Stanislaus County is a county located in the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 514,453 up from 446,997 at the 2000 census. The county seat is Modesto.
Stanislaus County is included in the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The county is named for the Stanislaus River, first discovered by a European, Gabriel Moraga, in 1806, and later renamed Rio Estanislao in honor of Estanislao, a mission-educated renegade Native American chief who led a band of Indians in a series of battles against Mexican troops until finally being defeated by General Mariano Vallejo in 1826. Estanislao was his baptismal name, the Spanish version of Stanislaus, itself the Latin version of the name of an 11th century Polish Catholic Saint Stanislaus the Martyr.
Between 1843 and 1846 when California was a province of independent Mexico, five Mexican land grants of a total of , or over forty-four square miles were granted in Stanislaus County. Rancho Orestimba y Las Garzas, Rancho Pescadero and Rancho Del Puerto were located on the west side of the San Joaquin River. Rancho Del Rio Estanislao and Rancho Thompson were on the north side of the Stanislaus River. Additionally in 1844, Salomon Pico received a Mexican land grant of in the San Joaquin Valley, somewhere near the Stanislaus River and the San Joaquin River in what is now Stanislaus County. However the grant was never confirmed by the Land Commission.
Stanislaus County was formed from part of Tuolumne County in 1854.
As the price of housing has increased in the San Francisco Bay Area, many people who work in the southern reaches of the Bay Area have opted for the longer commute and moved to Stanislaus County for the relatively affordable housing.
Pronunciation of the county's name
There has been a somewhat lively local speculation on the pronunciation of the name Stanislaus. Some locals pronounce it STAN-ěs-läw, without a final S. This is undoubtedly influenced by the Spanish version Estanislao and further followed by the fact that the San Joaquin Valley was settled by immigrants from the southern states after the Civil War, and the southern dialect tends to soften all following consonants. Despite this, the silent final S has never been universal, and other ethnic and historical influences tend to argue over it. Several towns in Stanislaus and other counties along the Stanislaus River, including Turlock, Valley Home, and Ripon, were founded and settled by immigrants from Danish, Dutch, German-speaking areas where Stanislaus is a typical surname and masculine given name, and like Estanislao, a variation of Stanley. The German pronunciation, STAN-ĭs-lŏss, retains the trailing S and puts some emphasis on the second syllable. However, regardless of the name's exact local history, most non-locals and newcomers pronounce Stanislaus with the final S, which is arguably the more phonetically intuitive method, but both pronunciations are claimed to be official.