History of Silicon Valley

Today there are 2.5 million people living in the so called Silicon Valley. The valley includes 30 towns and is known as the world’s biggest high-tech zone. Silicon Valley is contained by San Francisco Bay in the east, Santa Cruz Mountains in the west and the Coast Range in the southeast. Its importance to the US developed over centuries.

The first significant event happened in 1848 when gold was discovered in the valley near Sacramento. After the discovery the Gold Rush began. People from all over the world came to the valley to find happiness and wealth. In 1849 the first ten thousand gold-seekers arrived in California. Later they were known as the “Forty-niners”.

In 1850 California becomes a state and because of the Gold Rush many nicknames were given. “The Golden State”, “The Land of Milk and Honey” and “The El Dorado State” are just a few examples. Suffering from violent disagreements over business during the first decades, the California Civil Code was adopted in 1872. It includes a special provision guaranteeing the freedom of employees in California.

In 1910 Lee de Forrest, the inventor of the triode, arrived in the San Francisco Bay area. This was later seen as the starting point of Silicon Valleys process of transforming into the worlds’ knowledge base of electronics. Silicon Valleys’ development was boosted by a number of defense contracts in World War 1 as well as World War 2.

In 1951 the Stanford Industrial Park was established. The high-tech center is working closely with the Stanford University. Five years later William Shockley, co-inventor of the semiconductor triode, founded the Shockley Semiconductor. A few years later eight of his employees left the company and founded Fairchild Semiconductor and just a few years after that, employees of this company left to found Intel. Within 20 years different employees of Shockley founded 65 new enterprises and made Silicon Valley the high-tech capital of the US.

In 1971 the term Silicon Valley was used for the area and became the official name for the valley shortly after that. Without all these great inventors coming to Silicon Valley and founding their own enterprises, the valley would not have as much significance to world as it has today.

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