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Originally, the land was inhabited by the Coast Miwok Native American Indians. The first European settlement began in 1817 as a Spanish mission, called San Rafael Arcangel Mission. The name of the mission, and later the town, was given in honor of the Biblical angel Rafael, the angel of healing.
Today, San Rafael is known for its downtown area, brightly lit streets, proximity to the San Francisco Bay, entertainment industry, and as the place of the original coining of the now popular term "420," invented by a group of local high school students.
People Born in San Rafael
San Rafael in People's Lives
Jude Law: I traveled here in 1996 to film scenes of the movie Gattaca. We filmed at the Marin County Civic Center.