San Leandro is a suburban city in Alameda County, California, United States. The population was 86,869 in 2014. It is located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, between Oakland to the northwest and Hayward to the southeast.
The first inhabitants of the geographic region which would eventually become San Leandro were the ancestors of the Ohlone Nation, who arrived sometime between 3500 and 2500 BC. The Spanish settlers called these natives Costeños or “coast people” and the English-speaking settlers called them Costanoans. San Leandro was first visited by Europeans on March 20, 1772 by Spanish soldier Captain Pedro Fages and the Spanish Catholic priest Father Crespi.
San Leandro is located on the Rancho San Leandro and Rancho San Antonio Mexican land grants. Both were located along El Camino Viejo, modern 14th Street / State Route 185.
The smaller, Rancho San Leandro, approximately 9,000 acres (3,600 ha), was given to José Joaquín Estudillo in 1842. The larger, Rancho San Antonio, approximately 44,000 acres (18,000 ha) was given to another Spanish soldier Don Luis Maria Peralta in 1820. Beginning in 1855, two of Estudillo’s sons-in-law, John B. Ward and William Heath Davis, laid out the town site that would become San Leandro, bounded by the San Leandro Creek on the north, Watkins Street on the east, Castro Street on the south, & on the west by the longitude lying a block west of Alvarado Street.The city has a historic Portuguese population dating from when immigrants from the Azores and laborers from Hawaii began settling in the city in the 1880s and established farms and businesses. By the 1910 census, they had accounted for nearly two-thirds of the San Leandro’s population.
In 1856 San Leandro became the county seat of Alameda county, but the county courthouse was destroyed there by the devastating 1868 quake on the Hayward Fault. The county seat was then re-established in the town of Brooklyn (now part of Oakland), California in 1872.
During the Civil War San Leandro and its neighbor, Brooklyn, fielded a California militia company, the Brooklyn Guard.
San Leandro was one of a number of suburban cities built in the post-World War II era of California that had restrictive covenants, which barred property owners in the city from selling properties to African Americans and other minorities. As a result of the covenant, In 1960, the city was almost entirely white (99.3%), while its neighbor city of Oakland had a large African American population. The United States Supreme Court, in Shelley v. Kraemer, later declared such covenants unenforceable by the state. San Leandro was an 86.4% white-non Hispanic community according in the 1970 census. The city’s demographics began to diversify in the 1980s. By 2010, Asian Americans had become a plurality population in San Leandro, with approximately one third of the population, with non-Hispanic Whites accounting for 27.1% of the population.