Who Were the First Inhabitants of Los Angeles?

Learn about who were the first inhabitants of Los Angeles and how they shaped its history. Discover how Spanish and Mexican settlers influenced LA and how Native Americans lived in this territory.

Who Were the First Inhabitants of Los Angeles?

Los Angeles has a long and fascinating history, with the first inhabitants arriving in the area around 8000 BC. The Chumash were the first to settle in the Los Angeles Basin, followed by the Tatavians (later Fernandenos) around 300 BC. The Tongva Indians arrived around 500 AD, and some accounts suggest that they displaced the Chumash. Los Angeles has become one of the most visited places in the United States, and people from all over the world are drawn to its many attractions.

It is home to Hollywood, where many actors, actresses, and directors have made their mark. But before it was a city, Los Angeles was home to Native Americans who called themselves the Tongva tribe. The Tongva were a successful community due to their access to many raw materials. They built a plaza in what is now Los Angeles, but it had to be moved twice because it was too close to the riverbed.

When Spanish and Mexican settlers arrived in the area, they heavily influenced Los Angeles and built more than 1000 miles of roads connecting it to other cities in California. In 1942, during World War II, anti-aircraft gunners fired at an approaching aircraft that was later identified as a U. S. plane.

This event sparked fear among Los Angeles residents that enemy aircraft were present in the area. In 1876, the Newhall Rail Tunnel was completed between San Fernando and Lyons Station (now Newhall). This provided a link between San Francisco and Los Angeles for the railroad. During this time, people built too close to the riverbed, leading to their homes and barns being washed away during floods.In 1877, a group of 55 soldiers, 22 settlers with families, and 1000 head of cattle were recruited to settle in Los Angeles.

This included horses for the army. The Owens River, located 250 miles northeast of Los Angeles near the Nevada border, was eyed as a potential source of water for the city.The first racially restrictive pact in Los Angeles dates back to 1902 and used the term “non-Caucasian” to prevent people of color from living in that household. The Los Angeles River provided plenty of water for homes and farms for its first 120 years.Fred Eaton, Lippencott's agent and former mayor of Los Angeles, was able to persuade Owens Valley farmers and water companies to unite their interests and transfer water rights over 200,000 acres of land to him.In anticipation of a full-scale invasion of the continental United States during World War II, Japanese forces planned to bomb Los Angeles with giant seaplanes. Fortunately, this never came to fruition.The parents of the San Fernando Mission dammed up the waters of the Los Angeles River north of El Pueblo, leading to a confrontation in court.

Lippencott conducted studies on water in the Owens Valley for the Service while secretly receiving a salary from the city of Los Angeles.

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