|Orange County, California|
|County of Orange|
|Location in the state of California|
|Cities in Orange County|
|Coordinates: 33°40?N 117°47?W / 33.67°N 117.78°W / 33.67; -117.78Coordinates: 33°40?N 117°47?W / 33.67°N 117.78°W / 33.67; -117.78|
|Region||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Incorporated||March 11, 1889|
|Named for||Orange groves that were once plentiful in the area|
|County seat||Santa Ana|
|Largest city||Anaheim (population and area)|
|o Total||947.98 sq mi (2,455.3 km2)|
|o Land||789.40 sq mi (2,044.5 km2)|
|o Water||158.57 sq mi (410.7 km2)|
|Population (2010 Census)|
|o Density||3,813.3/sq mi (1,472.3/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)|
|o Summer (DST)||Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)|
Members of the Tongva, Juaneño, and Luiseño Native American groups long inhabited the area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish expedition led by Junipero Serra named the area Valle de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the area's first permanent European settlement. Among those who came with Portolá were José Manuel Nieto and José Antonio Yorba. Both these men were given land grants--Rancho Los Nietos and Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, respectively. The Nieto heirs were granted land in 1834. The Nieto ranches were known as Rancho Los Alamitos, Rancho Las Bolsas, and Rancho Los Coyotes. Yorba heirs Bernardo Yorba and Teodosio Yorba were also granted Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana (Santa Ana Canyon Ranch) and Rancho Lomas de Santiago, respectively. Other ranchos in Orange County were granted by the Mexican government during the Mexican period in Alta California.
A severe drought in the 1860s devastated the prevailing industry, cattle ranching, and much land came into the possession of Richard O'Neill, Sr., James Irvine and other land barons. In 1887, silver was discovered in the Santa Ana Mountains, attracting settlers via the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroads.
This growth led the California legislature to divide Los Angeles County and create Orange County as a separate political entity on March 11, 1889. The county is generally said to have been named for the citrus fruit (once its most famous product). However, the new county already had the town of Orange, named for Orange County, Virginia, which itself took its name from William III of England (known as William of Orange).
Other citrus crops, avocados, and oil extraction were also important to the early economy. Orange County benefited from the July 4, 1904 completion of the Pacific Electric Railway, a trolley connecting Los Angeles with Santa Ana and Newport Beach. The link made Orange County an accessible weekend retreat for celebrities of early Hollywood. It was deemed so significant that Pacific City changed its name to Huntington Beach in honor of Henry Huntington, president of the Pacific Electric and nephew of Collis Huntington. Transportation further improved with the completion of the State Route and U.S. Route 101 (now mostly Interstate 5) in the 1920s.
Agriculture, such as that involving the boysenberries made famous by Buena Park native Walter Knott, began to decline after World War II. However, the county's prosperity soared during this time. The completion of Interstate 5 in 1954 helped make Orange County a bedroom community for many who moved to Southern California to work in aerospace and manufacturing. Orange County received a further boost in 1955 with the opening of Disneyland.
In 1969, Yorba Linda-born Orange County native Richard Nixon became the 37th President of the United States.
In the 1980s, Orange County had become the second most populous county in California as the population topped two million for the first time.
In 1994, an investment fund meltdown led to the criminal prosecution of treasurer Robert Citron. The county lost at least $1.5 billion through high-risk investments in bonds. The loss was blamed on derivatives by some media reports, a fact that is often repeated to this day. On December 6, 1994, the County of Orange declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy, from which it emerged on June 12, 1996. The Orange County bankruptcy was the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history until Jefferson County, Alabama filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2011. Detroit followed in 2013.
In recent years, land use conflicts have arisen between established areas in the north and less developed areas in the south. These conflicts have regarded issues such as construction of new toll roads and the repurposing of a decommissioned air base. El Toro Marine Corps Air Station was designated by a voter measure in 1994 to be developed into an international airport to complement the existing John Wayne Airport. But subsequent voter initiatives and court actions have caused the airport plan to be permanently shelved. Instead, it will become the Orange County Great Park.
Orange County is a county in the U.S. state of California. Its county seat is Santa Ana. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,010,232, making it the third most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County and San Diego County. It's also the second most populous county in the Greater Los Angeles Area, after Los Angeles County. It is the sixth most populous county in the United States as of 2009 and the smallest county in Southern California by area. It's roughly half the size of Ventura County, Southern California's next smallest county. It is the second most densely populated county in the state, second only to San Francisco County. The county is famous for its tourism as the home of attractions like Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and several beaches along its more than 40 miles (64 km) of coastline. It is known for its political conservatism -- a 2005 academic study listed three Orange County cities as among America's 25 most conservative, making it one of two counties in the nation containing more than one such city. (Maricopa County, Arizona also has three cities on the list. ) It is part of the Tech Coast.
Orange County was at one time the largest county to have declared bankruptcy. In 1994, longtime treasurer Robert Citron's investment strategies left the county with inadequate capital to allow for any rise in interest rates for its trading positions. When the residents of Orange County voted down a proposal to raise taxes in order to balance the budget, bankruptcy followed soon after. Citron later pleaded guilty to six felonies regarding the matter.
Whereas most population centers in the United States tend to be identified by a major city, there is no defined urban center in Orange County. It is sometimes considered part of both the Los Angeles and San Diego metro areas. It is mostly suburban except for some traditionally urban areas at the centers of the older cities of Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Orange, and Santa Ana. There are several edge city-style developments such as Irvine Business Center, Newport Center, and South Coast Metro.
The city of Santa Ana serves as the county seat, Anaheim as its main tourist destination, and Irvine as its major business and financial hub. All of these three Orange County cities have populations exceeding 200,000. Thirty-four incorporated cities are located in Orange County; the newest is Aliso Viejo, which was incorporated in 2001. Anaheim was the first city incorporated in Orange County. It was incorporated in 1870, when the region was still part of neighboring Los Angeles County.
The city of San Juan Capistrano is the place where writer Johnston McCulley located the first novella about Zorro, entitled The Curse of Capistrano. It was published in 1919 and later renamed The Mark of Zorro.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 947.98 square miles (2,455.3 km2), of which 83.27 percent 789.40 square miles (2,044.5 km2) is land and 16.73 percent 158.57 square miles (410.7 km2) is water. It is the smallest county in Southern California. The average annual temperature is about 68 °F (20 °C).
Orange County is bordered on the southwest by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by Los Angeles County, on the northeast by San Bernardino County and Riverside County, and on the southeast by San Diego County.
The northwestern part of the county lies on the coastal plain of the Los Angeles Basin, while the southeastern end rises into the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. Most of Orange County's population reside in one of two shallow coastal valleys that lie in the basin, the Santa Ana Valley and the Saddleback Valley. The Santa Ana Mountains lie within the eastern boundaries of the county and of the Cleveland National Forest. The high point is Santiago Peak (5,689 feet (1,734 m) ), about 20 mi (32 km) east of Santa Ana. Santiago Peak and nearby Modjeska Peak, just 200 feet (60 m) shorter, form a ridge known as Saddleback, visible from almost everywhere in the county. The Peralta Hills extend westward from the Santa Ana Mountains through the communities of Anaheim Hills, Orange, and ending in Olive. The Loma Ridge is another prominent feature, running parallel to the Santa Ana Mountains through the central part of the county, separated from the taller mountains to the east by Santiago Canyon.
Orange County had 34 incorporated cities as of August 2006.