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Sacramento lies on part of a Mexican land grant that belonged to John A. Sutter, who was an American pioneer of Swiss descent. In 1839 he founded the settlement of New Helvetia and a year later he constructed a fort there. The discovery of gold in 1848 at nearby Sutter's Mill, which is now called Coloma, led to the platting of the town and its population soon reached 10,000. The name of the town was changed to Sacramento and in 1854, it was made the state capital of California. In the late 20th century, Sacramento was one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Adjacent North Sacramento was annexed in 1965.

Sacramento is a deepwater port that is connected to Suisun Bay by a 69 km (43 miles) long channel. The channel was opened in 1963. The city is the shipping, rail, processing and marketing center for the fertile Sacramento valley, where fruit, vegetables, grains, sugar beets and dairy goods are produced. Cattle and poultry are raised in the area and food processing is a major industry. Aerospace and computer and electronics industries contribute greatly to the city's economy and other manufacturing includes printing and publishing, glass, wood products and building materials. The government is a major employer too.

Sacramento is the seat of California State University at Sacramento and has a professional basketball team, the Kings. The state capitol sits in a beautiful park. Another interesting place to visit is the former governor's mansion, which was occupied from 1903 to 1968. Nowadays it houses a museum. Other sights in the city include Sutter's Fort, the Crocker Art Museum and the Golden State Museum. Sacramento is known for its camellias, or festivals. An important camellia festival is held annually along with the California State Fair and Exposition.

There are numerous hotels and restaurants in Sacramento. The city is in central California, on the Sacramento River at its confluence with the American River. It is 3830 km west from Washington D.C.


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