Los Angeles: A History

Los Angeles: A History

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Los Angeles, America’s second largest city and the West Coast’s biggest economic powerhouse, was originally settled by indigenous tribes, including the Chumash and Tongva hunter gatherers, by 8000 B.C.

Portuguese sailor Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo was the first European to explore the region in 1542, but it wasn’t until 1769 that Gaspar de Portolá established a Spanish outpost in the Los Angeles area.

The outpost grew larger in 1781, when a group of 44 settlers of European, African and Native American backgrounds traveled from northern Mexico to establish a farming village on the banks of the Rio Porciúncula. The Spanish governor named the settlement El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula, or "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciúncula.”

Spanish missions were soon established in the area, including Mission San Fernando, named for Ferdinand III of Spain, and Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, founded by Junipero Serra. In 1821, Mexico declared its independence from Spain, and all of California fell under Mexican control.

Gold Rush Brings Hordes of Prospectors

But in 1846, the Mexican American War broke out, and two years later California was annexed by the United States. The timing was fortuitous, as rich deposits of gold were discovered in the Sacramento Valley in 1848, igniting the Gold Rush. The hordes of ‘49ers flocking to California depended on beef and other foods from ranches and farms in the Los Angeles area.

In 1881, after years of America’s “manifest destiny” expansion, Southern Pacific Railroad completed a track into Los Angeles, linking the city with the rest of the United States. This sparked a flurry of land speculation, and civic boosters were soon tempting winter-weary Easterners with promises of lush orange groves and boundless sunshine.

But oranges and people need water, and L.A. looked to the Owens Valley, some 200 miles away, to slake its thirst. After years of backroom deals, bribery and other shenanigans, superintendent William Mulholland opened the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913 with the words, “There it is. Take it.”

Hollywood Is Born, Oil Industry Moves In

D.W. Griffith was among the first directors to film in the Los Angeles area, attracted by the mild weather and low-wage, non-union workers. By 1913, Cecil B. de Mille was shooting movies in the area. Soon, the small town known as Hollywood was annexed by Los Angeles, making the city the center of the entertainment industry.

The city is also a center of the oil industry: Edward Doheny—notorious for his involvement in the Teapot Dome Scandal—hit a gusher near downtown Los Angeles in 1892, and within a few years more than 500 oil wells were pumping across the L.A. basin. By 1924, the city’s population topped 1 million, and the city proudly played host to the Summer Olympics in 1932 (and again in 1984).

Racial Unrest

During World War II, almost 100,000 workers were employed in shipbuilding and warplane manufacturing around the Port of Los Angeles. But the rapid growth of the multiethnic metropolis brought considerable tensions: During the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots, violent mobs of U.S. servicemen brutally attacked Latinos.

Racial unrest exploded again in the 1965 Watts Riots, and was at the center of the 1991 Rodney King beating and the Los Angeles Riots that followed. In 1994, O.J. Simpson was arrested for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, only to be acquitted one year later.

Threatened by Earthquakes, Wildfires

Natural disasters have also disrupted the calm in Los Angeles: The 1994 Northridge earthquake killed 57 people and caused more than $20 billion in damages. Other disasters, such as the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, the 1971 Sylmar earthquake and the 2018 Woolsey wildfire, have ravaged the city.

As of 2017, the population of the City of Los Angeles was more than 4 million and the entire metropolitan area was home to over 12 million people.


City of Los Angeles
Historical Timeline of Los Angeles, Water and Power Associates
El Pueblo de Los Angeles
The History of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles
LA History 101, Curbed Los Angeles
Historical Timeline of Los Angeles, Discover Los Angeles

Prelude: The American League comes to Los Angeles Edit

For many years, there had been talk of an existing American League team relocating to Los Angeles. In 1940, the St. Louis Browns asked AL owners for permission to move to Los Angeles, but were turned down. They planned another move for the 1942 season, and this time got permission from the league. A schedule was even drawn up including Los Angeles, but the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 made major-league sports of any sort on the West Coast unviable. In 1953, there was again talk of the Browns moving to L.A. for the 1954 season, but the team was sold and moved to Baltimore instead as the Orioles. There were on-again, off-again discussions between city officials and the Washington Senators regarding a possible move. There were also rumors that the Philadelphia Athletics' move to Kansas City in 1955 was a temporary stop on the way to Los Angeles.

In the end it was the National League that first came to the city, in the form of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley purchased the Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels in early 1957 from Chicago Cubs owner Phil Wrigley. Under the rules of the time, he also acquired the rights to a major league team in Los Angeles, which he used to move the Dodgers there a year later. Under ordinary circumstances, that would have precluded any subsequent American League presence in the Los Angeles area. However, in an effort to prevent the proposed Continental League from becoming a reality, in 1960 the two existing leagues agreed to expand, adding two teams to each league. The understanding that expansion teams would be placed in cities without major league baseball quickly broke down since efforts to create the Continental League were driven by parties interested in restoring National League baseball to New York. When the National League placed a team in New York City (the Mets) as its tenth franchise, the American League announced plans to place an expansion team in Los Angeles, to begin play in 1961.

The inception of a franchise Edit

The team has an owner Edit

Gene Autry, former movie cowboy, singer, actor and owner of Golden West Broadcasters (including Los Angeles' KMPC radio and KTLA television), attended the Major League Owners' meeting in St. Louis in 1960 in hopes of winning broadcasting rights for the new team's games. Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg was initially on the fast track to be the team's first owner, with Bill Veeck as a partner. However, when O'Malley got word of Veeck's involvement, he invoked his exclusive right to operate a major league team in Southern California. In truth, O'Malley wasn't about to compete with Veeck, who was known as a master promoter. After it became obvious that O'Malley would never sign off on the deal as long as Veeck was a part-owner, Greenberg was forced to bow out. After another bid by Chicago insurance executive and future A's owner Charlie Finley failed, Autry was persuaded to make a bid himself. Autry (who had been a minority stockholder in the Angels' PCL rival, the Hollywood Stars) agreed, and purchased the franchise.

