A view of downtown San Jose, the self-proclaimed "Capital of Silicon Valley."
Origin of the term
The term Silicon Valley was coined by Ralph Vaerst, a Northern California entrepreneur. Its first published use is credited to Don Hoefler, a friend of Vaerst's, who used the phrase as the title of a series of articles in the weekly trade newspaper Electronic News. The series, entitled "Silicon Valley USA," began in the paper's issue dated January 11, 1971. Valley refers to the Santa Clara Valley, located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, while Silicon refers to the high concentration of companies involved in the semiconductor and computer industries that were concentrated in the area. These firms slowly replaced the orchards which gave the area its initial nickname, the Valley of Heart's Delight.
Since the early twentieth century, Silicon Valley has been home to a vibrant, growing electronics industry. The industry began through experimentation and innovation in the fields of radio, television, and military electronics. Stanford University, its affiliates, and graduates have played a major role in the evolution of this area.
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