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First Beverly Hills Land Owner

Mariá Rita Quinteros Valdez de Villa, 1852

Portrait of Mariá Rita Quinteros Valdez de Villa, born 1791 in Los Angeles. Painted by an unknown artist (possibly Ignacio Maria Barreda) in Los Angeles, 1852. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Los Angeles may be the largest city in America founded by people of African-descent, but another storied Los Angeles County city can claim the same origin. Luis Quintero, a black man and one of the original settlers of Los Angeles, had a granddaughter, Mariá Rita Quinteros Valdez de Villa, born in 1791 to his daughter, Sebastiana, and her husband, Eugenio Valdez. In 1838, granddaughter Mariá, having been widowed in 1828 to a Spanish colonial soldier, Vicente Ferrer Villa y Martinez, was deeded the land to be named Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas. The land grant would later become Beverly Hills.


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