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San Francisco was established on June 29, 1776, by Spanish colonists. They set up the Presidio at San Francisco at the Golden Gate, and Mission San Francisco de Asis just a few miles from each other. Both were named after Francis of Assisi. California's Gold Rush in 1849 saw rapid growth. The city was the largest on the West Coast at that time. Between 1870 and 1900, nearly one-quarter of California's total population lived in the city. San Francisco was consolidated as a city-county in 1856.
Three-quarters of the city had been destroyed by fire and earthquake in 1906. It was quickly rebuilt and hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nineteen years later. It was an important port of embarkation during World War II for troops heading to the Pacific Theater. In 1945, it was the birthplace of the United Nations. The war brought together significant immigration, returning servicemen, liberalizing attitudes, and the rise of "beatnik" countercultures. In addition to these factors, the Sexual Revolution and the Peace Movement, which grew out of opposition to US involvement in the Vietnam War, led to the Summer of Love, as well as the establishment of San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. The city is strongly influenced by the liberal Democratic Party.