Bakersfield, city (1990 pop. 174,820), seat of Kern co., S central Calif., at the southern end of the San Joaquin valley; inc. 1898. It is an oil, mining, and agricultural center and one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities. Since the Kern River oil fields were discovered in 1899, almost all of the major oil companies have established refineries in Bakersfield. Gold was discovered in the region in 1855 and silver, borax, gypsum, and tungsten are now mined. Manufactures include chemicals, apparel, food and beverages, construction materials, fabricated metal products, paper and rubber goods, and computers. Cotton, citrus fruits, potatoes, nuts, and roses are grown in the area and there is dairying. California State Univ. Bakersfield is there, and there are major aerospace facilities, including Edwards Air Force Base. Sequoia National Forest is nearby.
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