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Prior to 1810:
The earliest native inhabitants of the Fairfield area were the Indians who settled in the Rockville and Green Valley areas. Artifacts uncovered by excavation teams in Green Valley include those of the Ion culture, dating back five to six thousand years. These discoveries are some of the oldest traces of Indian settlements in Northern California.
Gabriel Moraga, the first known white man in the area, is sent by the Spanish to lead an army in an attack against the local Suisun Indians. Although resisting fiercely, the Indians are finally forced to retreat. Many of them reportedly set their own huts on fire after realizing the battle was lost and perished in the flames.
General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, under order by the Mexican government, arrives to colonize the Suisun area and create a buffer zone against the Russians at Fort Ross. A major battle ensues between Vallejo’s forces and several Indian tribes led by Chief Sem Yeto where the Soscol Creek and Napa River meet. Eventually, Vallejo’s forces overpower the Indian tribes. Vallejo is not a tyrant in victory, however, and he and Sem Yeto become allies, joining forces later on against hostile tribes.
Chief Solano applies to the Mexican governor for a land grant for his people. The grant, titled Suisun Rancho, is approved and covers most of Suisun Valley. However, the Indians do not fare well in coexistence, and approximately 70,000 Indians die in the next three years from a smallpox epidemic brought in by the Russians at Fort Ross.
Chief Solano sells his grant to Vallejo for $1,000 (the same grant was sold eight years later to A.A. Ritchie and Captain Waterman for $50,000).
Chief Solano and the remaining Suisun tribe move to the Napa area, which is not yet extensively colonized.
Captain Robert H. Waterman lays out the townsite of Fairfield, which he names after his hometown in Connecticut. A clipper ship captain who had sailed around the world five times, Waterman decides to settle in Suisun Valley with his wife, Cordelia (for whom the Cordelia area of Fairfield is named).
Waterman makes an offer to the county government to have the county seat moved from Benicia to Fairfield. The proposal is placed on the ballot and ratified by the voters in the November election. Thus, Fairfield becomes the new county seat. As promised, Waterman donates sixteen acres of land to the county, at the corner of Texas and Union Streets, for new county buildings.
The first county buildings are constructed (a brick courthouse and jail were built for $15,400). 1903: Fairfield is formally incorporated as a city.
The United States Air Force decides to build a major base installation on a tract of land located to the east of Fairfield, giving a tremendous boost to the local economy. Travis Air Force Base became one of the major departure points for military units heading for combat in Vietnam. The base was annexed to Fairfield on March 30, 1966.
Fairfield celebrates its 100th anniversary as a City in Solano County. The City buries a time capsule at the City Hall complex, to be opened in 2103. Its population is 100,200.
The city’s location, natural amenities, and abundant land sites are some of the attributes that make Fairfield a great place to live. The population of Fairfield has increased from 3,100 people in 1950 to 106,502. The city and surrounding areas remain one of the most desirable urban growth centers in the Bay Area, even in trying economic times.