San Jose, located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay and entirely too close to the San Andreas Fault, is also an epicenter of history in California. It was the first town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California, as well as the first incorporated city and the first capital of California after statehood was conferred in 1850. The town began as a farming community responsible for provisioning Spanish soldiers stationed along the coast. Though San Jose remains a center of agricultural activity, the city has been home to a number of other important industries, as well. The largest deposits of mercury in the country were found in San Jose, serendipitously, just before the great California Gold Rush. Mercury is used in the process of removing gold from its ore, and the mining of it helped to bring a good bit of wealth to the city in the mid-1800s. A gold rush of another sort occurred in the area beginning in the mid-20th century. IBM established a western headquarters in San Jose in 1943; the massive influx of technology companies that followed earned the city and its environs the nickname of Silicon Valley.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Francisco, CA, San Jose, CA, Los Angeles, CA.