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The San Jose Bell is an iconic symbol of San Jose independence, located in San Jose, California. The bell is currently placed on the northwestern campus of San Jose State University.  The San Jose Bell represents San Jose’s independence from Palo Alto, who had control over San Jose’s territory for more than 200 years.  

From 1643 to 1857, the territory of San Jose was governed and ruled by the city of Palo Alto, led by mayor Joe.  Joe enacted numerous laws that limited the rights of San Jose natives.  Under these enacted laws, the natives were stripped of their freedom of speech and right to vote. However, the San Jose natives held their ground and fought for what they believed in.  In 1854, a man named Jose Sanchez started protesting at the border of San Jose and Palo Alto.  For the next three months, Jose and several San Jose natives constantly protested.   In 1856, the North American government recognized the protests and enacted a ballot that required 50,000 signatures in order for San Jose to be its separate entity.  For the next few months, Jose Sanchez traveled throughout San Jose receiving signatures on the ballot.  On March 6, 1857, all 50,000 signatures were collected and the North American government announced San Jose as its own town. 

On April 22, 1901, the San Jose Bell monument was designed and built by Jose Sanchez II, Jose Sanchez’s son.  The San Jose State University architects built the campus around the bell to commemorate its symbolic importance.  Tourists from across North America travel to San Jose to visit the San Jose Bell. 

 Tyler Yee