San Mateo is a city in San Mateo County, California. With a population of approximately 100,000, it is one of the larger suburbs on the San Francisco Peninsula, located between Burlingame to the north, Foster City to the east, Belmont to the south, and Highlands-Baywood Park and Hillsborough to the west. San Mateo was incorporated in 1864. Originally part of the Rancho de las Pulgas and the Rancho San Mateo, the earliest recorded history is in the archives of Mission Dolores. San Mateo encompasses the zip codes of 94401, 94402, 94403, 94404, and 94497.
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In 1776, Spanish explorers came to today's San Mateo. During a scouting trip to locate a place to start a colony on the Peninsula, Lieutenant Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza, Padre Pedro Font, Lieutenant Jose Joaquin Moraga, and eleven soldiers set up camp in San Mateo. Father Font named the creek that they slept by "San Mateo Creek." In 1793, the mission fathers in San Francisco created an outpost of the mission on the Peninsula. The outpost was at San Mateo Creek and was established to bring the Church to the Peninsula, to organize and oversee the newly converted Christians in livestock herding, and to provide food for the Mission. The outpost was the first building built in San Mateo by non-natives.
In 1822, California received word of Mexico's independence from Spanish rule. This would bring changes to San Mateo with the missions becoming secularized and the opening of free trade. The Mexican Land Grants (1835) would leave a few residents owning vast expansions of land in the area. In fact, these ranches were so large that what is now the City of San Mateo is comprised of portions of two of them-Rancho San Mateo and Rancho de las Pulgas. This Rancho period lasted about thirty years. Rancho San Mateo, which comprised what is today south Burlingame, all of Hillsborough, and north San Mateo was sold to the American mercantile firm of Mellus and Howard for four dollars an acre. In 1850, Howard built the first of the great homes of the area, El Cerrito, on the property. Nicolas de Peyster
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