Santa Barbara, a S. W. county of California, bounded S. and W. by the Pacific ocean, N. by the Guaymas or Santa Maria river, and drained by Santa Inez and other rivers; area, about 2,800 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 7,784, of whom 109 were Chinese, since which a portion has been taken to form Ventura county. The eastern portion is mountainous, the western undulating. The soil near the coast is generally fertile, and in the valleys bountiful crops are produced. Formerly stock raising was the principal business; but latterly much attention has been devoted to the culture of grapes, oranges, and almonds. Gold, iron, copper, salt, asphalt, and petroleum are found. The chief productions in 1870 were 20,200 bushels of wheat, 158,374 of Indian corn, 187,871 of barley, 41,934 of peas and beans, 26,539 of potatoes, 996,200 lbs. of wool, 81,088 of butter, 34,500 of cheese, and 8,655 tons of hay. There were 3,777 horses, 2,166 milch cows, 7,993 other cattle, 189,358 sheep, and 3,947 swine. - Santa. Barbara, the capital (pop. about 6,500), in a sheltered nook on the shore of the Pacific, 275 m. S. S. E. of San Francisco, has several hotels, two banks, a college, good public schools, three daily and two weekly newspapers, and seven churches.
It is noted as a health resort on account of its mild and equable climate, and is growing rapidly. It occupies the site of a mission founded in 1780.