New7Wonders of Nature
New7Wonders of Nature was an initiative started in 2007 to create a list of seven natural wonders chosen by people through a global poll. It was led by Swiss-born Canadian Bernard Weber and organized by the New 7 Wonders Foundation, a Swiss-based foundation which Weber founded; the initiative followed an earlier New7Wonders of the World campaign, attracted 100 million votes from around the world before voting finished on November 11, 2011. The New7Wonders of Nature campaign started in 2007 after the campaign to elect the man-made New7Wonders of the World, in which more than 100 million votes were cast. From over 440 participants representing over 220 countries and through a national qualification and race to become one of the Top 77, as well as the recommendations of the Panel of Experts led by Prof. Federico Mayor, the list of 28 "Official Finalist Candidates" was determined. Voting until November 2011, during which time the New7Wonders World Tour planned to visit each of the finalists to allow them to present themselves to the voters across the globe.
Indonesia's Vice-Minister for Tourism said the company running the New7Wonders campaign used underhanded tactics, threatening to remove Indonesia's Komodo National Park from the list if Indonesia refused to host a declaration ceremony for $35M. Nothing in the New7Wonders voting procedure prohibited repetitive voting, making the results subject to government and tourism industry campaigns to vote for local sites with the financial incentive of increased tourism. Although New7Wonders is a non-profit organization that under US law has no disclosure of accounts, many activities related to administering voting and other logistical duties are run by the for-profit organization New Open World Corporation. In South Korea, over the past four years, millions of Koreans and non-Koreans at home and abroad were encouraged by the central and Jeju provincial governments to make phone calls to vote and help the island win the designation. Employees of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province of South Korea made hundreds of millions of international phone calls to ensure Jeju island was selected as one of the New7Wonders of Nature in a worldwide poll.
The payments estimated to be about 20 billion won. New7Wonders Cities New7Wonders of the World Wonders of the World Official website TV segment on Canada AM where travel expert Loren Christie explains the voting procedure
Doha is the capital and most populous city of the State of Qatar. Doha has a population of 1,850,000 in the city proper with the population close to 2.4 million. The city is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the east of the country, it is Qatar's fastest growing city, with over 80% of the nation's population living in Doha or its surrounding suburbs, it is the economic centre of the country. Doha was founded in the 1820s as an offshoot of Al Bidda, it was declared as the country's capital in 1971, when Qatar gained independence from being a British Protectorate. As the commercial capital of Qatar and one of the emergent financial centres in the Middle East, Doha is considered a world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Doha accommodates an area devoted to research and education; the city was host to the first ministerial-level meeting of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization negotiations. It was selected as host city of a number of sporting events, including the 2006 Asian Games, the 2011 Pan Arab Games and most of the games at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.
In December 2011, the World Petroleum Council held the 20th World Petroleum Conference in Doha. Additionally, the city hosted the 2012 UNFCCC Climate Negotiations and is set to host a large number of the venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup; the city will host the 140th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in April 2019. In May 2015, Doha was recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities together with Vigan, La Paz, Havana and Kuala Lumpur. According to the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, the name "Doha" originated from the Arabic term dohat, meaning "roundness" — a reference to the rounded bays surrounding the area's coastline; the city of Doha was formed seceding from another local settlement known as Al Bidda. The earliest documented mention of Al Bidda was made in 1681, by the Carmelite Convent, in an account which chronicles several settlements in Qatar. In the record, the ruler and a fort in the confines of Al Bidda are alluded to. Carsten Niebuhr, a German explorer who visited the Arabian Peninsula, created one of the first maps to depict the settlement in 1765 in which he labelled it as'Guttur'.
David Seaton, a British political resident in Muscat, wrote the first English record of Al Bidda in 1801. He describes the geography and defensive structures in the area, he stated that the town had been settled by the Sudan tribe, whom he considered to be pirates. Seaton attempted to bombard the town with his warship, but returned to Muscat upon finding that the waters were too shallow to position his warship within striking distance. In 1820, British surveyor R. H. Colebrook, who visited Al Bidda, remarked on the recent depopulation of the town, he wrote: Guttur – Or Ul Budee, once a considerable town, is protected by two square Ghurries near the sea shore. This could contain two hundred men. There are remaining at Ul Budee about 250 men, but the original inhabitants, who may be expected to return from Bahrein, will augment them to 900 or 1,000 men, if the Doasir tribe, who frequent the place as divers, again settle in it, from 600 to 800 men; the same year, an agreement known as the General Maritime Treaty was signed between the East India Company and the sheikhs of several Persian Gulf settlements.
