City Guide: Los Angeles
6/14/2011
Digging into the city's multicultural roots can be both a challenge and a fiesta -- these tips and resources will get you started.
With Hollywood's affinity for cosmetic surgery, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the face of Los Angeles has changed many times over its history. Founded in 1781 by the Spanish, Los Angeles became a part of Mexico in 1821, then the United States in 1850 when California joined the union. From her early days as a tiny pueblo of 44 pobladores (townspeople), the City of Angels has grown to 3.8 million Angelenos, making it the nation's second-most populous city (surpassed only by New York). Digging into the city's multicultural roots can be both a challenge and a fiesta -- these tips and resources will get you started.

A city of many madres
Like most major US cities, Los Angeles was home to American Indians long before the arrival of European explorers and settlers. Both the Tongva and Chumash may have witnessed the 1542 expedition of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese captain sailing the Pacific coast for the Spanish crown. Cabrillo and crew wintered over on Santa Catalina Island, but it wasn't until 1769 that Europeans returned, this time with soldiers and missionaries.

The settlement of Los Angeles remained under Spanish rule until Mexican independence in 1821, but Mexico's claim was short-lived. It ceded California to the United States following the Mexican-American war of 1846 to 1848.