The area known as San Benito was named by Spanish explorers in honor of St. Benedict, San Benedicto or simply, San Benito in Spanish.
One of the 15 Missions of California, in fact, the biggest of the Missions, is in San Benito county. La Mission de San Juan Bautista was built in 1797 and the town of San Juan Bautista grew up around it. In less than 20 years, the spanish crown would be kicked out of all of mexico during the mexican war of independence. Thus, San Benito County went from a colony of Spain to free region of Mexico.
This area wouldn't remain a part of Mexico for long as it was ceded to the United States in the war of 1846.
When the US took over, they remade county lines. The area of San Benito thus became a part of Monterey County. It was only a few years later that the California State Legislature decided to make a seperate county from the extremely massive Monterey County. They naturally named it San Benito County in accordance with what the region had been known as for over a century.
San Benito County, to this day remains a rural county that practices mostly farming and ranching. Ranching is so important here that in the late 19th century, San Benito County baled the most hay than any other region on Earth. Hence, the county's first high school, San Benito High School's mascot is a haybaler.
San Benito County, despite it's size, has many interesting tidbits and shit like ...