Delta History

The history of the Delta is the story of California, It’s not only the rivers that define the California Delta, but the people who were an integral part of the region’s development. For thousands of years, the Miwok and Yukut people lived along the converging rivers, and other tribes came and went with the seasons to trade and travel through the area. The numerous waterways made travel by boat and land accessible and the abundance of fish, game, and food for foraging created a region that was the most densely populated area in North America at the time of European discovery.

In 1849, the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill created the California Gold Rush, which brought miners and settlers from around the globe to strike claims and make it rich. People from many different cultures arrived in California and eventually, once the rush was over, moved to settle in Sacramento and the surrounding areas.

Stop in at any one of the Legacy Communities and discover the Delta’s many historical places – you’ll find that neighborly and community feeling often lost in the hustle and bustle of city living. Each town tells a story: Locke is the earliest settlement on the Sacramento River after the Gold Rush. This historic village, settled by immigrants from China, is filled with cultural icons and a deep history of the Delta. There are many reasons why the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area is California’s first and only NHA!

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