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Oakland is the eighth-largest city in the U.S. state of California and a major West Coast port city, located on San Francisco Bay about eight miles east of the City of San Francisco. Oakland is a major hub city for the Bay Area subregion together called the East Bay, and it is the county seat of Alameda County. Based on United States Census Bureau estimates for 2008, Oakland is the 44th-largest city in the United States with a population of 420,183.
The area was inhabited by the Ohlone people for thousands of years before Spanish settlers displaced them in the 18th and 19th centuries. Spain expanded the Viceroyalty of New Spain and colonized Alta California to stop the advancement of Russia from Alaska. Much of the land that was to become Oakland was held by the Peralta family under the Rancho San Antonio land grant. New Spain became independent in 1821 under the name "Mexico." In 1846, the Territory of Alta California was conquered by American forces, becoming simply "California." Throughout the 1840s and 1850s, American squatters laid legal claim to the land held by the Peralta family, and in 1852 the California legislature incorporated the town of Oakland.
While Oakland has seen economic revitalization during the 2000s, the issue of gentrification has become a controversial topic which has affected Oakland's politics, culture, longtime, and new residents throughout the city. In West Oakland a community land trust has been formed in an attempt to secure collective non-profit ownership of residentially-zoned land. The Institute for Community Economics has worked to retain West Oakland's longtime residents and mitigate the economic impacts of rent intensification. With some developers interested in a "village community" with the West Oakland BART station as its center, West Oakland has seen an influx of new residents. In response, programs such as the Anti-Displacement Network, have attempted to assist in the stabilization of costs for homeowners and renters in West Oakland.
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