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Los Angeles, California

The city of Los Angeles was inhabited by Native Americans during the 1500s. The Tongva tribe named their village Yang-na and established it on the bank of a river so that they would have direct access to the water.

During the mid 1500s a Portuguese explorer by the name of Rodríguez Cabrillo went on an expedition along the West Coast. In 1542, he came across the Yang-na village and noted the location on his map as he continued his exploration.

It was not for another 200 years that the next recorded incident occurred with the Yang-na village. In 1769, a Spanish Army captain, by the name of Gaspar de Portolá along with Franciscan priest Juan Crespi, led their own expedition along the West Coast to Monterey Bay.

During their journey along the West Coast, Crespi made an entry to his diary stating that during his time in Yang-na, it was the most "delightful place" he had ever been. They enjoyed the area so much it was decided that they would build a new community in the location of Yang-na, naming it Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciuncula, meaning Our Lady of the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula.

Soon after Crespi began his colonization of the area, Spain began their efforts to send settlers in an effort to establish a large Spanish city. Just a few years later in 1771, Franciscan priests came to the area and built the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. The people in charge of the efforts eventually decided to build a new pueblo, or town.

Upon hearing the news, the Mexican government quickly began making offers of free land, animals, tools and money to any person willing to settle the new fertile land. Those actions sparked a race for control over the Los Angeles area that the Mexican government eventually won.

The new name for the area was Pueblo of Los Angeles, established on September 4, 1771. The settlement began as a farming community that was able to provide for their own settlement and the surrounding areas, which was the result of the increase in pioneers.

Over the years, the city began to see a change in its economics as the cattle-raising industry started to take over, handing off farming to the surrounding communities. Cattle raising became its largest source of income.

As time went on and the United States began to acquire land on the West Coast, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848. The new treaty officially gave control of the California area to the United States.

Los Angeles is home to 176 institutions of higher learning. They include the University of California at Los Angeles , California State University - Los Angeles, Pepperdine University, Loyola Marymount University, and California Institute of Technology. The University of Southern California was first to establish schools in Cinema-Television, Gerontology, and the School of Urban Planning and Development. The L.A. Unified School District is the second largest school district in America, with New York City having the largest.

Los Angeles has a rich history that lends each part of the city its own story to tell. There are many museums that portray the city’s past, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with more than 150,000 works, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Visitors also will find The Getty museum. One of the largest attractions in the area is Griffith Park, which is one of the largest city-owned parks in the world. Visitors also will encounter the world’s largest oceanarium. One of the most popular things to see in Los Angeles is Universal Studios, home of some of the big box office hits, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall where the Los Angeles Philharmonic gives performances.


See also Northridge Earthquake .

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