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During World War II, California was home to several important military installations, including Naval Station Pearl Harbor and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The state's aircraft manufacturing industry also played a crucial role in the war effort.
Kern County, located in California's Central Valley, has a rich and diverse history. It was originally home to several Native American tribes, including the Yokuts and Kitanemuk people, who lived off the land for thousands of years.

The region was first explored by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century. In 1772, Father Francisco Garcés established a mission in the area, which brought the Catholic faith and European culture to the indigenous people. The Spanish presence expanded with the establishment of the El Camino Viejo trade route, also known as the Old Spanish Trail, which connected the missions of Alta California to New Mexico.

During the mid-19th century, Kern County experienced significant growth and development. The discovery of gold in the Kern River in 1851 attracted thousands of prospectors, leading to the establishment of the town of Havilah as the county seat. However, the gold rush soon subsided, and the county turned to agriculture as the dominant industry. The completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1870s further facilitated the transportation of crops, fueling the county's agricultural boom.

In the early 20th century, oil was discovered in Kern County, changing its landscape once again. The Kern River Field, discovered in 1899, became the first major oil field in California. This led to an oil boom that transformed Kern County into one of the largest oil-producing regions in the state. The economy flourished, attracting people from all over the country and bringing new wealth to the area.

Today, Kern County is known for its thriving agriculture and oil industries, as well as its natural beauty. The region is home to stunning landscapes, including the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the world-famous Sequoia National Forest. Kern County also boasts vibrant communities and a diverse population, which continues to shape its history and contribute to its ongoing development.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Kern County, California.

  • 1772 - Spanish explorer Pedro Fages explores the area
  • 1806 - Spanish missionaries establish a mission near the present-day site of Bakersfield
  • 1826 - Jedediah Smith becomes the first American to explore the region
  • 1851 - Gold is discovered in the Kern River
  • 1854 - Kern County is established as one of the original 27 counties in California
  • 1865 - Construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad begins in Kern County
  • 1899 - The first oil well is successfully drilled in Kern County, leading to the development of the local oil industry
  • 1913 - The city of Bakersfield is incorporated
  • 1952 - Completion of the Isabella Dam on the Kern River
  • 1977 - The Kern County Museum is founded