Sacramento, California, the state capital and the seat of Sacramento County. It is situated on the east bank of the Sacramento River, some 80 miles (130 km) northeast of San Francisco. The Sacramento River is joined here by one of its chief tributaries, the American River. In the area between the two rivers are the business district and 40-acre (16-hectare) Capitol Park.
Sacramento is in the Central Valley agricultural region. There are many food processing and packaging plants in and around the city. A relatively high percentage of Sacramento's labor force is employed in state and federal agencies. McClellan Air Force Base is here. Other major employers include manufacturers of computers, construction materials, and railroad products. The railroad repair and maintenance shops in the Sacramento metropolitan area are among the largest in the country.
Interstate highways 5 and 80, railroads, and Sacramento International Airport serve the city. The Port of Sacramento is linked to San Francisco Bay by a ship channel 30 feet (9 m) deep. Rice and other grains are among the principal items shipped out by water.
The state capitol, completed in 1874, is of Classic Revival design and stands in Capitol Park. The state library, near the park, houses murals depicting California's history from the earliest Spanish days. Nearby is Sutter's Fort State Historical Park, containing relics of pioneer times and the California gold rush. The California State Indian Museum is adjacent to the fort. Crocker Art Museum displays sculpture, paintings, and drawings.
Old Sacramento is a 28-acre (11-hectare) historic district along the river, featuring restorations and reconstructions of 19th-century buildings. Nearby is the California State Railroad Museum. Sacramento has an opera company, a theater company, and a ballet. The Sacramento Kings and the Sacramento Monarchs professional basketball teams play at the Arco Arena. California State University, Sacramento, is one of several institutions of higher learning in the area.
Sacramento has a council–manager form of government.
In 1839 Captain John Augustus Sutter, a Swiss immigrant, established a fort on a large land grant from Mexico near the junction of the American and Sacramento rivers. Around the fort grew the colony of New Helvetia, which had a population of more than 200 by the time gold was discovered nearby in 1848. The following year the town of Sacramento was laid out, and it soon became the supply and shipping center for the goldfields. By the time of its incorporation in 1850 the new town had a population of nearly 7,000. In 1854 Sacramento was made the state capital.
Much of the city's early growth was due to its position as a transportation center. Already the terminus for the California Trail, Sacramento by the 1860's had become the western terminus of such routes as the Pony Express, the Overland Stage Route, and the transcontinental railroad.