|City of Santa Barbara|
|— City —|
|City of Santa Barbara|
|The coastline of Santa Barbara|
|Nickname(s): The American Riviera, The Barb, The 805, SB, Santa Bruta, Silicon Beach|
|Location in Santa Barbara County and the state of California|
|- Mayor||Helene Schneider|
|- Senate||Tony Strickland (R)|
|- Assembly||Das Williams (D)|
|- U. S. Congress||Lois Capps (D)|
|- Total||dunams (111.6 km2 / 41.4 sq mi)|
|- Total||86,353 (city proper)|
|- Urban density|
|- Rural density|
|- Metro density|
|201,058 (2000, metro area)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|- Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|ZIP codes||93101-93103, 93105-93111, 93116-93118, 93120-93121, 93130, 93140, 93150, 93160, 93190, 93199|
|GNIS feature ID||1661401|
Santa Barbara is a city in Santa Barbara County, California, United States. Situated on an east-west trending section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply-rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara's climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city is sometimes referred to as the "American Riviera." As of the census of 2000, the city had a population of 92,325 while the contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria, along with the unincorporated regions of Isla Vista, Montecito, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and others, had an approximate population of 220,000.
In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, the city economy includes a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. In 2004, the service sector accounted for fully 35% of local employment. Education in particular is well-represented, with five institutions of higher learning on the south coast (the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, Antioch University, and the Brooks Institute of Photography.) The Santa Barbara Airport serves the city, as does Amtrak. U.S. Highway 101 connects the Santa Barbara area with Los Angeles to the south and San Francisco to the north. Behind the city, in and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Los Padres National Forest, which contains several remote wilderness areas.
The history of the city begins at least 13,000 years ago with the ancestors of the present-day Chumash. Evidence for a Paleoindian presence includes a fluted Clovis-like point found in the 1980s along the western Santa Barbara County coast, as well as the remains of Arlington Springs Man, found on Santa Rosa Island in the 1960s. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 Chumash lived on the south coast of Santa Barbara County when Portuguese explorer João Cabrilho sailed through the Santa Barbara Channel in 1542, anchoring briefly in the area. In 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino gave the name "Santa Barbara" to the region, in gratitude for having survived a violent storm in the Channel on December 3, the eve of the feast day of that saint.
A land expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá and accompanied by missionary Padre Junipero Serra visited in 1769, but did not stay. The first permanent European residents were Spanish missionaries and soldiers under Felipe de Neve and again accompanied by Serra, who came in 1782 to build the Presidio and Mission. They were sent both to fortify the region against expansion by other powers such as England and Russia, and to convert the natives to Christianity. Many of the Spaniards brought their families with them, and those formed the nucleus of the small town – at first just a cluster of adobes – that surrounded the Presidio. Mission Santa Barbara was dedicated December 4, 1786, the feast day of Saint Barbara. The Mission fathers began the slow work of converting the native Chumash to Christianity, building a village for them on the Mission grounds. Many of the natives died in the following decades of diseases such as smallpox to which they had no natural immunity.
The most dramatic event of the Spanish period was the powerful 1812 earthquake, and tsunami, with an estimated magnitude of 7.1, which destroyed the Mission as well as the rest of the town; water reached as high as present-day Anapamu street, and carried a ship half a mile up Refugio Canyon. Following the earthquake, the Mission fathers chose to rebuild in a grander manner, and it is this construction that survives to the present day, the best-preserved of the California Missions.
The Spanish period ended in 1822 with the end of the Mexican War of Independence which terminated three hundred years of colonial rule. The flag of Mexico went up the flagpole at the Presidio, but only for 24 years.
After the forced secularization of the Missions in 1833, the large land tracts formerly held by the Franciscan Order were distributed by the Mexican governor of California, Pio Pico, to various families in order to reward service or build alliances. These land grants to local notable families mark the beginning of the "Rancho Period" in California and Santa Barbara history. The population remained sparse, with enormous cattle operations run by wealthy families. It was during this period that Richard Henry Dana, Jr. first visited Santa Barbara and wrote about the culture and people of Santa Barbara in his book Two Years Before the Mast.
Santa Barbara fell bloodlessly to a battalion of American soldiers under John C. Frémont on December 27, 1846, during the Mexican-American War, and after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo it became part of the expanding United States.