El Centro (formerly, Cabarker), is Spanish for "the center". The name is fitting, because it is the core urban area and principal city of the El Centro metropolitan area which encompasses all of Imperial County. The city is the county seat of Imperial County, the largest city in the Imperial Valley and the east anchor of the Southern Border. El Centro is also the largest American city to lie entirely below sea level (- 50 feet). The city is conveniently near the global cities of San Diego and Los Angeles as well as placed between the major cities of Phoenix and San Diego. Founded in 1906 W. F. Holt and C.A. Barker purchased the land on which El Centro was eventually built for about forty dollars an acre and invested $100,000 in improvements. As one historian of Valley life put it, "in only five months El Centro went from a barley field to a city...". Fast forward to modern times and El Centro is the center of one of Southern California's most promising new commercial and industrial regions. It is home to retail, transportation, wholesale, and agricultural industries. There are also two international border crossings nearby for commercial and noncommercial vehicles. The city's population was 37,835 at the 2000 census. The 2006 population is 40,563.