Oakland, city (1990 pop. 372,242), seat of Alameda co., W Calif., on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay; inc. 1852. Together with San Francisco and San Jose, the city comprises the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States. A containerized shipping port and a major rail terminus, Oakland has shipyards, chemical plants, glassworks, food-processing establishments, an iron foundry, and high-technology companies. Manufactures include foods, cleaners, electronic goods, and canvas and metal products. The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge was opened in 1936 and connects Oakland with other nearby cities. Oakland is the headquarters and hub of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART; opened 1972), a three-county rapid transit system that connects to San Francisco and other area communities. It also has an international airport.

On Oct. 17, 1989, an earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay area, resulting in severe damage to Oakland. The earthquake's toll took 62 lives and injured thousands. In 1991, a wind-driven fire devastated the city's northeastern section. Besides the reconstruction following these two disasters, there was considerable redevelopment of Oakland's waterfront area in the late 20th century.

Of interest are the Oakland Museum, Chabot Space and Science Center, the Morcom Rose Garden, Jack London Square, and the Cathedral of Christ the Light. The city has a symphony orchestra, notable parks, a state arboretum, a children's amusement park, and a zoo. It is the seat of Mills College, Holy Names Univ., and California College of the Arts. Most of Oakland's many military facilities closed in the 1990s, but the Coast Guard still maintains a presence there. The city is home to the Athletics (American League baseball) and the Golden State Warriors (National Basketball Association). Jack London lived in Oakland.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography