Los Angeles, CA History
The Los Angeles, CA area has a long history and has switched hands many times in past centuries. It was once the home of a Native American tribe called the Chumash, in 8000 BC. They were later displaced by the Tongva who inhabited the area after a drought in the Great Basin. They called this area Yang-Na. There was a Native population of about 5,000 in the Los Angeles basin when the first European sailors arrived. The Portuguese and Spanish explorers visited the area between 1542 and 1602. However, the first European settlement wouldn’t appear for another century.
Spanish Settlers in Los Angeles, CA
In 1769, a Spanish explorer by the name of Gaspar de Portola sought to open a land route to Monterey Bay, and in the process, he ended up establishing the areas first Spanish settlement. The settlers ended up naming the nearby river the ‘Rio de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula’.
Over two decades later 11 families made up of 44 Mexican citizens comprising of Native American, African, and European heritage inhabited the settlement. The Governor of Spanish California named the area ‘El Pueblo Sobre el Rio de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula’. However, and you can imagine that the settlers quickly shortened the name to Los Angeles.
Mexican Colony in Los Angeles, CA
Forty years after the town was established, Mexico won their independence from Spain and Los Angeles and other settlements in the area swore their allegiance to the new Mexican government. With this newfound independence came a population spike, as more Native Americans were assimilated into the culture and others from Europe and America made the bay area their home. Before the transition, the population was just under 700. However, the population by 1841 had nearly tripled.
Also during this time, cattle ranching, and agriculture begin to expand. The government signed hundreds of land grants and by 1835, The governor declared Los Angeles a city and made it the capital of California.
From Mexican Colony to American Territory
The Mexican-American War begins to break-out in 1846. And because of how far north the northern territories were from central Mexico, their military had trouble defending the area. The Battle of Rio San Gabriel took place in 1847 and ultimately resulted in the US taking Los Angeles and the Treaty of Cahuenga being signed by Governor Andres Pico which surrendered California to the United States.
It wasn’t until 1848 when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed that California became an official American territory. Governor Pico later became an American citizen and represented Los Angeles as a State Senator and then as a California State Legislator.
Soon after the US seized control of California, in 1849 gold was found and many settlers moved into the area in hopes of striking it rich. Over the next 50 years, LA continued to grow and expand with the introduction of the railroad line from LA to Chicago. Today the population stands at nearly 4 million and this hustling, bustling city is a far cry from the small settlement it once was.
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