The team gets its name Edit

Autry named the new franchise the Los Angeles Angels. The origins of the name date back to 1892, when it was first used by a Los Angeles franchise in the California League. The Angel moniker has always been natural for Los Angeles teams, since The Angels is a literal English translation of the Spanish Los Angeles. It was also a nod to the long-successful PCL team that played in Los Angeles from 1903 through 1957. O'Malley still owned the rights to the Angels name even after moving the team to Spokane to make way for the Dodgers, so Autry paid O'Malley $300,000 for the rights to the name.

The 1960s: early AL years Edit

Angels in Los Angeles Edit

The Angels and their fellow expansionists, the new Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers) chose players from other American League teams in an expansion draft. In 1961, the first year of the team's existence, the Angels finished 70–91 for a .435 winning percentage, still the highest winning percentage ever for a first-year major league expansion team. Moreover, they not only finished nine games ahead of the Senators, but also nine games ahead of the Kansas City Athletics. The 1961 Angels, admittedly a motley crew, featured portly first baseman Steve Bilko, a long-time fan favorite who played many years with the PCL Angels. Another favorite was the diminutive (5' 5⅜") center fielder, El Monte native Albie Pearson. The Angels played that inaugural season at Wrigley Field in South Los Angeles, the longtime home of the PCL Angels and also of the syndicated television series Home Run Derby. They originally wanted to play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Dodgers had played on a temporary basis since moving from Brooklyn. However, Commissioner Ford Frick turned this idea down almost out of hand after concluding that the Coliseum's extremely short left field fence (only 250 feet from the plate) made it unsuitable even as a temporary facility.

In 1962, under the terms of their agreement with O'Malley, the Angels moved to Dodger Stadium, which they referred to as Chavez Ravine. That year, the Angels were a contender for the American League pennant for most of the season. They led the American League standings on July 4 before finishing in third place, ten games behind the New York Yankees, who won their 27th American League pennant. On May 5 of that year, Bo Belinsky, who was as famous for his dexterity with the pool cue and his dating of Hollywood starlets (most particularly Mamie Van Doren) as for his pitching prowess, tossed the first no-hit game in the history of Dodger Stadium/Chavez Ravine, blanking the Orioles 5–0. (Though raised in the Jewish faith, Belinsky later became a born-again Christian and counselor, advising against the lifestyle which once was his trademark.)

In 1964, the Halos again finished fifth in the American League, and pitcher Dean Chance won the Major League Cy Young Award that year. The need for a new stadium became more evident. It was believed that the Angels would never develop a large fan base while playing as tenants of the Dodgers. Also, O'Malley imposed fairly onerous lease conditions on the Angels for example, he charged them for 50% of all stadium supplies, even though the Angels at the time drew at best half of the Dodgers' attendance.

Hittin' the Road: the move from Los Angeles to Anaheim Edit

Stymied in his attempt to get a new stadium in Los Angeles, Autry looked elsewhere. His first choice for a stadium was the site offered by the city of Long Beach. However, the city insisted that the team be renamed the Long Beach Angels, a condition Autry refused to accept. He was able to strike a deal with the suburban city of Anaheim in Orange County, and construction began on Anaheim Stadium (nicknamed The Big A by Southern Californians), where the Angels moved in 1966. On September 2, 1965, team ownership announced the Los Angeles Angels would thenceforth be known as the California Angels, in anticipation of the team's move to Anaheim the following year. They were the second Major League baseball team to be named after an entire state, following the Minnesota Twins. At the time, though they were one of three major league teams in the state of California, the Angels were the only American League team in the state. (After the move of the Kansas City Athletics to Oakland in 1968 and the establishment of the San Diego Padres in 1969, the Angels retained their California moniker through 1996 despite any objections that other California teams may have had.) They were also the first Major League Baseball team established in California (the Dodgers and Giants were from New York, the A's were from Philadelphia via Kansas City, and the Padres were an expansion team in 1969.)

In their last year at Chavez Ravine, the Angels drew only 566,727 paying customers. In their 1966 inaugural year in Anaheim, the Angels drew over 1.4 million, leading the American League in attendance. In 1967, their second year in Anaheim, the Angels contended for the American League pennant as part of a five-team pennant race (along with Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota and eventual winner Boston) before fading in late August. Eventually the Angels became the "spoilers" by defeating Detroit at Tiger Stadium in the last game of the regular season to give Boston its first AL pennant in 21 years. In 1970 the Angels finished third in the AL Western Division and Alex Johnson became the first (and so far only) Angel to win an American League batting title. Other notable Angels of this period included pitchers Clyde Wright and Ken McBride, shortstop Jim Fregosi, outfielders Albie Pearson and Leon Wagner, and catcher Buck Rodgers. Fregosi and Rodgers later managed the Angels.

The 1970s: Nolan Ryan and the playoffs Edit

The Ryan Express Edit

During the 1970s, although Angel fans endured some mediocre years on the field they also were able to enjoy the heroics of fireballer Nolan Ryan, who tossed four of his seven no-hitters as an Angel. [1] He also set several strikeout records throughout his career, most notably a 383-strikeout mark in 1973, still a major league record. Ryan was acquired in a trade that sent Jim Fregosi to the Mets. Ryan had been a middle relief pitcher on the "Miracle Mets" team that captured the 1969 World Series. Ryan's feats caused him to be named the Ryan Express, after the 1965 film Von Ryan's Express, which starred Frank Sinatra. His prowess, combined with that of fellow moundsman Frank Tanana, produced the refrain, "Tanana, Ryan and Two Days of Cryin'", a derivative of the refrain, "Spahn and Sain, then pray for rain", coined when Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain anchored the pitching staff of the then Boston Braves in the 1940s.