It sought to end piracy and the slave trade. Bahrain became a party to the treaty, it was assumed that Qatar, perceived as a dependency of Bahrain by the British, was a party to it. Qatar, was not asked to fly the prescribed Trucial flag; as punishment for alleged piracy committed by the inhabitants of Al Bidda and breach of treaty, an East India Company vessel bombarded the town in 1821. They razed the town, forcing between 300 and 400 natives to flee and temporarily take shelter on the islands between the Qatar and the Trucial Coast. Doha was founded in the vicinity of Al Bidda sometime during the 1820s. In January 1823, political resident John MacLeod visited Al Bidda to meet with the ruler and initial founder of Doha, Buhur bin Jubrun, the chief of the Al-Buainain tribe. MacLeod noted. Following the founding of Doha, written records conflated Al Bidda and Doha due to the close proximity of the two settlements; that year, Lt. Guy and Lt. Brucks mapped and wrote a description of the two settlements.
Despite being mapped as two separate entities, they were referred to under the collective name of Al Bidda in the written description. In 1828, Mohammed bin Khamis, a prominent member of the Al-Buainain tribe and successor of Buhur bin Jubrun as chief of Al Bidda, was embroiled in controversy, he had murdered a native of Bahrain. In response, the Al-Buainain tribe revolted, provoking the Al Khalifa to destroy the tribe's fort and evict them to Fuwayrit and Ar Ru'ays; this incident allowed the Al Khalifa additional jurisdiction over the town. With no effective ruler, Al Bidda and Doha became a sanctuary for pirates and outlaws. In November 1839, an outlaw from Abu Dhabi named Ghuleta took refuge in Al Bidda, evoking a harsh response from the British. A. H. Nott, a British naval commander, demanded that Salemin bin Nasir Al-Suwaidi, chief of the Sudan tribe in Al Bidda, take Ghuleta into custody and warned
Havana is the capital city, largest city, major port, leading commercial center of Cuba. The city has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, it spans a total of 781.58 km2 – making it the largest city by area, the most populous city, the fourth largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean region. The city of Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the Americas, becoming a stopping point for treasure-laden Spanish galleons returning to Spain; the King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City in 1592. Walls as well as forts were built to protect the old city; the sinking of the U. S. battleship Maine in Havana's harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish–American War. The city is the center of the Cuban government, home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses and over 90 diplomatic offices; the current mayor is Marta Hernández of the Communist Party of Cuba. In 2009, the city/province had the third highest income in the country.
Contemporary Havana can be described as three cities in one: Old Havana and the newer suburban districts. The city extends westward and southward from the bay, entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbors: Mari melena and Antares; the sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay. The city attracts over a million tourists annually. Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982; the city is noted for its history, culture and monuments. As typical of Cuba, Havana experiences a tropical climate. Most native settlements became the site of Spanish colonial cities retaining their original Taíno names. Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar founded Havana on August 25, 1515, on the southern coast of the island, near the present town of Surgidero de Batabanó, or more on the banks of the Mayabeque River close to Playa Mayabeque. All attempts to found. However, an early map of Cuba drawn in 1514 places the town at the mouth of this river.
Between 1514 and 1519 the Spanish established at least two different settlements on the north coast, one of them in La Chorrera, today in the neighborhoods of Vedado and Miramar, next to the Almendares River. The town that became Havana originated adjacent to what was called Puerto de Carenas, in 1519; the quality of this natural bay, which now hosts Havana's harbor, warranted this change of location. Pánfilo de Narváez gave Havana – the sixth town founded by the Spanish on Cuba – its name: San Cristóbal de la Habana; the name combines patron saint of Havana. Shortly after the founding of Cuba's first cities, the island served as little more than a base for the Conquista of other lands. Havana began as a trading port, suffered regular attacks by buccaneers and French corsairs; the first attack and resultant burning of the city was by the French corsair Jacques de Sores in 1555. Such attacks convinced the Spanish Crown to fund the construction of the first fortresses in the main cities – not only to counteract the pirates and corsairs, but to exert more control over commerce with the West Indies, to limit the extensive contrabando that had arisen due to the trade restrictions imposed by the Casa de Contratación of Seville.
