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It is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions, such as the University of San Francisco (USF), University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco State University (SFSU), the De Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the California Academy of Sciences.

San Francisco has several nicknames, including "The City by the Bay", "Golden Gate City", The Yelamu group of the Ohlone people resided in a few small villages when an overland Spanish exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portolà, arrived on November 2, 1769, the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay.

Seven years later, on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores), established by the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza.

Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico.

By 1890, San Francisco's population approached 300,000, making it the eighth-largest city in the United States at the time.

In World War II, San Francisco was a major port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater.A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman's Wharf, and its Chinatown district.San Francisco is also the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., Fitbit, Salesforce.com, Dropbox, Reddit, Square, Inc., Dolby, Airbnb, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation, Craigslist, and Weather Underground.By 1870 Yerba Buena Cove had been filled to create new land.Buried ships are occasionally exposed when foundations are dug for new buildings.Some of these approximately 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships, saloons and hotels; many were left to rot and some were sunk to establish title to the underwater lot.

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