Los Angeles County
1800 to 1847
The first orange grove
in California is planted at the Mission San Gabriel. California is divided into
Alta California and Baja California.
The first American to visit Los
Angeles is Captain Jose Shaler, captain of the Lelia Byrd, returning to New England
from the Hawaiian Islands.
Padres from the San Fernando
Mission dam the waters of the Los Angeles River north of El Pueblo, provoking a
confrontation in court. The court rules in favor of El Pueblo. An Indian revolt erupts at
the Mission San Gabriel.
Severe flooding occurs.
The Ayuntamiento (city
council) is established.
The Plaza Church cornerstone is
Torrential rains flood out El
Pueblo, forcing it to relocate to higher ground. The Los Angeles River changes
its outlet to the sea from San Pedro to the
Ballona wetlands. A Russian trader, Boris Tarakanaf, is the
first foreigner jailed in El Pueblo. José Antonio Rocha, born in Portugal, becomes the
first foreigner to settle in El Pueblo.
The first school is established,
headed by Maximo Pina, a retired soldier. It fails after two years.
Chapman is shipwrecked at San Pedro and arrested as a pirate. After a brief jail term, he chooses to
stay in El Pueblo and becomes an active member of the community. He becomes the first
American and English-speaking person to settle in
Los Angeles. After repeated floods, El
Pueblo moves to a higher location. The Avila Adobe is built.
A year after Mexico frees itself
from Spanish rule, El Pueblo learns of the revolution and swears allegiance to the new
independent nation. The Plaza Catholic Church is completed.
The Los Angeles River changes its outlet back from
the Ballona wetlands to San Pedro.
A party of American trappers led
by Jebediah S. Smith arrives in El Pueblo from the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. They are the
first Americans to arrive in California overland. They are ordered to leave
by the authorities,
but Smith later returns. The first priest permanently assigned to Los Angeles
John Temple opens El
Pueblos first general store.
John Groningen, a new resident in
El Pueblo, purchases the local Yang-Na Indian village and expels its residents. The
site later becomes the Los Angeles Civic Center.
Governor José Maria Echeandia
issues a proclamation to secularize all California missions. A month later, the new
governor, Manuel Victoria, annuls the proclamation that leads to the arrest and
banishment of several prominent citizens of El Pueblo. A brief, local war erupts, forcing
Governor Victoria out of California and re-establishing the original plan to secularize
the missions. California is divided into northern and southern provinces. Pio Pico becomes
governor of the southern province and establishes his government in Los Angeles.
Heaving flooding occurs.
The Mexican Congress passes the
Secularization Act that places the Mission San Gabriel and the Mission San Fernando under
The dismantling of the missions
begins. Mission padres order the slaughter of over 100,000 cattle at the Mission San
Gabriel in response to the impending takeover.
Los Angeles is given the status
of a "city" by the Mexican Congress replacing Monterey as capital of California.
Richard Henry Danas voyage aboard the Pilgrim brings him to the Los Angeles
area. His descriptions of California in his book Two Years Before the Mast
sparks interest in California. The second largest ethnic group in the city is French.
A local civil war breaks out
between northern and southern California. Indian forced labor is initiated. The
Mexican government takes the first
official census of Los Angeles. The population is fixed at 2,228. This includes
603 men, 421 women, 651 children and 553 "domesticated Indians." Among
Los Angeles residents are 29 Americans, 4 Britons, 3 Portuguese, 2 Africans, and
a Canadian, Irishman, Italian, German, Scot, Norwegian, and Curacao. The first vigilante
committee forms in Los Angeles to seize a man and woman from the authorities
accused of murdering the woman's husband. The pair are executed by the
Alvarado exiles all
foreigners who would not become Mexican citizens. The first multi-story home is built on
One of the first California-bound
wagon trains, the Workman-Rowland party, arrives in Los Angeles from New Mexico. William Wolfskill plants the first commercial orange grove in California.
Oranges had otherwise been grown in the area since 1804.
Lopez makes Californias first gold discovery in Placerita Canyon in
the Santa Clarita Valley.
The local California civil war
ends with the battle of Cahuenga Pass. The casualties are one horse and one mule. Pio Pico
is made governor of all of California and Los Angeles is finally recognized as the
provincial capital. Rancho Encino is established.
The United States declares war on
Mexico. U.S. Navy Commodore Robert F. Stockton lands his forces at San Pedro
Major John C. Fremont raises the American flag over Los Angeles without resistance (August
13). Having endured petty bullying by the small garrison of American Marines left behind
in Los Angeles, local residents revolt and force the garrison to surrender. The American
troops are allowed to withdraw without harassment to San Pedro. U.S. reinforcements later
arrive in San Pedro but fail to recapture Los Angeles.
U.S. forces win the
Battle of the
San Gabriel River and proceed to recapture Los Angeles (January 10). The Californios
capitulate to the Americans after negotiating the Treaty of the Cahuenga Ranch near Los
Angeles (January 13). Fort Moors is dedicated by the U.S. Army in Los Angeles as part of the
citys first celebration of American Independence Day.