The history of Los Angeles dates back to 1781, when 44 settlers from central New Spain (modern Mexico) established a permanent settlement in what is now downtown Los Angeles. This settlement was authorized by Viceroy Antonio María de Bucareli and followed instructions from the Spanish governor of Las Californias, Felipe de Neve. In 1835, the Mexican Congress declared Los Angeles a city, making it the official capital of Alta California. In the early 20th century, film producers from the East Coast moved to Los Angeles, making it a popular venue for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera and Dance Center, as well as several Oscar ceremonies.
The city also developed another industry during this time: manufacturing and aerospace. Warplanes were manufactured in Los Angeles, highlighting the region's dominance in these industries for decades to come. By the 18th century AD, there were between 250,000 and 300,000 natives in California and 5,000 in the Los Angeles Basin. In 1906, the approval of the Port of Los Angeles and a change in state law allowed the city to annex Shoestring, or Harbor Gateway, a narrow and crooked strip of land that runs from Los Angeles south to the port.
At the same time that Los Angeles was growing in size and industry, it was also becoming a popular destination for African Americans who had moved away from the East Coast during World War I. The San Fernando Valley became a favorite site for developers and the city began to expand beyond its original 28 square mile (73 km) concession. Inner-city commercial interests were eager to attract business and investment to Los Angeles and distance their city from the criminal underworld that defined stories of Chicago and New York. This led to public outrage when Mayor Shaw was accused of corruption in office.
The public quickly ousted Shaw from office, one of the first retreats from a big city in the country's history. At this same time, Harrison Gray Otis and his successor son-in-law Harry Chandler successfully undertook the purchase of cheap land on the northern outskirts of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. This area would become a popular destination for developers and residents alike. Today, Los Angeles is known as one of America's most iconic cities with its rich history and diverse culture.
From its roots in central New Spain to its current status as an international hub for entertainment and industry, Los Angeles has come a long way since its humble beginnings.