Spanish army officer Gabriel Moraga was one of the first Europeans to explore California's Great Central Valley. He is the source of many of the place names in the region, including San Joaquin, Modesto, Sacramento, Merced, Kings, Mariposa, and Calaveras. Moraga led armies of Spanish soldiers through the valley and displaced local Native American groups. The California Central Valley The California Central Valley dominates the central portion of the state of California. ... The eight-county San Joaquin Valley is the part of the Central Valley of California that lies south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in Stockton. ... Modesto is the county seat of Stanislaus County, California. ... Sacramento from near the Sacramento River Sacramento is the county seat of Sacramento County, California and the capital of the U.S. state of California. ... Merced is the county seat of Merced County, California in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California. ... The Kings River is a major river of California, USA. It arises in the Sierra Nevada, in three forks. ... Mariposa County is a county in California located in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. ... Calaveras County is a county located in Californias Gold Country. ...
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