The state's name is derived from a novel called "Las Sergas de Esplandián," which was published in 1510. The book, written by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, tells the story of a mythical island called California that is ruled by Queen Calafia and is said to be filled with gold and precious stones.
San Luis Obispo County is located in central California and has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The county is home to numerous Native American tribes who thrived in the region for centuries before the arrival of Spanish explorers. The Native American Chumash people lived in the area and were known for their sophisticated culture and trade networks.

In 1769, Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola led an expedition through the region, establishing the first European presence in what is now San Luis Obispo County. The Spanish established missions along the California coast, including Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, which was founded in 1772. The mission played a significant role in the region's history, attracting settlers and serving as an agricultural hub.

During the 19th century, San Luis Obispo County experienced rapid growth with the discovery of gold in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains. The county became an important stop on the journey to the gold fields, and the population boomed. Agriculture, particularly the dairy industry, also played a crucial role in the county's development during this time.

In the 20th century, San Luis Obispo County continued to grow and evolve. The completion of Highway 101 in the 1930s and the establishment of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in 1901 further contributed to the area's growth. Today, the county is known for its diverse landscapes, including stunning coastline, rolling hills, and charming small towns, making it a popular destination for tourists and residents alike.

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

  • 1769 - Spanish explorers arrive in the region
  • 1772 - Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa is founded
  • 1821 - Mexican War of Independence leads to Mexican control of the area
  • 1842 - San Luis Obispo becomes a Mexican Pueblo
  • 1848 - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends the Mexican-American War, transferring the area to the United States
  • 1850 - San Luis Obispo County is established
  • 1864 - Pacific Coast Railway arrives in San Luis Obispo
  • 1923 - Highway 1 is completed, connecting San Luis Obispo County to the rest of California's coast
  • 1934 - Diablo Canyon Power Plant begins operation
  • 1985 - Cal Poly's San Luis Obispo campus becomes the largest employer in the county