San Francisco

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San Françisco is the third largest city within Montréi. It is located on a peninsula by the great San Françisco Bay to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It has a population of 756,489 people.

San Françisco was inhabited by the Ielamu tribe of the Aulón people, which have lived between San Françisco and Punto Deu Sur to the south of Montréi. European settlers founded their first settlement in 1776 and called it Érva Böna, but later changed it to San Françisco.

The City is the major port within Montréi due to its well protected bay, which allows for a much larger harbor than the city of Montréi is able to provide. The main shipping areas are actually across the bay in the city of Los Rouls de l'Alaméa.

History

San Françisco was settled much later than the city of Montréi. European explorers did not discover the site of the city until 1670, due to the persistent fog which often obscured the strait of the Pörta d'Oro. When the strait was finally discovered, the explorers found a tribe of people, related to those around the City of Montréi called the Ielamu.

Soon, friars in Montréi started a small mission called San Francisco de Assisi, but called the city Êrba Bôna. They also started a small presidio at the far north end of the peninsula to protect it from possible invaders, building a small stone citadel on the site overlooking the strait.

The city remained a relatively quiet backwater until 1854 when gold was discovered. San Françisco was already a bustling port, as the port had been moved from Montréi to San Françisco due to its better harbor areas and more protected bay. However, the discovery of gold allowed the government of Montréi to improve the port, which allowed it to open up trade with other nations, primarily Japan (which was seen by western eyes as an incredible opportunity). When Montréi offered mining and trade deals to Japan, the Japanese sent their ships only to the port in San Françisco, bringing along with them much desired porcelains and silks. The Japanese who came over frequently stayed and built a large community in the city Called Nihonmatxi (the Japanese are the largest non-Latino ethnicity in the city, roughly 1/3 of the city population). Other nations soon followed and San Françisco became a prosperous city by 1863.

This prosperity also lead to a building boom. Since traditional materials were scarce, such as adobe for buildings, wood was shipped from the lumber mills to the south and east of San Françisco to provide building materials. By 1871, the building boom had expanded San Françisco to fill 2/3 of the area it does today, with buildings made entirely of wood. The drawback to all of these wooden buildings were their succeptibility to fire. Since 1854, the city experienced about 6 fires, none of which destroyed much of the city, but in 1879, a disastrous fire swept through the city, burning down 90% of the city, leaving only older adobes and stone buildings standing.

Distastrous fire of 1879

After the fire of 1879, the city rebuilt, only to experience the worst natural disaster in its history. on the 18th of April, 1906, an earthquake struck with an estimated magnitue of 7.8 on the Richter scale. This quake demolished most of the brick buildings within the city. Fires broke out all over the city, and had the water mains not ruptured, the city could have been saved. This time only 80% of the city burned.

Palaço de las Arts Beuias - photo by QT Luong, all rights reserved. http://www.terragalleria.com

By 1915, city officals were determined to show how San Françisco had recovered, and they hosted the Nicaragua-Pacific Exposition, which while celebrating the Nicaragua Canal, also was a way to showcase how the city had fully recovered and how beautiful it was. The city built many papier maché and plaster buildings for the event, but because residents loved the Paláço de las Arts Beuias - Palace of Fine Arts, the city rebuilt it in stone and plaster, hiring plasterers from Italy to complete the job. The building was inspired by Roman and Greek Architecture.

The city was relatively quiet until 1989, when a fault ruptured in the Santa Cruç Mountains, destroying the Marina district and causing several small fires. Damage was not nearly as bad as in the city of santa Cruç itself, due to better construction, although 20% of the buildings in the city collapsed. The destroyed areas were rebuilt within a decade.

Geography

San Françisco sits on a large peninsula about 155 miles to the north of the city of Montréi. The peninsula is an extension of the coast ranges, and as such, the city has a hilly topography. Picos Gemelos is one of the more noticeable hills, with an elevation of 920 feet, it offers stunning views of the city. There were many small seasonal creeks and springs throughout the peninsula that provided drinking water to the city. As the city grew, the San Mateo creek was dammed to provide drinking water for the city, and a second dam was built further up creek.

As Montréi has not built bridges to cross the bay or the Pôrta d'Oro strait, all crossings from the eastern side of the bay or the north are via ferries, or a subterranean metro system which crosses under the bay. This has been considered an inconvenience but few people live north or east of the city, so Montréi has never seen it as a necessity to build bridges linking the other shores. As the communities grow along the north and eastern sides of the bay, it will most likely become a necessity to build these bridges.

Neighborhoods

San Françisco boasts several large ethnic neighborhoods:

  • Nihonmatxi - Originally founded by Japanese immigrants who came to mine minerals, gold and other metals, many of these families decided to stay and settled in San Françisco. Later, merchants came to sell Japanese wares, and ship regional goods from Montréi back to Japan. The district is about 24 blocks, with the largest Cabuqui theater in North America, There is also a Nò theater. One of the largest Japanese Buddhist temple complexes outside of Japan is located there as a gift of goodwill from Japan to the people of Montréi. This temple is surrounded by a large Japanese garden.
  • Distrito Txino - The Chinese district is rather small, occupying a modest 8 blocks in San Françisco. Most of these are families who emigrated to Montréi to ship dried seafoods caught by Chinese fishermen in the city of Montréi. While it is a modest neighborhood, the New Years festival is considered a lively event and is quite popular with residents of San Françisco.
  • Rusita - About the size of the Distrito Txino, Russian families moved out of the former Fort Rusiya when Japan took control, and moved to San Francisco to start over. Later they brought their families here and formed the neighborhood. Not too happy to discover the large Japanese presence in San Françisco, they soon moved on, and built a rather popular and unique neighborhood, later boosted by immigration of Old Believers, Molokans, and other schismatic Russian sects along with Communist refugees. The largest Russian Orthodox church in Montréi is located here.
  • Le Voisinage - Simply called "The Neighborhood" in French, this district is where French Families settled. Most came to Montréi hunt furs along the west coast, but families who set up business shipping and trading furs settled in San Françisco due to its proximity to the wild north coast. The major attraction is a restaurant called "La Blanchisserie Française", a highly popular restaurant, considered one of the best restaurants in the city with excellent service and what's considered the best French food in Montréi (reservations must be made a year in advance).
  • La Misión - This is the neighborhood of Castellano speakers in San Françisco. They are primarily Californios, but a few Mejicans and other ethnic groups who speak Castellano as a home language live here. The food is different from that of Montréi, with more use of Corn, pork, and chicken (Montreiano cuisine is based mostly around seafood, and beef, with rice, wheat and potatoes as staples. It is more like Castillian Cuisine (Although not exactly) than Mejican.) There are several excellent Mejican restaurants (Mainly Oaxacan, Jaliscan, and Michoacan style) here, as well as some great Californio cuisine.
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