United States

History of Los Angeles

Brief history of Los Angeles summarized

We explain the brief history of Los Angeles, the most populous city in California, in a summarized way.

The Los Angeles Foundation

The great city of Los Angeles was founded in 1781. It was called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula. (Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porcincula).

At first there were only a handful of families, but by 1800 it had a population of 315 people. The Plaza Catholic Church was built in 1822. The Los Angeles settlement grew steadily. Then in 1847, American forces captured Los Angeles.

With the discovery of gold in California in 1848, Americans rushed to live in and around Los Angeles. In 1850 Los Angeles was incorporated. Then, in 1851, Los Angeles got its first newspaper. By 1870 the population of Los Angeles had increased to 5,614 inhabitants.

However, in the winter of 1861-1862, Los Angeles suffered severe flooding. This was followed by two years of drought. However, Los Angeles recovered.

In the late 19th century, many people migrated to Southern California for the sake of their health. Climate was believed to heal or at least improve many conditions. Meanwhile, beginning in the 1870s, the orange industry in California boomed.

In 1874, the first streetcar began operating in Los Angeles. Then in 1876, Los Angeles was connected to San Francisco by rail. Also, the University of Southern California was founded in 1880.

In 1892 oil was discovered in Los Angeles. As a result, the city grew very rapidly and by 1900 the population of Los Angeles was over 100,000. Meanwhile, the Bradbury Building was built in 1893.

Los Angeles in the 20th century

In the early 20th century many Japanese immigrated to Southern California. Like many Mexicans. Also, since World War I a large number of African-Americans came to live in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, in 1904, Abbot Kinney built the city of Venice.

However, the growing city in an arid climate was facing a major problem in supplying its population with water. The Los Angeles Aqueduct was built in 1908-1913 to bring water to the city. Also in 1913 Cecil B. DeMille hired a barn in the suburb called Hollywood to make movies. In the years that followed, the Los Angeles film industry flourished.

During the early years of the 20th century, Los Angeles continued to grow, and in the early 1920s it surpassed San Francisco in size. In 1939 it had a population of more than 1.5 million inhabitants. The Biltmore Hotel was built in 1923.

Also in 1923 the famous Hollywood sign was erected for the first time. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was built in 1927. City Hall was built in 1928. Union Station was built in 1939.

However, like the rest of the world, Los Angeles suffered during the depression of the 1930s. Between 1935 and 1939 many “Okies” fleeing the dust bowl fled to the Los Angeles region.

Los Angeles grew again during World War II (although its Japanese citizens were interned). However, not everything went smoothly in Los Angeles in the 20th century. In the summer of 1943 there were riots called the Zoot Suit Riots, in which Mexicans were attacked.

Then in 1965, Los Angeles was again rocked by riots. On August 11, the police stopped and questioned an African American. In the ensuing riots, 34 people were killed. In 1992, 4 police officers beat up an African-American driver named Rodney King. However, at their trial the officers were acquitted.

The result was 3 days of rioting during which 58 people were killed. In 1994, Los Angeles was rocked by an earthquake. It measured 6.7 on the Richter scale. The earthquake caused 57 deaths and thousands of injuries. It also caused billions of dollars in damage.

However, Los Angeles soon recovered. Many famous buildings were built in Los Angeles in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Watts Towers was built in 1954 by Simon Rodia. The themed building was built in 1961. US Bank Tower was built in 1989. The first light rail line opened in 1990.

Meanwhile, in the late 20th century, Los Angeles’ manufacturing industry declined. However, the service industry grew. Tourism is now a flourishing industry in Los Angeles.

In 1993 a Museum of Tolerance was inaugurated. Los Angeles is also a prosperous financial center. At the end of the 20th century, the Hispanic population of Los Angeles grew dramatically. Meanwhile, the percentage of non-Hispanic whites decreased.

Los Angeles today

In the 21st century, Los Angeles continues to thrive. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels opened in 2002. The Walt Disney Concert Hall was built in 2003. The Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Los Angeles in 2015. In 2017 the population of Los Angeles was 4 million.

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