Great Value for Oakland Landlords
The earliest known inhabitants were the Huchiun Indians, who lived there for thousands of years. The Huchiun belonged to a linguistic grouping later called the Ohlone (a Miwok word meaning "western people"). In Oakland, they were concentrated around Lake Merritt and Temescal Creek, a stream that enters the San Francisco Bay at Emeryville.
In 1772, the area that later became Oakland was claimed, with the rest of California, by Spanish settlers for the King of Spain. In the early 19th century, the Spanish crown granted the East Bay area to Luis María Peralta for his Rancho San Antonio. The grant was confirmed by the successor Mexican republic upon its independence from Spain. Upon his death in 1842, Peralta divided his land among his four sons. Most of Oakland fell within the shares given to Antonio Maria and Vicente. The portion of the parcel that is now Oakland was called encinal—Spanish for "oak grove"—due to the large oak forest that covered the area, which eventually led to the city's name.
During the 1850s just as Gold was discovered in California; Oakland started growing and developing because land was becoming too expensive in San Francisco. The Chinese were struggling financially, as a result of the First Opium War, the Second Opium War, and the Taiping Rebellion, so they began migrating to Oakland in an effort to provide for their families in China. However, the Chinese struggled to settle because they were discriminated against by the white community and their living quarters got burned down on several occasions. The majority of the Chinese migrants lived in unhealthy conditions in China and they often had diseases, so Plague spread into San Francisco even though the Chinese were thoroughly inspected for diseases upon their arrival to San Francisco.
In 1851, three men—Horace Carpentier, Edson Adams, and Andrew Moon—began developing what is now downtown Oakland. In 1852, the Town of Oakland became incorporated by the state legislature. During this time, Oakland had 75-100 inhabitants, two hotels, a wharf, two warehouses, and only cattle trails. Two years later, on March 25, 1854, Oakland re-incorporated as the City of Oakland, with Horace Carpentier elected the first mayor, though a scandal ended his mayorship in less than a year. The city and its environs quickly grew with the railroads, becoming a major rail terminal in the late 1860s and 1870s. In 1868, the Central Pacific constructed the Oakland Long Wharf at Oakland Point, the site of today's Port of Oakland.
A number of horsecar and cable car lines were constructed in Oakland during the latter half of the 19th century. The first electric streetcar set out from Oakland to Berkeley in 1891, and other lines were converted and added over the course of the 1890s. The various streetcar companies operating in Oakland were acquired by Francis "Borax" Smith and consolidated into what eventually became known as the Key System, the predecessor of today's publicly owned AC Transit.