Sunnyvale’s history and prominence are deeply connected in its economic rise over the last century first a defense era innovation and manufacturing center, and then later as the center for technology. Initially, after European settlers arrived, the area’s vast open space and fertile soil were ideal for the fruit orchards that supported the settlement’s first residents. With the arrival of the railroad in 1864, the economic base of the community was able to expand, as canneries to process the fruit from the surrounding orchards were built near the rail lines. In 1906, the Hendy Iron Works relocated from San Francisco to Sunnyvale, continuing the area’s industrial development
When the Spanish arrived in Santa Clara Valley in the 1770s, the area was the home of the Ohlone Native Americans. The Ohlone traditionally migrated from mountains to creek camping sites during the summer and winter. The Spanish converted many Ohlone to Christianity. In 1777, Mission Santa Clara was built largely by the help of the Ohlone.
In 1842, Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas was granted to Francisco Estrada and his wife Inez Castro. Portions of the land that were part of this grant later became the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale. In 1844, another land grant was provided to Lupe Yñigo, one of the few Native Americans to hold land grants. His land grant was first called Rancho Posolmi, named after the Posolmi village of the Ohlone that once stood in the area. Rancho Posolmi was later known as Rancho Ynigo.