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Fun Facts about Fresno County, California

Fresno County is one of the most culturally diverse and vibrant areas of the United States, and its massive agricultural sector functions as the nation’s produce section. Its climate and environment are vastly different from elsewhere in California, and some of the country’s most majestic natural vistas call the area around Fresno County home. But there’s so much more to learn about thisexciting (yet affordable) California destination. Here are five fun facts about California’s fifth largest county.

Fresno Means ‘Ash Tree’ in Spanish

Fresno Flag

Like Oakland has its oak trees and Los Angeles supposedly has angels, Fresno County is named after some of its most visible inhabitants – the California ash tree. Fresno is the Spanish word for “ash tree,” and the area was named after the scrubby trees, known as Fraxinus dipetala to scientists, that grow alongside the county’s rivers. The small trees, which usually don’t grow past 23 feet high, are so beloved the city of Fresno put one on its flag.

Fresno County Was Once Part of Mexico

Fresno County was first settled by Yokut tribes long before Europeans came to the U.S. – at one point, 60 tribes inhabited Fresno County. The area encompassing the county was claimed by Spain and then Mexico once the latter won independence. The first known Mexican expedition into Fresno County was completed in 1806 by Gabriel Moraga, who also named the Kings and San Joaquin rivers. Moraga was looking for new sites for missions, but Mexican development in the county was slow. What is now Fresno County joined the U.S. following the Mexican War in 1846. Fresno County was officially founded in 1856 from sections of neighboring Mariposa, Merced and Tulare counties.