Riverside County is one of 58 counties in the U.S. state of California. The name was taken from the city of Riverside, which is the county seat. Rectangle-shaped, Riverside County covers in Southern California. It is bordered on the west by Orange County; on the east by La Paz County, Arizona; on the southwest, by San Diego County; on the southeast, by Imperial County; and, on the north, by San Bernardino County. Together, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties have been dubbed the Inland Empire.
The population of Riverside County was 2,189,641 in 2010. It is the 4th most populous county in California, and among the fastest-growing areas of the USA in the past half a century (since 1960). There's a high concentration of sprawling house tract communities around Riverside and along the Interstate 10, 15 and 215 freeways.
Geographically, the county is mostly desert in the central and eastern portions of the county, and is a Mediterranean climate in the western portion of the county. Most of Joshua Tree National Park is located in the county. Riverside County lies inland of Los Angeles County and is bordered by Orange County to the west, San Bernardino County to the north, San Diego and Imperial Counties to the south, and Arizona to the east.
The famous resort cities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and Desert Hot Springs are all located in the Coachella Valley region of Riverside County. Large numbers of Los Angeles area workers have moved to the county in recent years to take advantage of relatively affordable housing. Alongside neighboring San Bernardino County, it was one of the fastest growing regions in the state prior to the recent changes in the regional economy. In addition, smaller, but significant, numbers of people have been moving into Southwest Riverside County from the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area. The cities of Temecula and Murrieta account for 20% of increase in population of Riverside County between 2000 and 2007.
The indigenous peoples of what is now Riverside County are the Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla Indians. When the initial 27 California counties were established in 1850 the area today known as Riverside County was divided between Los Angeles County and San Diego County. In 1853 the eastern part of Los Angeles County was used to create San Bernardino County. Between 1891 and 1893 several proposals, and legislative attempts, were put forth to form new counties in Southern California. These proposals included one for a Pomona County and one for a San Jacinto County. None of the proposals were adopted until a measure to create Riverside County was signed by Governor Henry H. Markham on March 11, 1893.
The new county was created from parts of San Bernardino County and San Diego County. On May 2, 1893, seventy percent of voters approved the formation of Riverside County. Voters chose the city of Riverside as the county seat, also by a large margin. Riverside County was officially formed on May 9, 1893, when the Board of Commissioners filed the final canvass of the votes.
Riverside County is the birthplace of lane markings, thanks to Dr. June McCarroll in 1915 when she suggested her idea to the state government. Riverside county was a major vocal point of the Civil Rights Movements in the USA, especially the African-American sections of Riverside and heavily Mexican-American communities of the Coachella Valley visited by Cesar Chavez of the farm labor union struggle.
As well as modern Native American Gaming enterprises. In the early 1980s, the county government attempted to shut down small bingo halls operated by the Morongo Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians and the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. The tribes joined forces and fought the county all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in the tribes' favor on February 25, 1987. In turn, Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 to establish a legal framework for the relationship between Indian gaming and state governments. Naturally, both tribes now operate large casinos in the county: the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa and the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino adjacent to Spotlight 29 Casino.
The county's population surpassed one million people in 1980 when the current trend of high population growth as a major real estate destination began in the 1970s. Once strictly a place for long distance commuters to L.A. and later Orange County, the county and city of Riverside has became more of a place to establish new or relocated offices, corporations and finance centers in the late 1990s and 2000s. More light industry, manufacturing and truck distribution centers became major regional employers in the county.