Merced is the county seat of Merced County, California in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California. As of 2007, the city had a total population of 80,608. Incorporated in 1889, Merced is a charter city that operates under a council-manager government. It is named after the Merced River, which flows nearby. Merced, known as the "Gateway to Yosemite", is less than two hours by car from Yosemite National Park to the east and to the west is Monterey Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and miles of beaches. In 2005, the city became home to the tenth University of California campus, University of California, Merced (UCM), the first research university built in the U.S. in the 21st century.