Who Was the First Person to Live in Los Angeles?

Learn about who was the first person to live in Los Angeles and how they shaped its history. Discover how LA has evolved over time from its early settlers to its modern day inhabitants.

Who Was the First Person to Live in Los Angeles?

The first people to inhabit the Los Angeles area were the Chumash, who settled in the Los Angeles Basin around 8000 BC. C. Around 300 BC. C., the Tatavians (later Fernandenos) moved into what is now the San Fernando Valley.

About 500 AD, the Tongva Indians arrived in the Los Angeles Basin, possibly displacing the Chumash. In 1787, Pedro Fages, the Spanish governor of California, established the Los Angeles People's Body Guard and named the settlement. The first racially restrictive pact in Los Angeles was enacted in 1902 and used the term “non-Caucasian” to prevent people of color from living in certain homes. On September 4, 1781, The Town of the Queen of Los Angeles was officially founded.

Fred Eaton, Lippencott's agent and former mayor of Los Angeles, was successful in uniting farmers in Owens Valley and mutual water companies to transfer water rights over 200,000 acres (800 km) of land to him. At this time, Los Angeles was preparing for municipal elections while the McNamara brothers were awaiting trial. Most of the destroyed houses had wooden roofs which caused their own loss and spread fiery flames up to three miles (5 km) away. The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce feared that the South Pacific would control the port, so it tried to favor the location of San Pedro, leading to the Fight for the Free Port.

In response, Hellman bought five streetcar lines and consolidated them into the Los Angeles Railroad (the “yellow cars”). Two years later he founded the Pacific Electric Railway (the “red cars”). Griffith was one of the first directors to film in the Los Angeles area due to its mild climate and low salaries of non-union workers. In 1881, Southern Pacific Railroad completed a road to Los Angeles which linked it with the rest of the United States.

Racially restrictive housing agreements were an important part of housing development and real estate sales in Los Angeles. The Watts riots of 1965 and Rodney King beating and subsequent Los Angeles riots were major events in LA's history. The hordes of 49ers residents who flocked to California depended on beef and other foods from ranches and farms in the Los Angeles area.

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