The History of Los Angeles: From Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo to the San Fernando Valley

The history of Los Angeles is a long and complex one, beginning with the Chumash and Tongva indigenous peoples who first inhabited the area. In 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area for Spain, and in 1781, Felipe de Neve founded the town of Yaanga, which would later become Los Angeles. The city was populated by 44 pioneers from Spanish Mexico, known as the “settlers”. During its first 120 years, the Los Angeles River supplied the city with abundant water for homes and farms.Los Angeles has a turbulent racial history, from the annihilation of California's native population to its violence against the Chinese population.

An influential strike was the Los Angeles garment workers' strike of 1933, one of the first strikes in which Mexican immigrant workers played a prominent role in seeking union recognition. In 1910, Biograph and Selig-Polyscope began shooting in Los Angeles, and Cecil B. Governor Downey was born and raised in Castlesampson, County Roscommon, Ireland, and arrived in Los Angeles in 1850.The opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct provided the city with four times more water than it needed, and the provision of water service became a powerful attraction for neighboring communities. The reaction to police brutality led to the Watts riots of 1965 and the Los Angeles riots of 1992, following the beating of Rodney King.

Los Angeles continued to expand, particularly with the development of the San Fernando Valley and the construction of highways opened in the 1940s.Sometime between 1899 and 1903, Harrison Gray Otis and his successor son-in-law, Harry Chandler, undertook successful efforts to buy cheap land on the northern outskirts of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley. The fruits are surrounded by a 77-beaded rosary that represents the role played by the Spanish missions in the early years of Los Angeles. Lippencott conducted water studies in the Owens Valley for the Service while secretly receiving a salary from the city of Los Angeles.

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