Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara sănˌtə bärˈbrə, –bərə [key], city (1990 pop. 85,571), seat of Santa Barbara co., S Calif., on the Pacific Ocean; inc. 1850. A beautiful residential and resort city with many recreational facilities, it also has electronics and aerospace research and development firms, and an orchid industry. Oil fields are in the area and offshore. The region was discovered by Juan Cabrillo in 1542 and explored and named in 1602. A Spanish presidio, remnants of which remain, was founded there in 1782. The Spanish mission (established in 1786; present building completed in 1820) is a major tourist attraction. Santa Barbara is known for its prevalent Spanish architecture. Points of interest include a “street in Spain” shopping area, an undersea aquarium, and many parks and gardens. The Univ. of California at Santa Barbara and Westmont College are just outside the city limits. Santa Barbara is headquarters of the Los Padres National Forest in the Santa Ynez Mts., which rise behind the city. In Feb., 1942, oil tanks in Santa Barbara harbor were the object of a Japanese submarine attack. In Jan., 1969, an oil leak in an offshore drilling platform in the Santa Barbara Channel brought great destruction to the city's harbor and beaches.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography