The Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the Tongva and Chumash Native American tribes dating back thousands of years ago.
In 1542, a Portuguese-born explorer named Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire
Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí reached Los Angeles on August 2, 1769.
In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra directed the first mission in the area, the building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel .
On September 4, 1781 a group known as “Los Pobladores” founded the pueblo called “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula”. The English translation of the name is “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Porciúncula River”. The Queen of Angels is in honor of the Virgin Mary. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street.
New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in the year of 1821 and the pueblo would continue as a part of Mexico.
Governor Pío Pico made Los Angeles Alta California’s regional capital during the Mexican Rule. The Mexican rule ended during the Mexican/American War when the Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles which ended with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga back on January 13, 1847.
With the completion of the Southern Pacific line to Los Angeles in 1876 railroads were starting to pop up. The city’s boom continued when Oil was discovered in 1892. By 1923, the aforementioned discoveries helped California become the United States’ largest oil producer.
The area completed the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, under the supervision of William Mulholland which continued the city’s tremendous growth.
In 1910 Los Angeles had annexed Hollywood and at least 10 movie companies were operating in the city. By 1921, more than 80 percent of the world’s film industry was concentrated in Los Angeles generating tons of money that kept the city insulated from much of the economic pain suffered during the Great Depression. In 1930, the population surpassed one million residents, a major landmark for the City of Angels
During World War II, Los Angeles was a major center of wartime manufacturing such as shipbuilding and aircraft manufacturing with hundreds of Liberty Ships and Victory Ships being built on Terminal Island. During that time period Los Angeles was the headquarters of six of the country’s major aircraft manufacturers including Douglas Aircraft Company, Hughes Aircraft, Lockheed, North American Aviation, Northrop Corporation and Vultee.
Following the end of World War II, Los Angeles continued it’s upward growth by expanding into the San Fernando Valley. The expansion of the Interstate Highway System during the 1950s and 1960s helped fuel the suburban growth and also marked the demise of the city’s electrified rail system.
In 1969 the first ARPANET transmission was sent from the University of California, Los Angeles to SRI in Menlo Park making Los Angeles one of the birthplaces of the Internet.