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San Diego's Martial Metropolis:
In a process that began in earnest in 1912, San Diego became the United States', and indeed the world's, leading "martial metropolis" -- a term coined by historian Roger Lotchin to define certain cities with deep, pervasive and abiding ties to the nation's military services.
Over the years, San Diegans shaped their region's landscape, economy and civic culture to accommodate the Army, Marine Corps, and especially the Navy, in extraordinary ways. The services paid the city back in the form of population growth, investment in infrastructure development, and fame: to use an expression long popular with the Chamber of Commerce, the Armed Forces really did "put San Diego on the map."
San Diego's military heritage, however, extends much further back in time than 1912, in fact to its very founding by Spanish colonizers in 1769. The Spanish and then the Mexican Presidio was the region's first non-native institution, and it was upon the foundation of the Presidio that American San Diego rose after 1848. The first Spanish military post devoted to defense of the harbor, Fort Guijarros, was established on Point Loma in 1797, on land that remains essential to contemporary US naval activities.
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