Ships from all over the New World carried products first to Havana, in order to be taken by the fleet to Spain. The thousands of ships gathered in the city's bay fueled Havana's agriculture and manufacture, since they had to be supplied with food and other products needed to traverse the ocean. On December 20, 1592, King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City. On, the city would be designated as "Key to the New World and Rampart of the West Indies" by the Spanish Crown. In the meantime, efforts to build or improve the defensive infrastructures of the city continued. Havana expanded in the 17th century. New buildings were constructed from the most abundant materials of the island wood, combining various Iberian architectural styles, as well as borrowing profusely from Canarian characteristics. In 1649, an epidemic of the fatal Yellow fever brought from Cartagena in Colombia affected a third of the European population of Havana. By the middle of the 18th century Havana had more than seventy thousand inhabitants, was the third-largest city in the Americas, ranking behind Lima and Mexico City but ahead of Boston and New York.
During the 18th century Havana was the most important of the Spanish ports because it had facilities where ships could be refitted and, by 1740, it had become Spain's largest and most active shipyard and only drydock in the New World. The city was captured by the British during the Seven Years' War; the episode began on June 6, 1762, when at dawn, a British fleet, comprising more than 50 ships and a combined force of over 11,000 men of the Royal Navy and Army, sailed into Cuban waters and made an amphibious landing east of Havana. The British opened up trade with their North American and Caribbean colonies, causing a rapid transformation of Cuban society. Less than a year after Havana was seized, the Peace of Paris was signed by the three warring powers thus ending the Seven Years' War; the treaty gave
Bolivia the Plurinational State of Bolivia is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The capital is Sucre; the largest city and principal industrial center is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located on the Llanos Orientales a flat region in the east of Bolivia. The sovereign state of Bolivia is a constitutionally unitary state, divided into nine departments, its geography varies from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is bordered to the north and east by Brazil, to the southeast by Paraguay, to the south by Argentina, to the southwest by Chile, to the northwest by Peru. One-third of the country is within the Andean mountain range. With 1,098,581 km2 of area, Bolivia is the fifth largest country in South America, the 27th largest in the world and the largest landlocked country in the Southern Hemisphere; the country's population, estimated at 11 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans and Africans.
The racial and social segregation that arose from Spanish colonialism has continued to the modern era. Spanish is the official and predominant language, although 36 indigenous languages have official status, of which the most spoken are Guarani and Quechua languages. Before Spanish colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was part of the Inca Empire, while the northern and eastern lowlands were inhabited by independent tribes. Spanish conquistadors arriving from Cuzco and Asunción took control of the region in the 16th century. During the Spanish colonial period Bolivia was administered by the Royal Audiencia of Charcas. Spain built its empire in large part upon the silver, extracted from Bolivia's mines. After the first call for independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar. Over the course of the 19th and early 20th century Bolivia lost control of several peripheral territories to neighboring countries including the seizure of its coastline by Chile in 1879.
Bolivia remained politically stable until 1971, when Hugo Banzer led a coup d'état which replaced the socialist government of Juan José Torres with a military dictatorship headed by Banzer. Banzer's regime cracked down on leftist and socialist opposition and other forms of dissent, resulting in the torture and deaths of a number of Bolivian citizens. Banzer was ousted in 1978 and returned as the democratically elected president of Bolivia from 1997 to 2001. Modern Bolivia is a charter member of the UN, IMF, NAM, OAS, ACTO, Bank of the South, ALBA and USAN. For over a decade Bolivia has had one of the highest economic growth rates in Latin America, it is a developing country, with a medium ranking in the Human Development Index, a poverty level of 38.6%, one of the lowest crime rates in Latin America. Its main economic activities include agriculture, fishing and manufacturing goods such as textiles, refined metals, refined petroleum. Bolivia is rich in minerals, including tin and lithium. Bolivia is named after Simón Bolívar, a Venezuelan leader in the Spanish American wars of independence.
