Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the seat of government of Sacramento County. It is at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California’s expansive Central Valley. Its estimated 2014 population of 485,199 made it the sixth-largest city in California. Sacramento is the cultural and economic core of the Sacramento metropolitan area, which includes seven counties with a 2010 population of 2,414,783. Its metropolitan area is the fourth largest in California after the Greater Los Angeles area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the San Diego metropolitan area, and is the 27th largest in the United States. In 2002, the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University conducted for TIME magazine named Sacramento “America’s Most Diverse City”.
Sacramento became a city through the efforts of the Swiss immigrant John Sutter, Sr., his son John Sutter, Jr., and James W. Marshall. Sacramento grew quickly thanks to the protection of Sutter’s Fort, which was established by Sutter in 1839. During the California Gold Rush, Sacramento was a major distribution point, a commercial and agricultural center, and a terminus for wagon trains, stagecoaches, riverboats, the telegraph, the Pony Express, and the First Transcontinental Railroad.
The city was named after the Sacramento River, which forms its western border. The river was named by Spanish cavalry officer Gabriel Moraga for the Santísimo Sacramento (Blessed Sacrament), referring to the Catholic Eucharist.
California State University, Sacramento, more commonly known as Sacramento State or Sac State, is the largest university in the city and one of 23 campuses in the California State University system. University of the Pacific’s Sacramento Campus is a private university with one of its three campuses in Sacramento. In addition, the University of California, Davis, is in nearby Davis, 15 miles (24 km) west of the capital. The UC Davis Medical Center, a world-renowned research hospital, is located in the city of Sacramento.