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Oakland Travel Guide

City of Oakland

Oakland was founded in 1852, is the eighth biggest city in California and the county seat of Alameda County. To Oakland's north is Berkeley, home to the famed University of California, Berkeley, and to its west across the Bay Bridge is San Francisco. Oakland is situated in the San Francisco Bay Area; Oakland's population was 411,755, making it the third largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, after San Jose and San Francisco.

Oakland along with the rest of California, protested for the Spanish king by explorers from New Spain in 1772. In the early 19th century, the area which later became Oakland was granted to Luís María Peralta by the Spanish royal government for his Rancho San Antonio. The grant was confirmed by the successor Mexican republic upon its independence from Spain. The area of the ranch that is today occupied by the downtown and extending over into the adjacent part of Alameda, included a woodland of oak trees. This area was called "encinal" by the Peraltas, a Spanish word which means "Oakland", the origin of the later city's name.

According to the census of 2000, there were 399,484 persons, and 86,402 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,126.6/mi² (2,751.4/km²).

Oakland in the arts and entertainment arena is famous too, as Oakland has seated or been a second home to novelists Jack London, Gertrude Stein, Amy Tan, and Maya Angelou; actors as Mark Hamill, Danny Glover, Bruce Lee, and Tom Hanks; architects as Julia Morgan, classical conductor Calvin Simmons, graphic-novel author Daniel Clowes, and many more famous in the liberal arts and sciences. Gracious, rundown and elite, hard-pressed and arty, all of these elements are essential combinations of hues and colours of Oakland and constitute the fuller portrait of a city as eclectic and contradictory like its various citizenry.

Oakland is a composite city of striking contrasts. The African-American community of Oakland produces or has played host to a plethora of leading professionals, writers, and intellectuals, admitting but certainly not limited to playwright, Yale professor, and literary critic Ishmael Reed, as well as Robert Maynard, the late owner and editor of the Pulitzer-prize winning Oakland Tribune, the journal of record for the East Bay. Since the 1960's, Oakland has been a hub of radical culture, and is called like the birthplace of both the Black Panther Party and the Hell's Angels.



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