Politically, the area that became Berkeley was initially part of a vast Contra Costa County.
On March 25, 1853, Alameda County was created from a division of Contra Costa County, as well as from a small portion of Santa Clara County.
During this period, "Berkeley" was mostly a mix of open land, farms, and ranches, with a small, though busy, wharf by the bay.
Luis Peralta was among the soldiers at the Presidio.
For his services to the King of Spain, he was granted a vast stretch of land on the east shore of San Francisco Bay (the contra costa, "opposite shore") for a ranch, including that portion that now comprises the City of Berkeley.
It also has the Graduate Theological Union, one of the largest religious studies institutions in the world.
Berkeley is one of the most socially liberal cities in the United States.