Los Angeles Area Timeline

  • June 3, 1579 Sir Francis Drake claims California for England, calling it "Nova Albion".
  • September 8, 1771 San Gabriel Mission established.
  • September 4, 1781 Gaspar de Portola and Franciscan monk Junipero Serra dedicate a new town one day's ride north of San Pedro. Serra names the town after St. Francis of Assisi's first church, St. Mary of the Angels -- El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles. Forty-four original settlers included twenty-six of African descent and seven native Americans.
  • 1826 Rancho el Rincon de San Pascual gifted to Doña Eulalia Pérez de Guillen by the padres
    of San Gabriel Mission.
  • 1833 The Mexican Government awards San Gabriel Mission land to individuals.
  • February 18, 1835 Rancho San Pasqual was formally granted by the Mexican government to
    Don Juan Mariné, husband of Doña Eulalia Pérez de Guillen.
  • March 9, 1842 Francisco Lopez discovered gold in Placerita Canyon, in the Santa Clarita Valley.
  • November 28, 1843 Rancho el Rincon de San Pascual gifted by Mexican Governor.
    Manuel Micheltorena to his good friend, Colonel Manuel Garfias, son of a distinguished Mexican family.
  • 1844 Leonis Adobe built Miguel Leonis, a Basque immigrant who acquired the land in part by marrying Espiritu, daughter of Chief Oden.
  • February 20, 1845 Battle of the Cahuenga Pass.
  • Jan. 8, 1847 The Battle of the Rio San Gabriel (American troops v. the Californians.
    The Battle took place in the vicinity of the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Bluff Road in Montebello.)
  • April 13, 1846 Commodore Stockton and Fremont retake Los Angeles from the Californios.
  • October 8, 1846 The Battle of Dominguez Rancho (American troops v. the Californians again.
    The Battle took place in the vicinity of the intersection of 181st Street and Alameda Boulevard in Compton. The Americans were forced to retreat to their ship in San Pedro.)
  • January 9, 1847 Commodore Stockton recaptured Los Angeles for the third and final time.
  • January 13, 1847 Mexican general Andres Pico surrenders California to U.S. General John Fremont
    at Campo de Cahuenga.
  • March 19, 1847 The Mormons arrive in Los Angeles to claim it for the United States.
  • February 18, 1850 The limits of Los Angeles County are mapped out, including all the territory between San Diego and Santa Barbara, around 34,000 square miles. Later the counties of Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino, and Ventura separate.
  • April 4, 1850 City of Los Angeles incorporated.
  • September 9, 1850 California enters the union.
  • August 7, 1851 Los Angeles County divided into six townships: Los Angeles, San Gabriel, San Jose,
    San Bernardino, Santa Ana, and San Juan Capistrano.
  • April 26, 1853 San Bernadino County formed out of L.A. County.
  • 1857 The Fort Tejon Earthquake (estimated 8.0 richter).
  • January 24, 1865 Pioneer Oil Company begins prospecting for petroleum in Los Angeles.
  • April 15, 1865 Union troops stop Los Angeleanos celebrating the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
  • April 2, 1866 Kern County formed out of L.A. county.
  • August 5, 1769 Gaspar de Portola discovers the San Fernando Valley.
  • October 24, 1871 The Chinese Massacre
  • December 7, 1872 The Los Angeles Library Association formed.
  • April 22, 1875 The San Gabriel Orange Grove Association formally named their community Pasadena.
  • 1876 Railway links Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • 1882 The first Los Angeles telephone book is issued, all three pages of it.
  • 1882 La Casa de Lopez Adobe was built by Valentin Lopez.
  • January 20, 1883 Railroad accident on Tehachapi Pass More then 20 deaths John Downey survived
  • February 14, 1886 Los Angeles begins to export oranges back east.
  • 1886 Pasadena incorporated.
  • February 1, 1887 Henry Wilcox files a deed for a ranch, later to become the City of Hollywood.
  • February 10, 1888 The City of Long Beach incorporated.
  • 1890 Orange County formed out of Los Angeles county.
  • Population of Los Angeles reaches 50,000.
  • January 1, 1890 First Tournament of Roses Parade held in Pasadena.
  • 1910 The Town of Hollywood was annexed by Los Angeles.
  • July 8, 1911 City of Burbank incorporates.
  • October 1, 1911 The Los Angeles Times Building is destroyed by bomb.
  • November 5, 1913 William Mulholland's aqueduct brings water to Los Angeles from 200 miles north,
    without which L.A.'s population would probably never have grown beyond 100,000.
  • 1926 Horticulturalist Luther Burbank died.
  • 1928 Los Angeles City Hall dedicated.
  • March 12, 1928 The St. Francis Dam in San Fransquito Canyon bursts and sends a 180 foot wall of water from Santa Clarita to Oxnard on the coast, killing 400 people.
  • 1931 Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) opened .
  • 1933 The Long Beach Earthquake. Last time my Great Grandmother, Letitia LaVigne Pankratz, rode in an elevator.
  • Population of Los Angeles reaches 1.5 million.
  • 1941 Pearl Harbor Attacked, U.S. enters WWII
  • December 8, 1941 Fourth Interceptor Command falsely reports two formations of enemy planes over
    San Francisco headed for Los Angeles. Panic ensues: arrests of Japanese-American citizens begin,
    a deportation camp is set up in Toluca Lake (another in Manzanar, CA). The L.A. Nippons baseball team is allowed to finish it's game with the Paramount Studio team, then the F.B.I. arrests them all. The enemy planes turned out to be sea birds.
  • 1943 Zoot Suit Riots -- clash between hundreds of sailors and marines and local Hispanic gangs -
    "zoot suiters". M.P.'s and police quell fighting, only to have more servicemen arrive to avenge their comrades. Downtown L.A. becomes a battlezone for several nights.
  • 1954 The Los Angeles Fire department is ordered by federal courts to integrate.
  • 1960 Population of Los Angeles reaches 2.4 million.
  • August 11 to August 16, 1965 Watts Riots
  • June 6, 1968 Robert Kennedy assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel
  • 1986 The Los Angeles Central Library burned down.
  • 1987 The Whittier Earthquake.
  • November 2, 1991 Los Angeles was split into three telephone area codes 213, 310 and 818.
  • April 29 to May 2, 1992 The Los Angeles Riots followed the announcement of the verdict in the Rodney King beating case.
  • 1994 The Northridge Earthquake, epicenter awfully-darn close to the hospital where I was born 35 years earlier!
  • Present-day population of Los Angeles is ten million.

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    Submitted by Aileen Fish Underwood / Bakersfield, California
    Last Updated April 25, 2006

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