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Original Settlers (Pobladores) of
El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, 1781

Founding of Los Angeles by Millard Sheets

Photo of Mural by Millard Sheets. Photo by Charles C. Pierce. Courtesy of the California Historical Society & USC Library.


More than half of the first settlers of Los Angeles were of African descent.

Spanish Colonial Family of African Descent in New Spain, Circa 1770
Painting of Spanish colonial family of African descent in the Americas, ca. 1770. Museo Nacional de Antropología de América, Madrid, via Wikimedia Commons.

Recorded Family Head Age Race Birthplace Name, Age & Race of Spouse Children3
Manuel Camero1 30 Mulatto2 Nayarit Maria Tomasa Garcia (24, Mulatta) None
Jose Fernando de Velasco y Lara 50 Spaniard4 Cadiz, Spain Maria Antonia Campos (23, Indian) Maria Juana, 6
Jose Julian, 4
Maria Faustina, 2
Antonio Mesa 38 Black Sinaloa Maria Ana Gertrudis Lopez (27, Mulatta) Maria Paula, 10
Antonio Maria, 8
Jose Cesario Moreno1 22 Mulatto2 Sinaloa Maria Guadalupe Gertrudis Perez (19, Mulatta) None
Jose Antonio Navarro 42 Mestizo5 Sinaloa Maria Regina Dorotea Gloria de Soto y Rodriguez (47, Mulatta) Jose Maria, 10
Jose Clemente, 9
Mariana Josefa, 4
Luis Manuel Quintero 55 Black Jalisco Maria Petra Rubio (40, Mulatta) Maria Getrudis, 16
Maria Concepcion, 9
Maria Tomasa, 7
Maria Rafaela, 6
Jose Clemente, 3
Pablo Rodriguez 25 Indian Sinaloa Maria Rosalia Noriega (26, Indian) Maria Antonia, 1
Jose Antonio Basilio Rosas 67 Indian Durango Maria Manuela Calistra Hernandez (43, Mulatta) Jose Maximo, 15
Jose Carlos, 12
Maria Josefa, 8
Antonio Rosalino, 7
Jose Marcelino, 4
Juan Esteban, 2
Alejandro Rosas1 19 Indian Sinaloa Juana Maria Rodriguez (20, Indian)6 None
Jose Maria Vanegas7 28 Indian Jalisco Maria Bonifacia Maxima Aguilar (20, Indian) Cosme Damien, 1
Antonio Clemente Felix Villavicencio 30 Spaniard4 Chihuahua Maria de los Santos Seferina (26, Indian) Maria Antonia, 8

1) Married just prior to leaving for the new pueblo because new settlers were required to be heads of families. He was also eldest son of fellow settler Jose Basilio Rosas
2) Mulatto - person born of mixed white and black parentage.
3) Children at the time of the settlement of the Pueblo. Some of the settlers later added more children.
4) Velasco Y Lara was Peninsular - Spaniard born in Spain. Villavicencio was Criollo - Spaniard born in Americas.
5) Mestizo - person born of mixed white and Indian parentage.
6) Sister of fellow settler Pablo Rodriguez.
7) Vanegas was appointed to be the first alcalde (mayor).

A twelfth settler, Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, a 50-year-old Filipino, and his 11 year-old daughter were also slated to settle in the new pueblo. They set out with the rest of the pobladores in early 1781 on the journey to their new home. While in Baja California, however, they were among those who fell ill to smallpox and remained there for an extended time to recuperate. When they finally arrived in Alta California (the present-day State of California), it was discovered that Miranda Rodriguez was a skilled gunsmith. He was subsequently reassigned to the Santa Barbara Presidio in 1782 to be an armorer.

Maria Guadalupe Gertrudis Perez, wife of Jose Moreno, was the last surviving original settler. She died in 1860, having lived almost 100 years. Her granddaughter, Catalina Carmen Moreno (later Catalina Moreno de Lopez), lived as the wife of Don Andres Pico, brother of Pio Pico and Mexican military commander at the Battle of San Pasqual, but they apparently never formally married. This prevented Catalina from acting as heir to Pico's estate. She was, however, later buried with him.

Four colonial soldiers (escoltas), with their families, escorted the original settlers for the final leg of their journey from the Mission San Gabriel to Los Angeles.

Corporal José Vicente Feliz, age about 40, born in Sonora.
Private Roque Jacinto de Cota, age about 57, born in Sinaloa.
Private Antonio de Cota, younger brother of Roque Cota, age unknown.
Private Francisco Salvador de Lugo, age about 41, born in Sinaloa.

Earliest Map of Los Angeles

The map below was drawn by Jose Arguello in 1786, just five years after the new pueblo was established. It is the earliest known map of Los Angeles. The map shows relative locations of homes (upper map) and farm plots (lower right) for each of the families settling the new pueblo.

Earliest map of Los Angeles drawn by José Arguello, 1786. Courtesy Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

Whatever Happened to the Original Settlers?

Antonio Clemente Felix Villavicencio - Moved to Santa Barbara in 1797. Died there in 1802.
Jose de Velasco y Lara - Among three families reportedly expelled from the pueblo in 1782. He then joined the expedition to establish the Presidio in Santa Barbara. Died in Nayarit on an unfortunate return trip to Mexico in 1783.*
Luis Quintero - Among three families expelled from the pueblo in 1782 and, along with Jose de Velasco y Lara, joined the expedition to establish the Presidio in Santa Barbara. He may have wished to be near his three daughters who had married soldiers stationed in Santa Barbara. Died in Santa Barbara in 1810.
Antonio Mesa - Apparently became disillusioned with the hardships in Alta California and fell among the families expelled from the pueblo in 1782. He received permission to return to Sonora, Mexico.
Jose Antonio Navarro - Sent to San Jose in 1790 and later to the Presidio in San Francisco. Buried at the Mission Dolores in San Francisco in 1793.
Pablo Rodriguez - Moved to San Diego in 1796 to be mayordomo of Mission San Diego. Later moved to San Juan Capistrano. Buried at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1816. His wife was buried at Mission San Gabriel in 1824.
Jose Vanegas - Remained in Los Angeles for 20 years during which he served as its first alcalde (mayor). Upon the death of his wife in 1801 (she is buried at San Gabriel Mission), he moved to San Diego and the Mission San Luis Rey.
Manuel Camero - Remained in Los Angeles. Served as a Los Angeles regidor (councilman). Buried at Mission San Gabriel in 1819.
Jose Moreno - Remained in Los Angeles. Served as a Los Angeles regidor. Buried at Mission San Gabriel in 1806.
Alejandro Rosas - Remained in Los Angeles. He died here only a month after his wife in January 1789.
Jose Antonio Rosas - Remained in Los Angeles. Buried at the Mission San Gabriel in 1809. His wife died in 1823.

* Jose de Velasco y Lara was ordered back to Mexico by the authorities when he confessed to Father Junipero Serra that his first wife, whom he had maintained was dead, might actually still be alive. He was already remarried with children. He unfortunately never returned to see his second wife and children in Santa Barbara, having died not long after returning to Nayarit.