The 1970s came to a close with the decision by then-general manager Buzzie Bavasi to allow Ryan to become a free agent. At the time, Bavasi remarked that Ryan, whose 1979 record was 16–14 (Ryan was 26–27 under Bavasi), could be replaced "with two pitchers who go 8–7." Bavasi later admitted this was "the worst mistake I ever made in all my years in baseball." [ citation needed ]

1979: Angels finally reach the playoffs Edit

The Angels won their first American League West Division championship in 1979 under manager Jim Fregosi, a former Angel shortstop who was sent to the New York Mets in 1972 as part of the trade that brought Nolan Ryan to the Angels. Don Baylor became the first designated hitter to win the American League Most Valuable Player award. Other contributors to the team, which featured a powerful offense, were Bert Campaneris, Rod Carew, Dan Ford and Bobby Grich. However, the Angels lost what then was a best 3-out-of-5 American League Championship Series to the Baltimore Orioles, managed by Earl Weaver, 3 games to 1. The Halos won Game 3 at home, scoring twice in the bottom of the 9th inning to shade Baltimore 4–3.

This was the only year between 1971 and 1981 that the American League West wasn't won by either the Oakland Athletics or the Kansas City Royals. [2]

The 1980s: A decade of frustration Edit

1979 had been the Angels' last season at the "old" Big A. The Los Angeles Rams agreed to move to Anaheim for the 1980 season, with seating increased to almost 65,000. The expansion completely enclosed the stadium, replacing the view of the San Gabriel and Santa Ana Mountains with three decks of gray concrete. In the 1980s, like many other baseball teams of that era, the Angels learned the difficulties of marketing the team while playing in a multi-purpose facility with a seating capacity too large for baseball.

1982: One game away Edit

The Angels nearly reached the World Series in the 1982 postseason. Reggie Jackson, who previously starred for the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees, joined the Angels that year and teamed with many holdovers from the 1979 team for the 1982 effort. The team was helmed by manager Gene Mauch, who would also manage the team during their 1986 postseason appearance. After clinching their second AL West championship, the Angels won the first two games of the best-of-five ALCS against the AL East champion Milwaukee Brewers – then promptly dropped the next three in a row to lose the series. As Steve Bisheff wrote in Tales from the Angels Dugout, "No team in history had ever come back from an 0–2 deficit to win in a best-of-five series. Of course, no team had ever faced the Angels in that situation." (At that time, the team with home field advantage played the first two games on the road before hosting the final three games at home, a format that was changed [expanded to a best-of-seven series] following the 1984 season. In subsequent years, the same has happened to other teams.)

1986: One strike away Edit

Again, the Halos nearly reached the World Series in the 1986 postseason. Baylor was gone, but among the new additions were American League Rookie of the Year runner-up Wally Joyner and pitcher Chuck Finley. Champions of the AL West for the third time, the Angels faced the AL East champions Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. Leading in the series 3 games to 1, the Angels were one out away from defeating Boston and going to the World Series for the first time in their history. Leading 5–2 in the top of the ninth inning of Game 5, starter Mike Witt surrendered a two-run home run to former Angel Don Baylor, cutting the Angels' lead to 5–4. After reliever Gary Lucas hit Rich Gedman with his first and only pitch, closer Donnie Moore came in to shut the door. Though twice the Angels were one strike away from the Series, Moore gave up a two-out, two-strike, two-run home run to Dave Henderson that put Boston ahead 6–5.

Although the Angels managed to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, Henderson again came through for the Red Sox with a sacrifice fly in the 11th, eventually giving Boston a 7–6 victory. Thoroughly shocked, the Angels then travelled to Fenway Park and were blown out in Games 6 and 7 as the Red Sox claimed the pennant. Boston would go on to lose the 1986 World Series in seven games to the New York Mets, a series known for the infamous Bill Buckner error in Game 6.

In the aftermath of the ALCS, Angels fans regarded Henderson's home run off Moore as the point at which their team had been closest to the World Series, and thus Moore became the scapegoat for the Angels' loss of the pennant. Although the fans were hard on him, Moore (who had battled depression in the past) was even harder on himself, and that one pitch to Henderson that turned the tide of the ALCS haunted him for the rest of his days. He would take his own life three years later, claiming to have never gotten over that moment. Moore's suicide was the latest in a series of tragedies that dogged the team (star outfielder Lyman Bostock was shot to death in 1978 while visiting friends in Gary, Indiana) and gave rise to talk of a "hex" on the franchise. The Angels would not qualify for the playoffs for the next 16 years.

The early 1990s: Struggles on field and off Edit

For most of the 1990s, the Angels played sub-.500 baseball, due in no small part to the confusion which reigned at the top. Gene Autry, though holding a controlling interest in the Angels, was in control in name only due to poor health in his advanced years. Autry's wife Jackie, 20 years his junior, at times seemed to be the decision-maker, and at other times the Disney Company, then a minority owner, seemed to be in charge.

On May 21, 1992, an Angels' team bus traveling from New York to Baltimore crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike. Twelve members of the team ensemble were injured, including manager Buck Rodgers, who was hospitalized and missed the next two months of the season.

In 1993, the Angels had a new spring training camp in Tempe, Arizona after 31 previous seasons in Palm Springs Stadium in Palm Springs, an idea Autry developed from the days when he stayed in his desert resort home. The Angels hoped a new facility would rejuvenate and improve the roster in the long run. The 1993 and 1994 seasons proved to be worse for the Angels than the previous three, particularly since the 1994 season ended in a baseball player strike that kept Angel fans waiting even longer for the team's fate to change. In that season, the Halos had the second-worst record in baseball at the time of the strike, and were en route to a 66–96 season, which would have been their worst record in team history had the season continued, and were in last place in their division, but just 5 + 1 ⁄ 2 games out.

1995: The Collapse Edit

In 1995, the Angels suffered the worst collapse in franchise history. In first place in the AL West by 11 games in August, the team again lost key personnel (particularly shortstop Gary DiSarcina) and went on an extended slide during the final stretch run. By season's end, they were in a first-place tie with the surging Seattle Mariners, prompting a one-game playoff for the division title. The Mariners, managed by Lou Piniella and led by pitching ace Randy Johnson, laid a 9–1 drubbing on the Angels in the playoff game, clinching the AL West championship and forcing the Angels and their fans to endure yet another season of heartbreak and bitter disappointment.

The Curse of the Cowboy? Edit

Given the club's inability to win a pennant thus far, the postseason disasters of 1982 and 1986, the 1995 collapse, and tragedies such as Bostock's murder and Moore's suicide, it was suggested that there must be a "curse" on the Angels. Since there did not appear to be a single defining moment when things started to go downhill, or one where "the baseball gods" might have been offended, some suggested that it was Autry who was the cause, a grand life seeing all its good luck evened out in his ownership of a baseball team. The idea of a "Curse of the Cowboy" did not take hold, however, due to the great affection Autry engendered as a public figure, and the idea would diminish with the sale of the team and its later postseason success.

To some extent, the idea of a different curse did take hold, however. Prior to the Angels' World Series victory in 2002, some had theorized that the team did not have success because its stadium, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, was supposedly built upon an ancient Native American burial ground (although Anaheim city historians have not been able to either confirm or debunk the theory).

Heck, people were talking about it in spring training. We were standing around the outfield one day and everyone was concerned about the stadium being cursed because it was built on an ancient Indian burial ground. We were going to go get an exorcist or a Catholic priest or something to get rid of the curse. I'm like, "I don't want to be on an Indian burial ground."

The Disney Era Edit

The Walt Disney Company effectively took control of the Angels in 1996, when it was able to gain enough support on the board to hire Tony Tavares as team president. Gene Autry, however, remained as chairman until his death in 1998. In 1999, Tavares hired Bill Stoneman as team general manager, under whose watch the Angels eventually won their first World Series Championship.

Although Disney did not technically acquire a controlling interest in the team until after Autry's death, for all practical purposes it ran the team (the Autry loyalists on the board acted as "silent partners") through its Anaheim Sports subsidiary, which also owned the NHL's Mighty Ducks of Anaheim at the time.

Disney, of course, had been a catalyst for the development of and population growth in Orange County, having opened its Disneyland theme park in Anaheim in 1955. Autry had named Walt Disney himself to the Angels' board in 1960 Mr. Disney served on the board until his death in 1966, and had been one of the proponents of the team's move to Orange County in 1965–66. Walt Disney Pictures also produced the 1994 movie Angels in the Outfield, which featured a fictionalized version of the team.

Downsizing the stadium: "The Big Ed" Edit

In 1995, the year of the Angels' worst regular season collapse, the Los Angeles Rams had moved to St. Louis, citing the deteriorating conditions at Anaheim Stadium as a primary cause for the move. Angels management, stuck in an aging, oversized "white elephant" of a stadium, hinted the team might be moved from Southern California as well.

In 1997, negotiations between the Angels and the city of Anaheim for renovation of Anaheim Stadium ended with an agreement to rehabilitate and downsize the facility into a baseball-only stadium once more. One condition of the stadium agreement was that the Angels could sell naming rights to the renovated stadium, so long as the new name was one "containing Anaheim therein." Anaheim Stadium was almost immediately renamed Edison International Field of Anaheim, though it was almost always referred to as simply Edison Field. Sportscasters also referred to the stadium at the time as The Big Ed, with a few others continuing to use the Big A nickname and, at times, Anaheim Stadium.

Downsizing the name: The Anaheim Angels Edit

Another condition of the stadium renovation agreement was that the team name itself be one "containing Anaheim therein." The emerging Disney ownership was itself in the process of renovating and upgrading its aging Disneyland park. Disney hoped to market Anaheim as a "destination city", much the same way it had done with Orlando, Florida, where Walt Disney World was located. Accordingly, the team changed its name again, to the Anaheim Angels on November 19, 1996. Many fans of the team protested the name change, believing the Anaheim name was small-time, though in time the protests fizzled out. [ citation needed ]

Team uniforms changed in 1997 as well. The familiar "A-N-G-E-L-S" spelled out on the jersey front was replaced with a logo designed by Disney Studios, being a stylized form of the team name with an enlarged angel wing to the left of the "A", on new pinstriped vest jerseys. These uniforms were universally ridiculed, being referred to as the "softball beer league" uniforms by Chris Berman of ESPN and as "periwinkle jerseys" by many Angel fans. [ citation needed ]

2002: Angels' first World Series title Edit

Then came 2002. The year began with the team scrapping its pinstriped vest jerseys after five years, reverting to uniforms conforming more to the team's traditional uniforms, but now mostly red, with a bit of navy blue trim. Significantly, the Angels' road jerseys now read "Anaheim", the first time the team's geographic location had been noted on its uniforms since 1965.

Pundits [ who? ] predicted the Angels to be third-place finishers in the four-team AL West division, and the team played to those expectations with a 6–14 start to the regular season. The Angels, managed by former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Mike Scioscia, then went on to win 99 games and earn the American League wildcard berth. The Oakland Athletics won 103 games, putting the Angels in second place in the division. The Halos defeated the AL East champions New York Yankees 3 games to 1 in the American League Division Series, ending the Yankees' streak of 4 straight American League Pennants, and the Minnesota Twins 4 games to 1 in the ALCS, to win the American League pennant for the first time in their history.

In the 2002 World Series they met the Wildcard San Francisco Giants, paced by slugger Barry Bonds, in what ended up being the highest-scoring World Series of all time. San Francisco took Game 1 (4–3), but the Angels followed that up by winning Games 2 (11–10) and 3 (10–4). The Giants came back to win Games 4 (4–3) and 5 (16–4). The turning point in the series came in Game 6. The Angels trailed 5–0 and were 8 outs away from elimination before rallying for 3 runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to win 6–5. The Angels then won Game 7, 4–1, to claim their franchise's first and only World Series Championship.

Third baseman Troy Glaus was named the MVP of the Series. 20-year-old rookie relief pitcher Francisco Rodríguez won a record five postseason games, despite never having won a regular-season game before. Angel pitcher John Lackey became the first rookie pitcher to win the seventh game of the World Series in 93 years.

