, significant immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the "hippie" counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States.

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Seven years later, on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores), established by the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza.

Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico.

Some of these approximately 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships, saloons and hotels; many were left to rot and some were sunk to establish title to the underwater lot.

By 1851 the harbor was extended out into the bay by wharves while buildings were erected on piles among the ships.

At am on April 18, 1906, a major earthquake struck San Francisco and northern California.

As buildings collapsed from the shaking, ruptured gas lines ignited fires that spread across the city and burned out of control for several days.

Together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, and the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican–American War, and Captain John B.

Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later.

Immigrant laborers made the city a polyglot culture, with Chinese Railroad Workers, drawn to "Old Gold Mountain", creating the city's Chinatown quarter. The first cable cars carried San Franciscans up Clay Street in 1873.

The city's sea of Victorian houses began to take shape, and civic leaders campaigned for a spacious public park, resulting in plans for Golden Gate Park.

With water mains out of service, the Presidio Artillery Corps attempted to contain the inferno by dynamiting blocks of buildings to create firebreaks.

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