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The CityThe guide was updated:Napa, California is one of the state’s Golden Oldies; with a history extending back to 1847, it draws its beginnings from the California Gold Rush. Initially inhabited by Native Americans who lived harmoniously among the area’s elk, deer, grizzly bears, and cougars for centuries, Napa was then explored by Europeans in 1823. Spanish priests led the expeditions and sought to proselytize the Native populations (some with success). Spanish presence would vacillate to American settlements soon thereafter, as farmers began to arrive in the 1830s.
Nathan Coombs founded the City of Napa in 1847, following the purchase of 80 acres of Rancho Entre Napa from Nicholas Higuera. The city’s first business was a saloon, with the first general store being opened a year later. The California Gold Rush of the late 1850s led to Napa’s expansion and considerable economic success, and the Valley’s Great Silver Rush in 1858 also contributed to the city’s burgeoning mining industry.
It should not be overlooked that, much like all of California’s cities and towns, Napa itself was carved from the hardships and sweat of foreign-born laborers. Individuals from China’s Canton province, Southern Europe’s coastal provinces, Italy, and various other nations made the arduous trip overseas to meet the demand for workers in what were considered “dirty” jobs. Such investment led to the vibrant and modern city that Napa is today, and the citizens have done incredibly well to preserve this history in the numerous monuments and buildings that remain erect.
Prestigious vineyards, renowned hospitality, acclaimed cuisines and restaurants, and exquisite hotels comprise Napa’s attractions. It has become a widely successful tourism-based industry, and myriads of visitors each year discover why.