The Rally Monkey Edit

The Angels' 2000 season marked the introduction of a mascot known as the Rally Monkey. The whole movement began as a joke by the video crew in the stadium during a game where the Angels were trailing the Giants 5–4. A looped clip of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective where a monkey jumps up and down was shown on the Jumbotron Video Screen with the flashing sign of "Rally Monkey" during times when the Angels got runners on base while behind or tied. The Angels went on to win that game, and started to build a following as "the comeback kids", most famously exemplified in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series (coincidentally against the Giants).

The 2000s: New owner, another new name Edit

On May 15, 2003, Disney sold the Angels to Angels Baseball, L.P., a group headed by advertising magnate Arturo "Arte" Moreno. The sale made the Angels the first major American sports team to be owned by a Hispanic owner and also signaled the beginning of the end of Disney's involvement in professional sports. The company sold the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hockey team two years later.

The stadium renamed: Angel Stadium of Anaheim Edit

In December 2003, after a seven-year run as Edison International Field of Anaheim, Edison removed its name from the stadium. The stadium was renamed Angel Stadium of Anaheim, again almost always referred to as simply Angel Stadium or, The Big A, although the original name, Anaheim Stadium, is still used by many locals. The stadium is owned by the City of Anaheim, which has shown no compunction toward changing the name. Over the years, there have been few, if any, complaints from Anaheim officials about the dropping of "of Anaheim" from common parlance when referring to the stadium.

The team renamed: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Edit

On January 3, 2005, Angels Baseball, L.P. announced that it would change the name of the club from Anaheim Angels to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. As stated in the club's 2005 media guide:

The inclusion of Los Angeles reflects the original expansion name and returns the Angels as Major League Baseball's American League representative in the Greater Los Angeles territory.

The new name sparked outrage among Anaheim and Los Angeles city leaders, who argued that a team that does not play its home games within the city or county of Los Angeles should not claim to be from Los Angeles, even though the Los Angeles Rams played many years in Anaheim without incident. They also regarded the name a lingual farce, as the English "The Angels" was mixed with the Spanish "Los Angeles", especially in a region where Spanish is so heavily used. With the support of the city of Los Angeles, The Walt Disney Company, and every city in Orange County, the city of Anaheim sued the Angels, claiming the team violated its lease with the city. The team countered that they were in full compliance with the lease, since the lease only stipulated that the team name contain "Anaheim", and the new name was well within the bounds of this stipulation. A jury trial, which concluded February 9, 2006 resulted in a verdict siding with the Angels and allowing the team to keep the new name.

Although organized fan resistance to the new name had subsided, legal challenges to restore the name Anaheim Angels went forward. [3] [4] [5] They were not successful, however, and on January 13, 2009, Anaheim mayor Curt Pringle announced that the city council had voted unanimously to drop the legal challenge. [6]

On official press releases, and on the team's website, the entire name "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" is used. In other contexts, the team uses simply "Angels" or "Angels Baseball." The team correctly anticipated that the national media and baseball fans outside of the Southern California media market would simply drop "of Anaheim" and refer to the team as the "Los Angeles Angels". When Major League Baseball uses location to identify a team, it refers to the Angels as "Los Angeles", as do MLB's member teams [7] and many sportscasters.

2003 Edit

2003 was a tough year, following the previous season's championship. The Angels finished 77–85 in third place and 19 games behind A.L. West champions Oakland.

However, all was not bleak for the Angels. They sent three players to the All-Star Game. Slugging third baseman Troy Glaus and veteran outfielder Garret Anderson were in the starting lineup, while relief pitcher Brendan Donnelly was selected to be in the bullpen. Anderson would go on to win the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, as well as the Home Run Derby, and Donnelly picked up the win in the game.

2004 Edit

From 2004 to the present the Angels have been in the unfamiliar role of perennial playoff contender however, they have not returned to the World Series since the 2002 campaign.

In 2004, newly acquired free-agent Vladimir Guerrero won the American League Most Valuable Player Award as he led the Angels to their first American League West championship since 1986.

Also in 2004, the Angels mounted a comeback to overcome the division leading Oakland Athletics in the last week of the regular season, clinching the title in the next-to-last game. However, they were swept in the American League Division Series 3 games to 0 by the AL Wild Card Boston Red Sox, who, after beating their longtime rivals, the New York Yankees, went on to win their first World Series since 1918.

2005 Edit

In the 2005 season, the Halos became the first team in the American League to clinch their division, doing so with 5 games left in the regular season. It was also the first time the team had made the playoffs in back-to-back years. The Angels went on in 2005 to beat the AL East champions New York Yankees in the Division Series in 5 games, but lost in the American League Championship Series to the eventual World Series Champions Chicago White Sox in 5 games. Pitcher Bartolo Colón, who went 21–8 for the season, was voted A.L. Cy Young Award winner in 2005, only the second Angel to be so honored (Dean Chance won the award in 1964).

2006 Edit

While the Angels were not able to play October baseball, several players met or broke individual records in 2006. Closer Francisco Rodríguez led the major leagues and broke a franchise record in saves with 47, and became the youngest closer to record 100 career saves. Scot Shields led American League setup men in holds with 31, and was second in the league in innings of relief pitched with 87.2 innings. Chone Figgins was second in the American League in stolen bases with 52. Jered Weaver tied Whitey Ford's American League rookie record by winning the first nine decisions of his career.

The Angels finished in second place in the American League West for the 2006 season, missing the postseason for the first time since 2003. While a disappointing development for the franchise, the 2006 campaign was the Angels' third straight season with a winning record, a first in club history. Owner Arte Moreno vowed that the club would make "major" changes during the offseason, a comment that generated talk in trades or free agent signings of players such as Carlos Lee, Miguel Tejada, Aramis Ramírez or perhaps even Alex Rodriguez.[1] Center fielder Gary Matthews, Jr. signed a 5-year, $50-million contract in a deal.

2007 Edit

The 2007 season proved to be a success for the Angels. The Angels got off to the best start in club history, becoming the first club in the major leagues to win 50 games while maintaining a lead in the American League West. Chone Figgins set a club record for the most hits in a single month with 53, and became just the second Angel to go six-for-six in a single, nine-inning game. Ace John Lackey was the first starter in the American League to win ten games. Lackey, along with Francisco Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero, were chosen to represent the Angels at the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco. Guerrero became just the third Angel to win the Home Run Derby, and Rodriguez was the first to earn a save in an All-Star Game.

2007 was also a resurgent year for veteran outfielder Garret Anderson. On August 21, Anderson set a new club record for most RBIs in one game with 10 against the New York Yankees. He also posted a new Angel record with eleven consecutive games with an RBI on September 6 after hitting a single off Indians pitcher Paul Byrd. On September 7, Anderson again posted a new Angel record with twelve consecutive games with an RBI single against Cleveland's pitcher Jake Westbrook.

On September 23, 2007, the Angels defeated the Seattle Mariners to clinch the championship of the American League West Division. This is the club's sixth division title and seventh overall playoff berth in its history. The Angels were unable to follow up their success in the regular season with playoff success, as the club, depleted by injuries, was swept by the AL East champions Boston Red Sox in the ALDS.

After the 2007 playoff campaign ended, general manager Bill Stoneman retired and was replaced by Tony Reagins. Reagins quickly made two headline roster moves: the acquisition of free agent outfielder Torii Hunter, previously of the Minnesota Twins, as well as the trade of shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the Chicago White Sox for starting pitcher Jon Garland.

2008 Edit

Though hampered by injuries on Opening Day 2008 (including to veteran starting pitcher John Lackey), the Angels had the best record in the American League (tied with the Chicago Cubs for best record in MLB) going into the All-Star break. On July 20, closer Francisco Rodríguez accumulated 40 saves in 98 team games, becoming the fastest pitcher to accumulate 40 saves since John Smoltz did so in 108 team games in 2003. Rodríguez broke Bobby Thigpen's all-time record for saves in a season on September 13 in a game against the Seattle Mariners and eventually finished with 62 saves. [8] The Angels made another headline trade on July 29, acquiring first baseman Mark Teixeira from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stephen Marek.

On September 10, 2008, with a win over the New York Yankees and a loss by the Texas Rangers to the Seattle Mariners, the Angels clinched their seventh American League West Division title. By clinching on September 10, the Angels set a new mark for the earliest clinch date in American League West history. [9] They would finish the 2008 regular season setting a franchise record for wins at 100, breaking the previous club record of 99 wins set by the 2002 World Series championship team. For the second straight year, the Angels faced off against the Boston Red Sox (AL Wild Card) in the ALDS, but were unable to advance, losing the series 3 games to 1.

2009 Edit

As the Angels' much-lauded rotation was set to return for 2009, injuries suddenly plagued John Lackey and Ervin Santana, while Kelvim Escobar was experiencing setbacks to his long-awaited return. This caused the Angels to add long-relievers Dustin Moseley and Shane Loux to the rotation, as well as call up top prospect Nick Adenhart to the rotation.

These injuries left the Opening Day start to Joe Saunders, who pitched a dominating game against the Oakland Athletics to start the season. Two days later, Nick Adenhart made his first start of the season, pitching six shutout innings before being pulled from the game. Hours later, he and two other friends were killed in a hit-and-run crash. Adenhart's death was a shock to the team and to all baseball fans nationwide. It caused the next day's game to be postponed, and the Angels' April 10 game against the Boston Red Sox became a tribute to Adenhart.

After Adenhart's death, this left another gap in the rotation, which led to reliever Darren Oliver taking his place. Shortly after, Moseley would become injured, resulting in minor leaguer Matt Palmer being called up. Palmer would claim six victories in his first eight starts before his first loss on June 29, cementing him a spot in the rotation, while Escobar would make only one start after returning from the disabled list before becoming reinjured.

Moseley (who would almost immediately injure himself) and Loux, after paltry beginnings to their season, would reclaim their long-relief spots as Lackey and Santana returned. However, Santana once again became injured, and minor leaguer Sean O'Sullivan took his place, creating a masterful debut of his own, winning his first two starts in dominating appearances.

Amid all of the pitching rotation chaos, outfielder Torii Hunter quietly took the place as leader of the Angels' offense, with a powerful April where he hit eight home runs, then third in the American League. Offseason addition Bobby Abreu had a modest start to the season before making a powerful presence in June.

The Angels were originally to send two players, Hunter and closer Brian Fuentes, to the All-Star Game. However, with just days before the game, Hunter was sent to the disabled list with a groin injury, effectively removing him from the All-Star Game. The team's offensive catalyst, Chone Figgins, was eligible for the All-Star Game Final Vote, but placed third. However, he would later be added to the roster the morning of the game to replace injured Tampa Bay Rays slugger Evan Longoria.

As the non-waiver trade deadline of July 31 loomed, the Angels were seen as big contenders for Heath Bell, Cliff Lee and even Roy Halladay however, all of these rumors fell through. Nearly a month later, however, on August 29, two days before the waiver trade deadline, the Angels acquired Tampa Bay Rays ace Scott Kazmir, in exchange for two low-level minor leaguers and prized prospect Sean Rodriguez. Ervin Santana shut-out the Texas Rangers for the West Division Title on September 28, 2009.

For the third straight year, the Angels faced the Boston Red Sox (the AL Wild Card) in the ALDS. Despite being 0–4 in playoff series against the Red Sox and having lost 12 of the last 13 post-season games against them, the Angels swept the series 3–0. The Angels next faced the New York Yankees in the ALCS, but went on to lose the series 4 games to 2.

2009 offseason Edit

The Angels entered the 2009 offseason with countless question marks, most notably if they would retain pitching ace John Lackey and fan favorite Chone Figgins. The answer to both of these questions was no, as Lackey and Figgins signed with Boston and Seattle respectively.

The Angels were, once again, big players to acquire Toronto ace Roy Halladay in the winter, and were rumored to have offered a package of Joe Saunders, Erick Aybar and Peter Bourjos for Halladay, but the Jays instead sent Halladay to two-time defending National League champion Philadelphia for three prospects. The Angels' next plan was to acquire Phillies ace Cliff Lee, but just hours after Halladay was dealt, Lee was traded to Seattle for a prospect package.

On this same action-packed day, the Angels signed reigning 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui to a one-year, $6.5 million contract, effectively spelling the end of longtime fan favorite Vladimir Guerrero's time with the Angels.

On Christmas Eve, the team signed Detroit reliever Fernando Rodney to a two-year, $11 million deal, doing so after the loss of reliever Darren Oliver, who would sign with division rival Texas.

The Angels headed into 2010 with an uncertain roster, similar to how they entered the 2009 season.

2010s: End of an era? Edit

2010 Edit

The Angels got off to a mediocre start to the season in April however, things looked to be turning around near the end of May, as slugging first baseman Kendry Morales was on pace to top his home run totals from 2009. However, on May 29, in a game against the Seattle Mariners, Morales hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Angels a 5–1 victory this victory was quite bittersweet, as Morales broke his leg jumping on home plate. This would send Morales to the disabled list for the remainder of the 2010 season.

Although the Angels stormed to a record of 18–9 in the month of June, the team never quite recovered from the loss of Morales, as they posted three consecutive sub-.500 months from July to September. However, the team did not back down without a fight. On July 22, the team acquired third baseman Alberto Callaspo from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Sean O'Sullivan and a pitching prospect. Although this move received mild criticism, general manager Tony Reagins certainly silenced the critics three days later, on July 25 it was on that day that he pulled off a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Angels acquired ace starting pitcher Dan Haren in exchange for pitchers Joe Saunders and Rafael Rodríguez, and prospects Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs it is notable that all four pitchers the Angels sent in return are left-handed pitchers.

Haren added certainty to an already-strong rotation, posting an earned run average of 2.87 however, due to poor run support from the Angels' anemic offense, Haren posted a win–loss record of 5–4 in his 14 starts with the team.

Attempting to replace Morales' bat, at least for the short term, the Angels nearly had a trade in place for Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee however, even though the two parties agreed on the terms of the deal and were ready to pull the trigger, Lee invoked his no-trade clause, and the deal was nixed. This move on Lee's part proved fatal for the Angels, as they never did find the right bat to replace Morales, ending the season with a record of 80–82, in third place and ten games behind the division champion (and eventually American League champion) Texas Rangers.

The Angels hosted the All-Star game for the third time in franchise history and the first since 1989.

2011 Edit

The Angels' 2011 season had pitcher Ervin Santana throw a no-hitter in a game at Cleveland, while first baseman Mark Trumbo finishes as the American League Rookie of the Year Runner-up.

2012 Edit

The Angels' 2012 season marked with the signing of Albert Pujols to a ten-year contract after he completed 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing in three World Series (2004, 2006 and 2011) winning two championships (2006 and 2011) as well as the signing of left-handed pitcher C. J. Wilson, who grew up in Orange County, California and previously pitched for the Texas Rangers. The same year, outfielder Mike Trout won the American League Rookie of the Year award, the first since 1993, while pitcher Jered Weaver threw a no-hitter in a game against the Minnesota Twins.

2013 Edit

The Angels' 2013 season marked with signing of outfielder Josh Hamilton and playing in a five-team American League West Division with the addition of the Houston Astros switching leagues for the first time in 15 years. After the season, first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks and acquire left-handed pitcher Hector Santiago from the Chicago White Sox.

2014 Edit

The Angels' 2014 season marked with winning the American League West division title for the first time since 2009. Facing the Kansas City Royals in the American League division series, the Angels lost the series 3–0. Mike Trout wins the American League Most Valuable Player.

2015 Edit

The Angels' 2015 season was finished with a third-place finish in the American League West division. After the season, shortstop Erick Aybar is traded to the Atlanta Braves for shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

2016 Edit

The Angels' 2016 season was finished with a fourth-place finish in the American League West division and with a losing record since 2010. During the season, the Angels traded pitcher Hector Santiago for pitcher Ricky Nolasco, while former San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum signs with the Angels.

2017 Edit

The Angels' 2017 season finished with a second-place finish in the American League West division, finishing with a record of 80 wins and 82 losses, 21 games behind the Houston Astros. Mike Trout hurts his thumb while sliding second base in a game at Miami against the Marlins. Trout was not present for the All-Star Game played in Miami. The Angels traded outfielder Cameron Maybin to the Astros at the end of the waiver-trading deadline in late August. During the offseason, the Angels won the race to sign Shohei Ohtani, a two-way player who previously played for the Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Nippon Professional Baseball league.

2018 Edit

The Angels' 2018 season finished with a fourth-place finish in the American League West division, finishing with a record of 80 wins and 82 losses, Shohei Othtani makes his MLB debut as a designated hitter in his first game against the Oakland Athletics on March 29 and three days later, makes his pitching debut en route to the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year award. In the final game of the 2018 season at home against the Oakland Athletics, manager Mike Scioscia announces his resignation after 19 years as the team's manager. During Scioscia's tenure, the Angels won six American League West Division titles in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014 and an American League Wild Card berth and a World Series championship in 2002.

2019 Edit

The Angels' 2019 season finished with a fourth-place finish in the American League West division, finishing with a record of 72 wins and 90 losses. Brad Ausmus, a former Major League Baseball catcher from 1993 to 2010 and Detroit Tigers manager from 2014 to 2017, becomes the manager. Pitcher Tyler Skaggs dies on July 1 in Southlake, Texas, hours before the Angels play the Texas Rangers in a game that was postponed. On July 12, the Angels no-hit the Seattle Mariners at home and all the players wore No. 45 in Skaggs' memory. The Angels fire manager Brad Ausmus on September 30.

Mike Trout won his third MVP Award after hitting .291 and leading the majors in OBP (.438) and leading the AL in slugging (.643) and OPS (1.083). He also finished second in the AL with 45 homers despite missing most of September with an injury.