The leader of Venezuela, Antonio José de Sucre, had been given the option by Bolívar to either unite Charcas with the newly formed Republic of Peru, to unite with the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, or to formally declare its independence from Spain as a wholly independent state. Sucre opted to create a brand new state and on 6 August 1825, with local support, named it in honor of Simón Bolívar; the original name was Republic of Bolívar. Some days congressman Manuel Martín Cruz proposed: "If from Romulus comes Rome from Bolívar comes Bolivia"; the name was approved by the Republic on 3 October 1825. In 2009, a new constitution changed the country's official name to "Plurinational State of Bolivia" in recognition of the multi-ethnic nature of the country and the enhanced position of Bolivia's indigenous peoples under the new constitution; the region now known as Bolivia had been occupied for over 2,500 years. However, present-day Aymara associate themselves with the ancient civilization of the Tiwanaku culture which had its capital at Tiwanaku, in Western Bolivia.
The capital city of Tiwanaku dates from as early as 1500 BC when it was a small, agriculturally based village. The community grew to urban proportions between AD 600 and AD 800, becoming an important regional power in the southern Andes. According to early estimates, the city covered 6.5 square kilometers at its maximum extent and had between 15,000 and 30,000 inhabitants. In 1996 satellite imaging was used to map the extent of fossilized suka kollus across the three primary valleys of Tiwanaku, arriving at population-carrying capacity estimates of anywhere between 285,000 and 1,482,000 people. Around AD 400, Tiwanaku went from being a locally dominant force to a predatory state. Tiwanaku expanded its reaches into the Yungas and brought its culture and way of life to many other cultures in Peru and Chile. Tiwanaku was not a violent culture in many respects. In order to expand its reach, Tiwanaku exercised great political astuteness, creating colonies, fostering trade agree
South Africa the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation, it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status; the remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures and religions, its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, regular elections have been held for a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics; the National Party imposed apartheid in 1948. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity in the wake of apartheid; the World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa; however and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, maintains significant regional influence; the name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, reflecting its origin from the unification of four separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long form name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa". In Dutch, the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Since 1994, the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa, while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".
South Africa contains human-fossil sites in the world. Archaeologists have recovered extensive fossil remains from a series of caves in Gauteng Province; the area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded "the Cradle of Humankind". The sites include one of the richest sites for hominin fossils in the world. Other sites include Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. Raymond Dart identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of Makapansgat in Limpopo Province and Florisbad in the Free State Province, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Klasies River Mouth in Eastern Cape Province and Pinnacle Point and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape Province; these finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus. There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans.
Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, they displaced and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoikhoi and San peoples. The Bantu moved south; the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people; the Xhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations
Kuala Lumpur the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, or known as KL, is the national capital and largest city in Malaysia. As the global city of Malaysia, it covers an area of 243 km2 and has an estimated population of 1.73 million as of 2016. Greater Kuala Lumpur known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.25 million people as of 2017. It is among the fastest growing metropolitan regions in Southeast Asia, in both population and economic development. Kuala Lumpur is the cultural and economic centre of Malaysia, it is home to the Parliament of Malaysia, the official residence of the Malaysian King, the Istana Negara. The city once held the headquarters of the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, but these were relocated to Putrajaya in early 1999. However, some sections of the political bodies still remain in Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur is one of the three Federal Territories of Malaysia, enclaved within the state of Selangor, on the central west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Since the 1990s, the city has played host to many international sporting and cultural events including the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Kuala Lumpur has undergone rapid development in recent decades, is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Towers, which have since become an iconic symbol of Malaysian development. Kuala Lumpur has a comprehensive road system supported by an extensive range of public transport networks, such as the Mass Rapid Transit, Light Metro, Bus Rapid Transit, commuter rail, an airport rail link. Kuala Lumpur is one of the leading cities in the world for tourism and shopping, being the tenth most-visited city in the world in 2017; the city houses three of the world's ten largest shopping malls. Kuala Lumpur has been ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking at No. 70 in the world, No. 2 in Southeast Asia after Singapore. EIU's Safe Cities Index of 2017 rated Kuala Lumpur 31st out of 60 on its world's safest cities list, safer than Beijing or Shanghai.
