National City is a city located in the South Bay region of the San Diego metropolitan area, in southwestern San Diego County, California.
The population was 58,582 at the 2010 census, up from 54,260 at the 2000 census. National City is the second-oldest city in San Diego County, having been incorporated in 1887.
Human presence within the modern city limits of National City may have begun as early as 130,000 years ago, as allegedly evidenced at the Cerutti Mastodon site. Archaic period sites have been found along Sweetwater River which runs through the city limits of modern-day National City. Before the entry of Spanish into the area which modern day National City occupies was part of the territory of the Diegueño tribe, also known as Kamai, and later Kumeyaay. Later in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century there was a Kumeyaay village, north of the modern National City boundaries, on Chollas Creek.
The Spanish named the 26,000 acres (11,000 ha) of land El Rancho del Rey (the Ranch of the King), used by Spanish soldiers to graze horses. After independence from Spain, in 1810, the Mexican government renamed it Rancho de la Nación (Ranch of the Nation). Governor Pío Pico granted Rancho de la Nación to his brother-in-law John (Don Juan) Forster in 1845. President Andrew Johnson, in issuing the land patent, listed the name as simply "The National Ranch", the English translation of the land grant name, "Rancho de la Nacion".
In 1868, Frank Kimball and his brothers Warren and Levi, contractors and builders from San Francisco, purchased the entire rancho and thus began the foundation of the city, retaining the National name.
Frank Kimball first brought novelty and change to the area by building his personal residence. His home included a bathtub as well as hot, running water, making it the first modern house in the entire county.