California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U. S. the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento; the Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, the country's second most populous, after New York City. California has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, its largest county by area, San Bernardino County; the City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. California's $3.0 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state, larger than those of Texas and Florida combined, the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world, the 36th most populous as of 2017.
The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies, after the New York metropolitan area. The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2017 among large PSAs, is home to three of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization and four of the world's ten richest people. California is considered a global trendsetter in popular culture, innovation and politics, it is considered the origin of the American film industry, the hippie counterculture, fast food, the Internet, the personal computer, among others. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are seen as global centers of the technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California has a diverse economy: 58% of the state's economy is centered on finance, real estate services and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.
S. state. California is bordered by Oregon to the north and Arizona to the east, the Mexican state of Baja California to the south; the state's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east, from the redwood–Douglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well-known for its warm Mediterranean climate, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. Over time and wildfires have become more pervasive features. What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries; the Spanish Empire claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War.
The western portion of Alta California was organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom; the word California referred to the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico. The name derived from the mythical island California in the fictional story of Queen Calafia, as recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo; this work was the fifth in a popular Spanish chivalric romance series that began with Amadis de Gaula. Queen Calafia's kingdom was said to be a remote land rich in gold and pearls, inhabited by beautiful black women who wore gold armor and lived like Amazons, as well as griffins and other strange beasts. In the fictional paradise, the ruler Queen Calafia fought alongside Muslims and her name may have been chosen to echo the title of a Muslim leader, the Caliph. It's possible.
Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, inhabited by black women without a single man among them, they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with great virtue; the island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the craggy rocks. Shortened forms of the state's name include CA, Cal. Calif. and US-CA. Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America. Various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000; the Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups were diverse in their political organization with bands, villages, on the resource-rich coasts, large chiefdoms, such as the Chumash and Salinan.
Trade, intermarriage a
San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley is the area of the Central Valley of the U. S. state of California that lies south of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and is drained by the San Joaquin River. It comprises seven counties of Northern and one of Southern California, including, in the north, all of San Joaquin and Kings counties, most of Stanislaus and Fresno counties, parts of Madera and Tulare counties, along with a majority of Kern County, in Southern California. Although a majority of the valley is rural, it does contain cities such as Fresno, Stockton, Turlock, Porterville, Visalia and Hanford. San Joaquin Valley was inhabited by the Yokuts and Miwok peoples; the first European to enter the valley was Pedro Fages in 1772. The San Joaquin Valley extends from the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta in the north to the Tehachapi Mountains in the south, from the various California coastal ranges in the west to the Sierra Nevada in the east. Unlike the Sacramento Valley, the river system for which the San Joaquin Valley is named does not extend far along the valley.
Most of the valley south of Fresno, drains into Tulare Lake, which no longer exists continuously due to diversion of its sources. The valley's primary river is the San Joaquin, which drains north through about half of the valley into the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta; the Kings and Kern Rivers are in the southern endorheic basin of the valley, all of which have been diverted for agricultural uses and are dry in their lower reaches. The San Joaquin Valley began to form about 66 million years ago during the early Paleocene era. Broad fluctuations in the sea level caused various areas of the valley to be flooded with ocean water for the next 60 million years. About 5 million years ago, the marine outlets began to close due to uplift of the coastal ranges and the deposition of sediment in the valley. Starting 2 million years ago, a series of glacial episodes periodically caused much of the valley to become a fresh water lake. Lake Corcoran was the last widespread lake to fill the valley about 700,000 years ago.
At the beginning of the Holocene there were three major lakes remaining in the southern part of the Valley, Tulare Lake, Buena Vista Lake and Kern Lake. In the late 19th and in the 20th century, agricultural diversion of the Kern River dried out these lakes. Today, only a fragment of Buena Vista Lake remains as two small lakes Lake Webb and Lake Evans in a portion of the former Buena Vista Lakebed The San Joaquin Valley has hot, dry summers and has enjoyed cool rainy winters characterized by dense tule fog, its rainy season runs from November through April, but since 2011 when a drought became evident it received minimal to no rain at all. The drought was still extant by mid-August 2014 with scientists saying it would continue indefinitely, for anywhere from several years to several decades to come; as of February 2017 the majority of the Valley experienced a reprieve from the drought. However, as of February 2018, much of the Valley appears to be headed back into drought along with much of the rest of the State.