Kuala Lumpur was named as one of the New7Wonders Cities, has been named as World Book Capital 2020 by UNESCO. Kuala Lumpur means "muddy confluence" in Malay. One suggestion is. Doubts however have been raised on such a derivation as Kuala Lumpur lies at the confluence of Gombak River and Klang River, therefore should rightly be named Kuala Gombak as the point where one river joins a larger one or the sea is its kuala, it has been argued by some that Sungai Lumpur is in fact Gombak River, although Sungai Lumpur is said to be another river joining the Klang River a mile upstream from the Gombak confluence, or located to the north of the Batu Caves area. It has been proposed that Kuala Lumpur was named Pengkalan Lumpur in the same way that Klang was once called Pengkalan Batu, but became corrupted into Kuala Lumpur. Another suggestion is that it was a Cantonese word lam-pa meaning'flooded jungle' or'decayed jungle'. There is no firm contemporary evidence for these suggestions other than anecdotes.
It is possible that the name is a corrupted form of an earlier but now unidentifiable forgotten name. It is unknown who named the settlement called Kuala Lumpur. Chinese miners were involved in tin mining up the Selangor River in the 1840s about ten miles north of present-day Kuala Lumpur, Mandailing Sumatrans led by Raja Asal and Sutan Puasa were involved in tin mining and trade in the Ulu Klang region before 1860, Sumatrans may have settled in the upper reaches of Klang River in the first quarter of the 19th century earlier. Kuala Lumpur was a small hamlet of just a few houses and shops at the confluence of Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang before it grew into a town, it is accepted that Kuala Lumpur become established as a town circa 1857, when the Malay Chief of Klang, Raja Abdullah bin Raja Jaafar, aided by his brother Raja Juma'at of Lukut, raised funds from Malaccan Chinese businessmen to hire some Chinese miners from Lukut to open new tin mines here. The miners landed at Kuala Lumpur and continued their journey on foot to Ampang where the first mine was opened.
Kuala Lumpur was the furthest point up the Klang River to which supplies could conveniently be brought by boat. Although the early miners suffered a high death toll due to the malarial conditions of the jungle, the Ampang mines were successful, the first tin from these mines was exported in 1859. At that time Sutan Puasa was trading near Ampang, two traders from Lukut, Hiu Siew and Yap Ah Sze arrived in Kuala Lumpur where they set up shops to sell provisions to miners in exchange for tin; the town, spurred on by tin-mining, started to develop centred on Old Market Square, with roads radiating out towards Ampang as well as Pudu and Batu where miners started to settled in, Petaling and Damansara. The miners formed gangs among themselves. Leaders of the Chinese community were conferred the title of Kapitan Ci
San Francisco the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural and financial center of Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, the fourth-most populous in California, with 884,363 residents as of 2017, it covers an area of about 46.89 square miles at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, the fifth-most densely populated U. S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area; as of 2017, it was the seventh-highest income county in the United States, with a per capita personal income of $119,868. As of 2015, San Francisco proper had a GDP of $154.2 billion, a GDP per capita of $177,968. The San Francisco CSA was the country's third-largest urban economy as of 2017, with a GDP of $907 billion.
Of the 500+ primary statistical areas in the US, the San Francisco CSA had among the highest GDP per capita in 2017, at $93,938. San Francisco was ranked 14th in the world and third in the United States on the Global Financial Centres Index as of September 2018. San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís a few miles away, all named for St. Francis of Assisi; the California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856. San Francisco's status as the West Coast's largest city peaked between 1870 and 1900, when around 25% of California's population resided in the city proper. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, San Francisco was a major port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater.
It became the birthplace of the United Nations in 1945. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, significant immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the "hippie" counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. Politically, the city votes along liberal Democratic Party lines. A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman's Wharf, its Chinatown district. San Francisco is the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co. Gap Inc. Fitbit, Salesforce.com, Reddit, Inc. Dolby, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Pinterest, Uber, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation and Weather Underground.
It is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions, such as the University of San Francisco, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco State University, the De Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the California Academy of Sciences. As of 2019, San Francisco is the highest rated American city on world liveability rankings; the earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC. 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 on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís, established by the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza. Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico. Under Mexican rule, the mission system ended, its lands became privatized.
In 1835, Englishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead, near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican–American War, Captain John B. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30 of the next year, Mexico ceded the territory to the United States at the end of the war. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography; the California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers. With their sourdough bread in tow, prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia, raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849; the promise of great wealth was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor.
Some of these 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships and hotels.