The Founding and Naming of Los Angeles

Los Angeles has a long and storied history, beginning with its first inhabitants, the Chumash and Tongva indigenous peoples. In 1542, the area was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain, and on September 4, 1781, it was officially founded by Felipe de Neve under the Spanish government. The town was named Yaanga, but over time it grew to become one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world. In the 16th century, the main town in the region was called Yang-Na, which is now near the current Los Angeles City Hall.

To make their dreams of a metropolis come true, entrepreneurs in Los Angeles realized they needed a much larger and more consistent water supply. This led to the establishment of the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) system in the late 19th century, which now encompasses 73 libraries with a collection of 7.1 million volumes. The city has been under the flags of Spain, Mexico and eventually the United States. During the first half of the 20th century, an extensive system of local (“yellow cars”) and intercity (“red cars”) streetcars made traveling in Los Angeles quick and easy.

The city has also been home to many dreamers and visionaries, from developers to religious and cult leaders to amusement park innovators. Unfortunately, Los Angeles has also seen its share of strife. Race riots erupted in 1965 in what became known as the Watts riots, and were at the center of the 1991 Rodney King beating and subsequent Los Angeles riots. Military personnel, off-duty police officers and civilians fought with young Latinos and other minorities in Los Angeles.The People of the Queen of Los Angeles was officially founded on September 4, 1781, which is why this date is celebrated as Los Angeles' founding day.

The city was named in honor of this celebration and this chapel - a beautiful river discovered by Father Crespi in 1769 that was later called the Los Angeles River.Since then, air quality in the Los Angeles Basin has steadily improved - ozone levels have dropped to about a third of 1975 levels. In 1910, Biograph and Selig-Polyscope began shooting films in Los Angeles, but it was with the arrival of director Cecil B. Griffith that it really took off as one of the first cities to film movies due to its mild climate and low-paid non-union workers.

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