In August 2015, the Director of the California Department of Water Resources stated, "Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows—up to 100 feet lower than previous records." Research from NASA shows that parts of the San Joaquin Valley sank as much as 8 inches in a four-month period, land near Corcoran sank 13 inches in 8 months. The sinking has destroyed thousands of groundwater well casings and has the potential to damage aqueducts, roads and flood-control structures. In the long term, the subsidence caused by extracting groundwater could irreversibly reduce the underground aquifer's water storage capacity, although immediate and short term needs are given higher priority and sense of urgency than long term sustainability; the National Weather Service Forecast Office for the San Joaquin Valley is located in Hanford and includes a Doppler weather radar. Weather forecasts and climatological information for the San Joaquin Valley are available from its official website.
The total population of the eight counties comprising the San Joaquin Valley at the time of the 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates by United States Census Bureau reported a population of 4,080,509. The racial composition of San Joaquin Valley was 2,775,074 White, 193,694 Black or African American, 40,911 American Indian and Alaska Native, 310,557 Asian, 13,000 Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 2,048,280 Hispanic or Latino; the educational attainment of high school graduate or higher is 72.7%. By some estimates, federal restrictions on shallow well irrigation systems threaten the productivity of the San Joaquin Valley, which produces the majority of the 12.8% of the United States' agricultural production that comes from California. Grapes—table, to a lesser extent wine—are the valley's highest-profile product, but important are cotton, nuts and vegetables; the San Joaquin Valley has been called "The food basket of the world", for the diversity of its produce. Walnuts, peaches, tangerines, kiwis, hay and numerous other crops have been harvested with great success.
DeRuosi Nut, a large walnut processing plant in Escalon, has been in the valley since 1947. Certain places are identified quite with a given crop: Stockton produces the majority of the domestic asparagus consumed in the United States, Fresno is the largest produ
Merced is a city in, the county seat of, Merced County, United States, in the San Joaquin Valley. As of 2014, the city had a population of 81,743. Incorporated on April 1, 1889, Merced is a charter city that operates under a council-manager government, it is named after the Merced River. Merced, known as the "Gateway to Yosemite," is less than two hours by automobile from Yosemite National Park to the east and Monterey Bay, the Pacific Ocean, multiple beaches to the west; the community is served by the passenger rail service Amtrak, a minor subsidized airline through Merced Regional Airport, three bus lines. It is 110 miles from Sacramento, 130 miles from San Francisco, 45 miles from Fresno, 270 miles from Los Angeles. In 2005, the city became home to the 10th University of California campus, University of California, the first research university built in the U. S. in the 21st century. Since 2005, Merced has been home to University of Merced. Current recreational opportunities in the city include Applegate Park and zoo and Black Rascal Creeks and their bike trails, a skate park located in Applegate, Playhouse Merced, a live-stage theater downtown, two first-run movie theaters, The Mainzer Theater, known for its historic and architectural value, the County Courthouse Museum circa 1889, the Merced Multicultural Arts Center and the County Library.
Though still growing, Merced has several shopping areas including the Merced Mall, anchored by Target, Sears, JCPenney and Kohl's, a strip mall located on the city's northwest side which includes Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Lowe's, Wal-Mart, several restaurants. Merced's Main Street contains several restaurants, a movie theater, other assorted shops. Within a short distance from the city limits are the Castle Air Museum, Lake Yosemite, Merced Falls. Merced is the headquarters of Malibu Boats, a manufacturer of inboard boats; the city of Merced along with its surrounding cities are serviced by the Merced Sun-Star and the Merced County Times. The Sun-Star daily newspaper has a circulation of over 20,000 in the Merced area and the Times weekly newspaper has a circulation of over 5,000. Homes at the median level in Merced had lost 62% of their value from the second quarter of 2006, when they peaked at $336,743, the biggest drop anywhere in the country, according to data provided to Forbes by Local Market Monitor, a Cary, North-Carolina-based real-estate research firm.
