Sonoma County is a county in the U. S. state of California. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 483,878 and its county seat and largest city is Santa Rosa. It is located to the north of Marin County and the south of Mendocino County and it is west of Napa County and Lake County. Sonoma County comprises the Santa Rosa, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area and it is the northwestern county in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area region. Sonoma is the county and largest producer of California’s Wine Country region, which also includes Napa, Mendocino. It possesses thirteen approved American Viticultural Areas and over 250 wineries, in 2002, Sonoma County ranked as the 32nd county in the United States in agricultural production. More than 7.4 million tourists each year, spending more than $1 billion in 2006. Sonoma County is the home of Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma County is home to several Native American tribes. By the 1830s, European settlement had set a new direction that would prove to radically alter the course of land use, Sonoma County has rich agricultural land, albeit largely divided between two nearly monocultural uses as of 2007, grapes and pasturage. The voters have twice approved open space initiatives that have provided funding for public acquisition of natural areas, preserving forested areas, coastal habitat, and other open space. The Pomo, Coast Miwok and Wappo peoples were the earliest human settlers of Sonoma County, spaniards, Russians, and other Europeans claimed and settled in the county from the late 16th to mid-19th century, seeking timber, fur, and farmland. The Russians were the first newcomers to establish a permanent foothold in Sonoma County and this settlement and its outlying Russian settlements came to include a population of several hundred Russian and Aleut settlers and a stockaded fort with artillery. However, the Russians abandoned it in 1841 and sold the fort to John Sutter, settler and Mexican land grantee of Sacramento. The Mission San Francisco Solano, founded in 1823 as the last and northernmost of 21 California missions, is in the present City of Sonoma, El Presidio de Sonoma, or Sonoma Barracks, was established in 1836 by Comandante General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. The City of Sonoma was the site of the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846, Sonoma was one of the original counties formed when California became a state in 1850, with its county seat originally the town of Sonoma. However, by the early 1850s, the town of Sonoma had declined in importance in terms of commerce and population, its county buildings were crumbling, and it was relatively remote. As a result, elements in the newer, rapidly growing towns of Petaluma, Santa Rosa, the dispute ultimately was between the bigger, richer commercial town of Petaluma and the more centrally located, growing agricultural center of Santa Rosa. Allegedly, several Santa Rosans, not caring to wait, decided to take action and, one night, rode down the Sonoma Valley to Sonoma, took the county seals and records, some of the countys land was annexed from Mendocino County between 1850 and 1860
Image: Lake Sonoma 2
Fort Ross was established by the Russians in 1812.
Pomo girl c. 1924, by Edward S. Curtis' from The North American Indian volume 14.