April 4, 2012

Ten thousand years later..La-La land

Los Angeles Plaza in 1869.

At the end of the Mexican-American War, in 1848, all of California was transferred from Mexican to US control via the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Two years later – on April 4 – the City of Our Lady of the Angels was incorporated as Los Angeles, five months before California became a state.

Southern California had been occupied and inhabited as an important trading site for more than 8,000 years. When the Spanish arrived, the very first peoples had been replaced by the Gabrilenos, who occupied about 4,000 square miles of SoCal, with their largest settlement in San Fernando.  Without the help of the Gabrilenos, the first handful of pobladores would never have survived.  But we all know how that story ends.

Map of the 'Mother Ditch,' which brought water from the L.A. river to the plaza.

Treaty or no treaty, the first Anglo Angelenos and Mexicans had a very rough period of adjustment, a conflict that has never quite abated. Anglos, from the first days of the city, began to settle on the margins, leaving the central Plaza area to the original inhabitants and incoming minorities. More about the early days here.

Thanks to an intrepid balloonist and an equally intrepid photographer, we have an aerial view from 1883.  The white streak is the Los Angeles River, which became a concrete-lined flood control channel after severe flooding in 1938.  The river has recently been given a new lease on life with a 20-year plan that will restore as much of it as possible.  Even now, it is possible to canoe certain restored stretches.



  1. very interesting love it thank you


    Comment by avery zia — April 4, 2012 @ 8:40 am | Reply

  2. Makes me mad to think of it!!! I don’t know how they ever forgave us.


    Comment by GALYA TARMU — April 4, 2012 @ 6:25 pm | Reply

  3. so good to know…la history 😉


    Comment by NINA — April 9, 2012 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

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