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The area now known as San Diego, California, was once home to the Kumeyaay Indians who draped themselves in the skins of animals such as the deer, seal, and sea otter. It is believed that these Native Americans inhabited the region as far back as 10,000 years ago.

In 1542, a European explorer sailed his ship into the bay and claimed the spot for the Spanish Empire, calling it San Miguel. In November of 1602, a flagship arrived with the purpose of surveying the harbor, and on the same day, a religious Christian service was held here to honor the saint known as San Diego.

The land where the modern city now sits has been under the dominion of multiple countries and people. As mentioned, Spain claimed the location for quite some time. In 1821, however, Spain had to give it up when Mexico gained its independence. At this point, San Diego was immediately declared to belong to the Mexican state called Alta California. A little more than 25 years later, though, the territory was ceded over to the United States when the Mexican-American War was won by the U.S. California later officially became a state in 1850.

World War II saw San Diego rise to the level of a major military hub because of the vast numbers of defense manufacturers in the region and the numerous military installations. San Diego Naval Hospital, Camp Kearny, and Camp Matthews were all located in the bustling city. Within a period of 20 years, from 1930 to 1950, the population of the city more than doubled.

Aviation came to be a major player in the region as well. Even in World War I, San Diego was billing itself as the Air Capital of the West. In 1923, Consolidated Aircraft was founded, and in 1925, Ryan Airlines began. The Spirit of St Louis, Charles Lindbergh's famous plane, was built by Ryan Airlines in San Diego.

The city has an interesting geography and sits directly on the Rose Canyon fault. The Laguna Mountains are approximately 15 miles to the east of the bay. Amazingly, the city of San Diego is built upon 200 canyons and hills that serve to create mesas or tabletop land sections upon which the city's population lives. In addition, a river valley is created by the San Diego River running right through the middle of the city.

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