The 49ers are named after the massive population of people that flocked to California in 1849 during the gold rush.
San Francisco's first few decades in the NFL were dull to say the least. Despite having future hall of famers at many positions, including quarterback Y.A. Tittle, they only reached the NFC championship twice during this time period, in '71 and '72. Both of these playoff runs were stopped short by the Cowboys.
In 1979, first year head coach brought two new assets to the 49ers, draft pick Joe Montana and the West Coast offense. This playing style revolved around quick, minimal yardage throws at which Montana excelled. Their 1981 championship run was accentuated by "The Catch", a Montana pass to Dwight Clark in the back of the endzone to beat the Cowboys and make it to their first Super Bowl.
San Francisco beat the Cincinnati Bengals and solidified themselves as a powerhouse in the NFL, winning the franchises first Super Bowl just three years after drafting one of the best quarterbacks of all time.
1985 was a spectacular year for the franchise. During the season, they lost only one game and would go on to beat the Miami Dolphins for their second super bowl. In the draft of the same year, the 49ers selected wide receiver Jerry Rice, the eventual record holder for yards and catches in NFL history.
Bill Walsh and company would go on to win one more title in 1989, beating the Bengals once again, before the head coach decided to retire and hand the reins over to George Seifert.
After an injury to Montana in 1991, lefty Steve Young took over for the 49ers. With Rice to throw to, the offense continued to dominate, beating the San Diego Chargers in the 1995 Super Bowl to claim the franchise's fifth crown.
When Young retired in 1999, the NFL saw the end of a two-decade long period of dominance by the Californian squad.
The first decade of the 2000s was not kind to the 49ers, as they continually failed to reach their former glory. However, their defense slowly molded into one of the strongest groups in the league. By 2012, second year head coach Jim Harbaugh along with defensive pro bowlers Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, Navorro Bowman, and running back Frank Gore made it to the Super Bowl. However they suffered their first championship game loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
In 2014, the 49ers moved from Candlestick Park to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.
Then quarterback of the 49ers Colin Kaepernick garnered national attention when he and other teammates kneeled to protest ongoing police brutality during the playing of the National Anthem.