Fresno is the seat of Fresno County in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. It lies along Highway 99 on the banks of the San Joaquin River, near Millerton Lake and the Pine Flat Reservoir.
Fresno is the Spanish word for "ash tree", a local feature. The first white settlers were Forty-niners who arrived during the 1848 California gold rush. The county was founded in 1856; the city was established with the Central Pacific Railroad's arrival in 1872.
Today, Fresno is the hub of a county that is called the world's raisin capital and the nation's most diversified agricultural producer. Fresno's economy also has expanded to include manufacturing and service industries. The William Saroyan Gallery, housed in the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art, History and Science, exhibits the works of the 20th-century author and Fresno native. Fresno is the jumping-off point to Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite national parks.
Fresno is part of the Fresno, California metro area.