Many exciting and colorful events in San Diego’s history have shaped the city into becoming what it is today. Everything from its original Native American inhabitants to the missionaries from Spain and the strategic military advantages of San Diego have played a crucial role in the development and growth of this California city.

While it’s impossible to give a completely in-depth history of San Diego in a short amount of time, here are a few key milestones in the city’s history. Let’s get started!san diego things to do

Early Historical Roots

To fully appreciate San Diego’s rich historical background, it is necessary to go back to the very beginning of the city’s origins. One terrific way for tourists to do this is to visit the Old Town State Park.

Displaying beautiful settlements and structures from all the way back to the 1800’s, this park gives its visitors a breathtaking look into the vibrant depth of San Diego’s creation. While it won’t get you quite to the origins of the European colonialism in the area, it will get you a good deal of the way there!

The Spanish Missionaries

Another hugely significant element of the history of San Diego involves the Spanish missionaries who settled in the area in the late 1700’s. Notable for both their vivid historical detail and the oftentimes violent abuse of the indigenous population, these missions played a massive role in the establishment of the city.

Fortunately, there are several museums in the city that document these missions and the effect they had on San Diego. Visiting any of these museums while exploring the area would be an excellent choice for any tourist!

Military and WWII Events

Additionally, the military importance of San Diego or its proud historical role in WW2 cannot be overstated either. One fantastic way to get familiar with this history would be to visit the USS Midway Museum, which displays 25 different restored aircraft on a massive and historically significant US aircraft carrier.

In WWII, San Diego featured as an important “navy city” that most notably acted as the headquarters for the USA’s Pacific Fleet. This history can be seen on display at places like the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, which houses 30+ aircraft (many of them from the WW2 historical era.)

The Gold Rush

One of the first historical events that comes to many people’s minds is the 1849 Gold Rush. Through this gold rush, thousands of people poured into the state in hopes of finding their own small share of the riches to improve their living conditions.

In the city, this period is creatively and educationally recreated at the Julian community in East County, San Diego.

Visitors to the Julian community can explore old mines or pan for gold in the charming town located up in the mountains!

Cultural Significance

Lastly, there have been a great number of culturally significant movements that have graced the wonderful city of San Diego, resulting in a level of communal enrichment that can hardly be measured.

Among these cultural movements include the California surf culture that continues to thrive in San Diego’s beaches, as well as the city’s historical love of cars, boating, and kayaking.