(KTXL) — Before California became divided into 58 counties, Sacramento County was one of the state’s original 27 counties. 

After the population kept growing following the gold rush, the county became incorporated in 1850.

The city of Sacramento was later founded and officially became the county seat, eventually being named the capital of the Golden State in 1854. 

But how did Sacramento County and surrounding counties gain their names?

Sacramento County

According to the California State Association of Counties, the origin of the name comes from the Sacramento River, which was given by Gabriel Moraga, a Spanish expeditionary. 

The word Sacramento signifies “Sacrament” or “Lord’s Supper.” A Sacrament is a religious ceremony or ritual that is held to be a means of divine grace, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. 

Placer County

Placer County was founded in 1851 and derived its name from numerous places where the method of extracted gold took place, according to the CSAC. The method of extracting gold is called placer mining. 

“‘Placer” is probably a contraction of the words plaza de oro (the place of gold) and in Spanish means, “A place near a river where gold is found,” the CSAC said on its website. 

San Joaquin County

The county was founded in 1850 and is one of California’s original 27 counties. 

Its name comes from the San Joaquin River, which was also named by Moraga after an expedition in the Central Valley in the early 1800s, according to the CSAC. 

The meaning of San Joaquin is Saint Joachim. 

Stanislaus County

The county was founded in 1854 and is named after the Stanislaus River, which was first discovered by Moraga in 1806, according to the CSAC. 

“The word Stanislaus is a corruption of Estanislao, the baptismal name of a mission-education renegade chief who led a band of Native Americans in a series of battles against Mexican troops,” the CSAC website reads. 

The river was later renamed to Rio Estanislao for the chief, the CSAC said. 

Sutter County

The county was founded in 1850 and is one of California’s original 27 counties. 

Sutter County is named after John Sutter, who is known for establishing Sutter’s Fort and numerous California landmarks bearing his name. 

Sutter was a Swiss native who obtained a large land grant from the Mexican government. According to the CSAC, Sutter’s first settlement was named New Helvetia, which is now the city of Sacramento.

“In 1841, the general established a great stock ranch in this area to which he retired in 1850 when gold seekers deprived him of most of his holdings in Sacramento,” the CSAC said on its website. 

El Dorado County

The county was founded in 1850 and is one of California’s original 27 counties. 

According to the CSAC, a section of gold was discovered in the region where El Dorado County now stands. The name’s translation from Spanish to English means “the gilded one.” 

According to the CSAC, the name “appears at the beginning of the 16th century as that of a mythical Native American chief who was said to have been covered with gold dust during the performance of religious rites.”

Tuolumne County

The county was founded in 1850 and is one of the state’s original 27 counties. 

The name Tuolumne is of Native American origin and has been given different meanings such as Many Stones Houses, The Land of Mountain Lions and Straight Up Steep, according to the CSAC. The latter meaning was an interpretation of William Fuller, a native chief. 

According to the CSAC, during his first report with the state legislature, Mariano Vallejo said Tuolumne is a word that is “a corruption of the Native American word talalamne,” which signifies the “cluster of stone wigwams.” 

Sonoma County

The county was founded in 1850 and is one of California’s original 27 counties. 

According to the CSAC, the word Sonoma is a Chocuyen Native American name and is translated by some as “Valley of the Moon” and by others as “land or tribe of the Chief Nose.” 

Nevada County

The county was founded in 1851 and is named after the mining town of Nevada City, a name derived from the term “Sierra Nevada,” according to the CSAC. 

Nevada in Spanish means “snowy” or “snow covered.” 

Yolo County

The county was founded in 1850 and is one of California’s original 27 counties. 

According to the CSAC, Yolo is a Native American name that is believed to be a mispronunciation of an tribal name Yo-loy meaning “a place abounding in rushes.”

The county’s name was originally spelled as Yola when it was founded, the CSAC said.  

Yuba County

The county was founded in 1850 and is one of California’s original 27 counties. 

Yuba County’s namesake is from the Yuba River, which was given by John Sutter for the Native American village Yuba, Yupu or Juba, according to the CSAC. The village was near the confluence of the Yuba and Feather rivers. 

According to the CSAC, Vallejo said that the river was named Uba by an exploring expedition in 1824 because of the “quantities of wild grapes,” which were growing on its banks.