The name of the town was taken from the yerba buena (Micromeria douglasii) plant, native to the pueblo site. Franciscan missionary Pedro Font, accompanying the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition of 1775-76, applied the Spanish name to the common native herb he found abundant in the landscape. The plant’s common name, yerba buena, the same in English and Spanish, is an alternate form of the Spanish hierba buena (meaning “good herb”).
The earliest report of the use of Yerba Buena as a place name comes from the log of George Vancouver, who in 1792 sailed his ship HMS Discovery into San Francisco Bay and anchored “about a league below the Presidio in a place they called Yerba Buena.
Now before you all go to Google Earth to find Yerba Buena, you wont find it, because the town no longer exists. It is now a city called San Francisco.
On July 7, 1846, US Navy Commodore John D. Sloat, in the Battle of Yerba Buena, claimed Alta California for the United States during the Mexican-American War, and US Navy Captain John Berrien Montgomery and US Marine Second Lieutenant Henry Bulls Watson of the USS Portsmouth arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later by raising the American flag over the town plaza, which is now Portsmouth Square in honor of the ship. Henry Bulls Watson was placed in command of the garrison there. On July 31, 1846, Yerba Buena doubled in population when about 240 Mormon migrants from the East coast arrived on the ship Brooklyn, led by Sam Brannan. In August 1846, Lt. Washington Allon Bartlett was named alcalde of Yerba Buena.On January 30, 1847, Lt. Bartlett’s proclamation changing the name Yerba Buena to San Francisco took effect.
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