Home prices have since rebounded, with the median sale price in April 2018 at $247,000. Earlier, home building and buying grew exponentially in Merced, but the metro area went to a 14.2% unemployment rate in December 2013. Having since recovered to a rate of 8.7% in April 2018, it is still above the national and state unemployment averages. However, some efforts have been directed towards diversifying its economy and are showing a lowering trend in the overall unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the Great Recession Merced suffered one of the greatest property price collapses in the country and house prices at the end of 2009 had fallen to 1998 levels, according to Zillow, making housing affordable compared to many other California locations. Merced's population has grown faster than the state average since 1980. Over the past nine years, the annualized growth rate is about 3.4%. This rapid expansion of population has stimulated significant retail growth since 1992.
Several major retail chain stores have entered Merced, adding over 750,000 square feet of new retail space in that time and increasing the City's sales tax receipts by over $500,000 annually. On 6/19/2018, Merced appeared on the MSN.com portal page as one of the 50 worst cities in the USA The economy has traditionally relied upon agribusiness and upon the presence of Castle Air Force Base. Over the past twenty years, more diversified industry has entered the area, including printing, fiberglass boat building and distribution, packaging industries. In September 1995, Castle Air Force Base closed after phasing down over the previous three years; this affected residential real estate and some sectors of the retail and service economies but overall retail continued to increase. No significant increase in unemployment was noted. Re-use of the former base is proceeding. Industrial development is increasing in the area. Since 1992, more than 400,000 square feet of new industrial activity has started.
In May 1995, Merced was selected as the home of the next University of California campus. UC Merced opened with its first 1,000 students in September 2005. Local planning is underway to accommodate campus development, which will accommodate about 25,000 students; the first Merced post office opened in 1870. Merced now operates under the Council-Manager form of government. During World War II, the Merced County fairgrounds were the site of a temporary "assembly center" where Japanese Americans were detained after being removed from their West Coast homes under Executive Order 9066. 4,669 men and children from central California were confined in the Merced Assembly Center from May 6 to September 15, 1942, when they were transferred to the more permanent Granada internment camp in Colorado. State Route 59 State Route 99 State Route 140 Merced Regional Airport. Passenger service provided by Boutique Air. Castle Airport in nearby Atwater, California. Greyhound, Intercalifornias, TUFESA and Fronteras del Norte serve Merced.
YARTS provides scheduled service into Yosemite National Park. Merced County Transit, "The Bus", operates both scheduled fixed route bus service and Dial
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
To cities, towns, charter townships and boroughs. The term can be used to describe municipally owned corporations. Municipal incorporation occurs when such municipalities become self-governing entities under the laws of the state or province in which they are located; this event is marked by the award or declaration of a municipal charter. A city charter or town charter or municipal charter is a legal document establishing a municipality, such as a city or town. In Canada, charters are granted by provincial authorities; the Corporation of Chennai is the oldest Municipal Corporation in the world after UK. The title "corporation" was used in boroughs from soon after the Norman conquest until the Local Government Act 2001. Under the 2001 act, county boroughs were renamed "cities" and their corporations became "city councils". After the Partition of Ireland, the corporations in the Irish Free State were Dublin, Cork and Waterford and Drogheda, Sligo and Wexford. Dún Laoghaire gained borough status in 1930 as “The Corporation of Dun Laoghaire".
Galway's borough status, lost in 1840, was restored in 1937. The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 allowed municipal corporations to be established within the new Provinces of New Zealand; the term fell out of favour following the abolition of the Provinces in 1876. In the United States, such municipal corporations are established by charters that are granted either directly by a state legislature by means of local legislation, or indirectly under a general municipal corporation law after the proposed charter has passed a referendum vote of the affected population. Under the enterprise meaning of the term, municipal corporations are "organisations with independent corporate status, managed by an executive board appointed by local government officials, with majority public ownership"; some MOCs rely on revenue from user fees, distinguishing them from agencies and special districts funded through taxation, although this is not always the case. Municipal corporation follows a process of externalization that requires new skills and orientations from the respective local governments, follow common changes in the institutional landscape of public services.
