About This Place
San Luis Obispo ( /sæn luːɪs ɵbɪspoʊ/; Spanish for St. Louis, the Bishop) is a city in California, located midway between San Jose and Los Angeles on the Central Coast. Founded in 1772 by Spanish Fr. Junipero Serra, San Luis Obispo is one of California’s oldest communities. The city, referred to locally as "SLO", "SLOtown", "S.L.O." and "San Luis", is the county seat of San Luis Obispo County and is adjacent to California Polytechnic State University. It has been referred to as "the happiest city in America" by Oprah Winfrey and the National Geographic book "Thrive" by Dan Buettner. The population was 45,119 at the 2010 census.
Earliest human inhabitants of the local area were the Chumash peoples, who settled in the vicinity circa 5,000 to 10,000 years BC. One of the earliest villages lies south of San Luis Obispo, and reflects the landscape of the early Holocene when estuaries came farther inland and sea levels were higher. These Chumash people exploited marine resources of the inlets and bays along the Central Coast and inhabited a network of villages including sites at Los Osos and Morro Creek.
During the Spanish Empire expansion throughout the world, specifically in 1769, Spanish Franciscan Juniper Serra, received orders from Spain to bring the Catholic faith to the Natives of Alta California, the idea was to unify the empire under the same religion and language. Mission San Diego was the first mission founded in Alta California that same year.