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San Clemente

Trip Planner USA  /  California  /  Orange County  /  San Clemente
(4.1/5 based on 1,500+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, beaches, trails
San Clemente is a city in Orange County, California. The population was 63,522 at the 2010 census. Located on the California Coast, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego at the southern tip of the county, it is known for its ocean, hill, and mountain views, a pleasant climate and its Spanish Colonial style architecture. San Clemente's city slogan is "Spanish Village by the Sea". The official city flower is the Bougainvillea; the official city tree, the Coral.HistoryEarly colonizationPrior to colonization by Spaniards, the area was inhabited by the Juaneño native people. Long admired by explorers and passing settlers, it remained virtually uninhabited until 1776, when Mission San Juan Capistrano was established by Father Junipero Serra, which led both Indian and Spanish settlers to establish villages nearby. After the founding of Mission San Juan Capistrano, the local natives were conscripted to work for the mission.Becoming a cityProperty rights to the land exchanged hands several times, but few ventured to build on it until 1925, when former Mayor of Seattle, Ole Hanson, an out of town, major land developer, with the financial help of a syndicate headed by Hamilton Cotton, purchased and designed a 2000acre community. Hanson believed that the area's pleasant climate, beautiful beaches and fertile soil would serve as a haven to Californians who were tired of "the big city". He was a man of strong convictions, that all hired help and nonwhites should live on the outskirts of town and unions workers should not be hired. He named the city after San Clemente Island, which in turn was named by the explorer Vizcaino in 1602 after Saint Clement, whose feast day occurs on November 23, the day of Vizcaino's arrival on the island. His "San Clemente by the Sea" and so it was known as for all his life and many years after.
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