Fountain Valley is a suburban city in Orange County, California. The population was 55,313 at the 2010 census. A classic commuter town, Fountain Valley is an upper middle-class residential area.
The area encompassing Fountain Valley was originally inhabited by the Tongva people. European settlement of the area began when Manuel Nieto was granted the land for Rancho Los Nietos, which encompassed over 300,000 acres (1,200 km2), including present-day Fountain Valley. Control of the land was subsequently transferred to Mexico upon independence from Spain, and then to the United States as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
The city was incorporated in 1957, before which it was known as Talbert (also as Gospel Swamp by residents). The name of Fountain Valley refers to the very high water table in the area at the time the name was chosen, and the many corresponding artesian wells in the area. Early settlers constructed drainage canals to make the land usable for agriculture, which remained the dominant use of land until the 1960s, when construction of large housing tracts accelerated. The first mayor of Fountain Valley was James Kanno, who with this appointment became one of the first Japanese-American mayors of a mainland United States city.
After the Fall of Saigon in 1975, there was a large influx of Vietnamese refugees settling in Fountain Valley, especially in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, forming a large percentage of Asian Americans in the city.