city, seat (1850) of Napa county, west-central California, U.S. The area was originally inhabited by Wappo Indians, who called the southern part of the valley Napa ("Land of Plenty"). In 1836 the Mexican government granted a parcel of land to Nathan Coombs, who founded the city. Most of the local Indians were killed during a smallpox outbreak in 1838. Lying on the Napa River, the city was the head of river navigation, and it became a port for the shipment of cattle, lumber, gold, and quicksilver to San Francisco, 50 miles (80 km) to the south. Napa also developed as an outlet for farm produce, especially grapes, and later wine. The city is a gateway to the "wine trail," a road that passes through Napa Valley's world-renowned vineyards. The city is the seat of a junior college (1942). Inc. 1872. Pop. (1990) city, 61,842; Vallejo-Fairfield-Napa PMSA, 451,186; (2000) city, 72,585; Vallejo-Fairfield-Napa PMSA, 518,821.
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