Sacramento (săkrəmĕnˈtō) [key], city (1990 pop. 369,365), state capital and seat of Sacramento co., central Calif., on the Sacramento River at its confluence with the American River; settled 1839, inc. 1850. A deepwater port via a 43-mi (69-km) channel to Suisun Bay (opened 1963), it is the shipping, rail, processing, and marketing center for the fertile Sacramento valley, where fruit, vegetables, grains, sugar beets, and dairy goods are produced. Cattle and poultry are raised, and food processing is a major industry. Aerospace and computer and electronics industries contribute greatly to the city's economy. Other manufacturing includes printing and publishing, glass, wood products, and building materials. Government is a major employer.
Sacramento is the seat of California State Univ. Sacramento, and has a professional basketball team, the Kings. Points of interest include the state capitol (in a beautiful park), the former governor's mansion (occupied 1903–68; now a museum), Sutter's Fort, the Crocker Art Museum, and the Golden State Museum. The city is known for its camellias; a camellia festival is held annually along with the California State Fair and Exposition.
Sacramento lies on part of a Mexican land grant that belonged to John A. Sutter, who in 1839 began a settlement called New Helvetia and in 1840 built a fort. The discovery of gold in 1848 at nearby Sutter's Mill (now Coloma) led to the platting of the town, and its population soon reached 10,000. Sacramento was made the state capital in 1854. The city annexed adjacent North Sacramento in 1965. In the late 20th cent. Sacramento was one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.