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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 city in Los Angeles County also traces its origin to the same founders. Mariá Rita Quinteros Valdez de Villa was the granddaughter of Luis Quintero, a black man and one of the original settlers of Los Angeles. She was born in 1791 to Quintero's daughter, Sebastiana, and her husband, Eugenio Valdez. In 1838, Mariá, having been widowed, a decade earlier, to a Spanish colonial soldier, Vicente Ferrer Villa y Martinez, was deeded the land that was to be named Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas. The land grant would later become Beverly Hills.

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