Founded by the Spanish in 1777 to provide food for the military settlements in Monterey and San Francisco, San Jose is the oldest civilian settlement in California. After independence from Mexico, San Jose became the county seat of Santa Clara County and the first state capital. For many years, San Jose was the center of a rich farming community whose vistas of blooming orchards prompted the nickname "Valley of Heart's Delight." Following World War II, a massive transformation took place in the landscape and culture of San Jose and the surrounding area. Fields and orchards gave way to subdivisions, malls, freeways, and office buildings. The population grew from less than 100,000 to over a million as agriculture was supplanted by semiconductors and software development.