They are argued to be more efficient than bureaucracy but have higher failure rates because of their legal and managerial autonomy. Unincorporated area German town law Municipal incorporationA Brief Summary of Municipal Incorporation Procedures by State - University of Georgia Characteristics and State Requirements for Incorporated Places - United States CensusMunicipal disincorporation / dissolutionDissolving Cities - University of California, Berkeley Municipal Disincorporation in California - California City Finance
Merced County, California
Merced County, is a county located in the northern San Joaquin Valley section of the Central Valley, in the U. S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 255,793; the county seat is Merced. The county is named after the Merced River. Merced County comprises the Merced, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, included in the Modesto-Merced, CA Combined Statistical Area, it is located north of Fresno County and Fresno, southeast of Santa Clara County and San Jose. The county derives its name from the Merced River, or El Río de Nuestra Señora de la Merced, named in 1806 by an expedition headed by Gabriel Moraga, which came upon it at the end of a hot dusty ride on the El Camino Viejo across the San Joaquin Valley in Spanish colonial Las Californias Province. Between 1841 and 1844, during the period when Alta California was a territory of independent Mexico, four Mexican land grants were made in what became Merced County: Rancho Orestimba y Las Garzas, Rancho Panoche de San Juan y Los Carrisolitos, Rancho San Luis Gonzaga, Rancho Sanjon de Santa Rita Merced County was formed in 1855 from parts of Mariposa County.
Parts of its territory were given to Fresno County in 1856. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,979 square miles, of which 1,935 square miles is land and 44 square miles is water. Merced National Wildlife Refuge San Luis National Wildlife Refuge The 2010 United States Census reported that Merced County had a population of 255,793; the racial makeup of Merced County was 148,381 White, 9,926 African American, 3,473 Native American, 18,836 Asian, 583 Pacific Islander, 62,665 from other races, 11,929 from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 140,485 persons; as of the census of 2000, there were 210,554 people, 63,815 households, 49,775 families residing in the county. The population density was 109 people per square mile. There were 68,373 housing units at an average density of 36 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 56.2% White, 3.8% Black or African American, 1.2% Native American, 6.8% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 26.1% from other races, 5.7% from two or more races.
45.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 6.6% were of Portuguese and 6.0% German ancestry according to Census 2000. 55.1% spoke English, 35.3% Spanish, 3.2% Hmong, 2.9% Portuguese and 1.0% Punjabi as their first language. There were 63,815 households out of which 45.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 22.0% were non-families. 17.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.25 and the average family size was 3.69. In the county, the population was spread out with 34.5% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 99.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.6 males. The median income for a household in the county was $35,532, the median income for a family was $38,009.
Males had a median income of $31,721 versus $23,911 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,257. About 16.9% of families and 21.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.4% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over. As of 2008, according to the Lao Family Community, a nonprofit organization, about 8,000 Hmong lived in Merced County. Merced County is a California Constitution defined general law county and is governed by an elected Board of Supervisors; the Board consists of five members, elected by districts. The Merced County Sheriff provides court protection, jail administration, coroner service for the entire county, it provides patrol and other police services for the unincorporated parts of the county. The main sheriff station and offices are at Merced. There are two sheriff's substations. A Grand Jury report in 2010 stated that the Sheriff processed 12,746 average jail bookings per year with an average daily jail population of 1,123. Municipal police departments in the county are: Merced, population 83,000.
In the United States House of Representatives, Merced County is in California's 16th congressional district, represented by Democrat Jim Costa. In the California State Legislature, Merced County is in the 21st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Adam Gray, the 12th Senate District, represented by Democrat Anna Caballero. Merced County voted for the winning candidate for president in every election from 1972-2012, before voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrat Barack Obama won a majority in the county in both 2008 and 2012. Republican George W. Bush won a majority in the county in both 2000 and 2004. According to the California Secretary of State, as of October 20, 2008, there were 97,179 registered voters in Merced County. Of those, 44,704 are registered Democratic, 35,955 are registered Republican, 3,090 are registered with other political parties, 13,430 declined to state a political party. Atwater and the unincorporated areas of Merced County have Republican plurality registration advantages.
