Santa Cruz is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California. As of 2013 the estimated Santa Cruz’s population at 62,864.
Santa Cruz is known for its moderate climate, the natural beauty of its coastline, redwood forests, alternative community lifestyles, and socially liberal leanings. It is also home to the University of California, Santa Cruz, a premier research institution and educational hub, as well as the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an oceanfront amusement park operating continuously since 1907.
The present-day site of Santa Cruz was the location of Spanish settlement beginning in 1791, including Mission Santa Cruz and the pueblo of Branciforte. Following the Mexican–American War of 1846–48, California became the 31st state in 1850. The City of Santa Cruz was incorporated in 1866 and chartered in April 1876. Important early industries included lumber, gunpowder, lime and agriculture. Late in the 19th century, Santa Cruz established itself as a beach resort community.
Santa Cruz has mild weather throughout the year, enjoying a Mediterranean climate characterized by cool, wet winters and warm, mostly dry summers. Due to its proximity to Monterey Bay, fog and low overcast are common during the night and morning hours, especially in the summer.
The principal industries of Santa Cruz are agriculture, tourism, education (UCSC) and high technology. Santa Cruz is a center of the organic agriculture movement, and many specialty products as well as housing the headquarters of California Certified Organic Farmers. Tourist attractions include the classic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on the beach, the redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains above the town, and Monterey Bay, which is protected as a marine sanctuary.