However, some Chinese remained in the Orleans area, where some white landowners sheltered and purchased food for the Chinese mineworkers until after racial tension passed.

Chinese did not return to the coastal cities until the 1950s.

It was the site of the February 26, 1860 massacre of the Wiyot people that was recorded by Bret Harte, then living in Union, now called Arcata.

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On February 5 and 6, 1885, Eureka's entire Chinese population of 300 men and 20 women were expelled after a gunfight between rival Chinese gangs (tongs) resulted in the wounding of a 12-year-old boy and the death of 56-year-old David Kendall, a Eureka City Councilman.

After the shooting, an angry mob of 600 Eureka residents met and informed the Chinese that they were no longer wanted in Eureka and would be hanged if they were to stay in town longer than 3 p.m. They were put on two steamships and shipped to San Francisco. Another Chinese expulsion occurred during 1906 in a cannery on the Eel River, in which 23 Chinese cannery workers were expelled after objections to their presence.

In 1850, Douglas Ottinger and Hans Buhne entered the bay, naming it Humboldt in honor of the great naturalist and world explorer, Alexander von Humboldt, and the name was later applied to the county as a whole.

The area around Humboldt Bay was once solely inhabited by the Wiyot Indian tribe.

Coastal summers are cool to mild, with average highs of 60–69 °F (16–21 °C) and frequent fogs.

Coastal summer temperatures range from highs of 64–70 °F (18–21 °C) to lows of 46–55 °F (8–13 °C).

Snowfall is common at elevations over 3,000 ft (910 m) throughout the winter months.