All of the other cities and towns in the county have Democratic pluralities or majorities in voter registration. The following table includes the number of incidents reported and t
North American Numbering Plan
The North American Numbering Plan is a telephone numbering plan that encompasses twenty-five distinct regions in twenty countries in North America, including the Caribbean. Some North American countries, most notably Mexico, do not participate in the NANP; the NANP was devised in the 1940s by AT&T for the Bell System and independent telephone operators in North America to unify the diverse local numbering plans, established in the preceding decades. AT&T continued to administer the numbering plan until the breakup of the Bell System, when administration was delegated to the North American Numbering Plan Administration, a service, procured from the private sector by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States; each participating country forms a regulatory authority that has plenary control over local numbering resources. The FCC serves as the U. S. regulator. Canadian numbering decisions are made by the Canadian Numbering Administration Consortium; the NANP divides the territories of its members into numbering plan areas which are encoded numerically with a three-digit telephone number prefix called the area code.
Each telephone is assigned a seven-digit telephone number unique only within its respective plan area. The telephone number consists of a four-digit station number; the combination of an area code and the telephone number serves as a destination routing address in the public switched telephone network. For international call routing, the NANP has been assigned the international calling code 1 by the International Telecommunications Union; the North American Numbering Plan conforms with ITU Recommendation E.164, which establishes an international numbering framework. From its beginnings in 1876 and throughout the first part of the 20th century, the Bell System grew from local or regional telephone systems; these systems expanded by growing their subscriber bases, as well as increasing their service areas by implementing additional local exchanges that were interconnected with tie trunks. It was the responsibility of each local administration to design telephone numbering plans that accommodated the local requirements and growth.
As a result, the Bell System as a whole developed into an unorganized system of many differing local numbering systems. The diversity impeded the efficient operation and interconnection of exchanges into a nationwide system for long-distance telephone communication. By the 1940s, the Bell System set out to unify the various numbering plans in existence and developed the North American Numbering Plan as a unified, systematic approach to efficient long-distance service that did not require the involvement of switchboard operators; the new numbering plan was accepted in October 1947, dividing most of North America into eighty-six numbering plan areas. Each NPA was assigned a numbering plan area code abbreviated as area code; these codes were first used by long-distance operators to establish long-distance calls between toll offices. The first customer-dialed direct call using area codes was made on November 10, 1951, from Englewood, New Jersey, to Alameda, California. Direct distance dialing was subsequently introduced across the country.
By the early 1960s, most areas of the Bell System had been converted and DDD had become commonplace in cities and most larger towns. In the following decades, the system expanded to include all of the United States and its territories, Canada and seventeen nations of the Caribbean. By 1967, 129 area codes had been assigned. At the request of the British Colonial Office, the numbering plan was first expanded to Bermuda and the British West Indies because of their historic telecommunications administration through Canada as parts of the British Empire and their continued associations with Canada during the years of the telegraph and the All Red Line system. Not all North American countries participate in the NANP. Exceptions include Mexico, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the Central American countries and some Caribbean countries; the only Spanish-speaking state in the system is the Dominican Republic. Mexican participation was planned, but implementation stopped after three area codes had been assigned, Mexico opted for an international numbering format, using country code 52.
The area codes in use were subsequently withdrawn in 1991. Area code 905 for Mexico City, was reassigned to a split of area code 416 in the Greater Toronto Area. Dutch-speaking Sint Maarten joined the NANP in September 2011, receiving area code 721; the NANP is administered by the North American Numbering Plan Administration. Today, this function is overseen by the Federal Communications Commission, which assumed the responsibility upon the breakup of the Bell System; the FCC solicits private sector contracts for the role of the administrator. The service was provided by a division of Lockheed Martin. In 1997, the contract was awarded to Neustar Inc.. In 2012, the contract was renewed until 2017. In 2015, the contract beginning 2017 was granted to Ericsson; the vision and goal of the architects of the North American Numbering Plan was a system by which telephone subscribers in the United States and Canada could themselves dial and establish a telephone call to any other subscriber wi