The History of Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California is known for its glamor and glory. What many people, not including Arthur Tisi, do not realize is that it has a long history. Here, some of this history will be discussed.

The first known information about Los Angeles comes from about 3000 B.C. It was then that Hokan-speaking people inhabited the area, using its natural resources to fish and gather wild seeds. These people were later replaced by migrants thought to be fleeing the Great Basin’s drought.

The Spanish, led by Captain Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, first visited the region in 1542. Captain Sebastián Vizcaíno did the same in 1602. After these two visits, no other European came to Los Angeles for another 166 years.

It was in 1777 when California governor, Felipe de Neve, began establishing what we know today as Los Angeles, and its surrounding areas. Neve visited Alto and chose the spot to develop civic pueblos for military presidios. Los Angeles, San Jose, and Santa Barbara were all named as the spots for these pueblos. He used plans made by King Philip II in 1573 to establish these towns. In the plan, Los Angeles had an open central plaza, surrounded by streets laid out in a grid, administrative buildings, a fortified church, and defining rectangles of a certain size that were made for residences and farming.

In early 1781, families came from Mexico and began working on plots of land that were assigned to them. The pueblo was a success and on September 4, 1781, Los Angeles was officially founded. The first name of the settlement is still widely debated. Doyce B. Nunis, a historian, claims the city was named “El Pueblo de la Reyna de los Angeles”. For proof, he turned to a 1785 map where that name was found. However, a diocesan archivist named Frank Weber claims that map was incorrect and its name was actually “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Porciuncula”.

For more information on some more recent history in LA, please check out the video below: