Solano County History

The history of Solano County dates back thousands of years.  Artifacts of stone-age people have been found in Green Valley that date back to 2000 B.C.E. At the time of the Spanish arrival, Solano County was home to the Patwin Indians.  Some of their village places have survived phonetically in such modern places as Suisun, Soscol, Ulatis and Putah.  In 1835, the Mexican government commissioned Commandante General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo to colonize the lands north of San Francisco Bay as a buffer against the Russians at Fort Ross and to protect settlers from hostile Indian attacks. 

The Mexican regime lasted until June 14, 1846 when the California Republic was established.  The California Republic and its Bear Flag were short lived.  The American flag was raised on July 7, 1846. The area that became Solano County continued as part of the Sonoma territory for three years under the American government. The boundaries of Solano County were set on February 18, 1850 by the first elected legislature of the territory of California, making Solano County one of the original 27 counties.

The county derives its name indirectly from that of the Franciscan missionary, Father Francisco Solano, whose name was given in baptism to the chief of one of the Indian tribes of the region. Before receiving the name Solano, the chief was called Sem Yeto, which signifies "brave or fierce hand." At the request of General Vallejo, the county was named for Chief Solano, who at one time ruled over most of the land and tribes between the Petaluma Creek and the Sacramento River.

Of the 12 townships that were created in the early days of the county’s history, seven have incorporated into cities: Benicia (1850 and 1851), Vallejo (1868), Suisun City (1868), Dixon (1878), Vacaville (1892), Rio Vista (1893), and Fairfield (1903).


To learn more about the rich history of Solano County, visit the nine local museums or step back in time at the Rush Ranch Open Space

Historical Records
The County holds historical County records dating back to the establishment of Solano County government when California became a state in 1850.

For historical records on births, deaths, marriages, properties and maps, please contact the Assessor Recorder department.

The County also has a collection of historical records comprised of thousands of documents such as naturalization records, Sanborn maps, probate records and much more. These records were carefully organized and indexed by a dedicated core of volunteers with basic oversight by the Solano County Historical Records Commission in collaboration with County staff. For more information please contact: [email protected]