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El Centro is part of the El Centro metropolitan area, which includes all of Imperial County. The city is also the location of the Imperial County government headquarters, and eight sites in or near El Centro have been designated as California Historical Landmarks. In 2005, a new county courthouse was opened at Fifth and Main streets; it replaced a 1964 structure that had been built on top of an old City Hall building that dated to 1931. The site was first settled by members of the Kumeyaay tribe around 1060 AD (although some historians believe they may have arrived earlier), who were hunter-gatherers known for their use/cultivation of acorns from local oak trees; these Native Americans would later be displaced by Spaniards arriving in search for gold during Mexico's Colonial period beginning in 1542.