Carved out in 1852 from a portion of Mariposa County, Tulare County is named for a lake discovered in 1772 by Spaniard Pedro Fages. Because the lake he saw was filled with cattail-like reeds and surrounded by marshes, he named it Los Tulares (the tules). Once the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes until it was drained for agricultural development, the site of this lake is now in Kings County, after Tulare County lost acreage to other political entities—Kings, Kern, Fresno, and Madera counties. Various trappers and explorers passed through this region in the 1820s-1840s, but it wasn’t until the 1850s that permanent settlements were established around Fort Visalia. Tulare County is home to many scenic wonders, including Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, which offer year-round recreational activities. It is also the second-leading producer of agricultural commodities in the United States, noted for milk, cattle, oranges, grapes and corn; pistachios, peaches and nectarines; hay and alfalfa. Located south of Fresno, the county spans from the San Joaquin Valley east to the Sierra Nevada. As of the 2010 census the population was 442,179. The county seat is Visalia.