Pre-colonial history

The Los Angeles coastal area was settled by the Tongva (Gabrieleños) and Chumash tribes. Los Angeles would eventually be founded on the village of iyáangẚ or Yaanga (written "Yang-na" by the Spanish), meaning "poison oak place." [28] [29] [22]

Maritime explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire in 1542 while on an official military exploring expedition moving north along the Pacific coast from earlier colonizing bases of New Spain in Central and South America. [30] Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769. [31]

Spanish rule

In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra directed the building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the first mission in the area. [32] On September 4, 1781, a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores" founded the pueblo they called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles , 'The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels'. [33] [b] The present-day city has the largest Roman Catholic archdiocese in the United States. Two-thirds of the Mexican or (New Spain) settlers were mestizo or mulatto, a mixture of African, indigenous and European ancestry. [34] The settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820, the population had increased to about 650 residents. [35] Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles. [36]

Mexican rule

New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, and the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico. During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico made Los Angeles Alta California's regional capital. [37]

1847 to present

Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847. [38]

Railroads arrived with the completion of the transcontinental Southern Pacific line from New Orleans to Los Angeles in 1876 and the Santa Fe Railroad in 1885. [39] Petroleum was discovered in the city and surrounding area in 1892, and by 1923, the discoveries had helped California become the country's largest oil producer, accounting for about one-quarter of the world's petroleum output. [40]

By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000, [41] putting pressure on the city's water supply. [42] The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, under the supervision of William Mulholland, ensured the continued growth of the city. [43] Because of clauses in the city's charter that prevented the City of Los Angeles from selling or providing water from the aqueduct to any area outside its borders, many adjacent cities and communities felt compelled to annex themselves into Los Angeles. [44] [45] [46]

Los Angeles created the first municipal zoning ordinance in the United States. On September 14, 1908, the Los Angeles City Council promulgated residential and industrial land use zones. The new ordinance established three residential zones of a single type, where industrial uses were prohibited. The proscriptions included barns, lumber yards, and any industrial land use employing machine-powered equipment. These laws were enforced against industrial properties after the fact. These prohibitions were in addition to existing activities that were already regulated as nuisances. These included explosives warehousing, gas works, oil drilling, slaughterhouses, and tanneries. Los Angeles City Council also designated seven industrial zones within the city. However, between 1908 and 1915, Los Angeles City Council created various exceptions to the broad proscriptions that applied to these three residential zones, and as a consequence, some industrial uses emerged within them. There are two differences between the 1908 Residence District Ordinance and later zoning laws in the United States. First, the 1908 laws did not establish a comprehensive zoning map as the 1916 New York City Zoning Ordinance did. Second, the residential zones did not distinguish types of housing they treated apartments, hotels, and detached-single-family housing equally. [47]

In 1910, Hollywood merged into Los Angeles, with 10 movie companies already operating in the city at the time. By 1921, more than 80 percent of the world's film industry was concentrated in L.A. [48] The money generated by the industry kept the city insulated from much of the economic loss suffered by the rest of the country during the Great Depression. [49] By 1930, the population surpassed one million. [50] In 1932, the city hosted the Summer Olympics.

During World War II, Los Angeles was a major center of wartime manufacturing, such as shipbuilding and aircraft. Calship built hundreds of Liberty Ships and Victory Ships on Terminal Island, and the Los Angeles area was the headquarters of six of the country's major aircraft manufacturers (Douglas Aircraft Company, Hughes Aircraft, Lockheed, North American Aviation, Northrop Corporation, and Vultee). During the war, more aircraft were produced in one year than in all the pre-war years since the Wright brothers flew the first airplane in 1903, combined. Manufacturing in Los Angeles skyrocketed, and as William S. Knudsen, of the National Defense Advisory Commission put it, "We won because we smothered the enemy in an avalanche of production, the like of which he had never seen, nor dreamed possible." [51]

In the 1930s–1940s, Los Angeles county was the national leader in agriculture. [52]

Following the end of World War II, Los Angeles grew more rapidly than ever, sprawling into the San Fernando Valley. [53] The expansion of the Interstate Highway System during the 1950s and 1960s helped propel suburban growth and signaled the demise of the city's electrified rail system, once the world's largest.

Previous to the 1950s, Los Angeles' name had multiple pronunciations, but the soft "G" pronunciation is universal today. Some early movies or video shows it pronounced with a hard "G" ( / l ɔː s ˈ æ n ɡ ə l ə s / ). [54] Sam Yorty was one of the last public figures who still used the hard "G" pronunciation. [55]

Racial tensions led to the Watts riots in 1965, resulting in 34 deaths and over 1,000 injuries.

In 1969, California became the birthplace of the Internet, as the first ARPANET transmission was sent from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park. [56]

In 1973, Tom Bradley was elected as the city's first African American mayor, serving for five terms until retiring in 1993. Other events in the city during the 1970s included the Symbionese Liberation Army's South Central standoff in 1974 and the Hillside Stranglers murder cases in 1977–1978.

In 1984, the city hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the second time. Despite being boycotted by 14 Communist countries, the 1984 Olympics became more financially successful than any previous, [57] and the second Olympics to turn a profit the other, according to an analysis of contemporary newspaper reports, was the 1932 Summer Olympics, also held in Los Angeles. [58]

Racial tensions erupted on April 29, 1992, with the acquittal by a Simi Valley jury of four Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers captured on videotape beating Rodney King, culminating in large-scale riots. [59] [60]

In 1994, the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake shook the city, causing $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths. [61] The century ended with the Rampart scandal, one of the most extensive documented cases of police misconduct in American history. [62]

In 2002, Mayor James Hahn led the campaign against secession, resulting in voters defeating efforts by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood to secede from the city. [63]

Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games, making Los Angeles the third city to host the Olympics three times. [64] [65]


The city of Los Angeles covers a total area of 502.7 square miles (1,302 km 2 ), comprising 468.7 square miles (1,214 km 2 ) of land and 34.0 square miles (88 km 2 ) of water. [18] The city extends for 44 miles (71 km) north-south and for 29 miles (47 km) east-west. The perimeter of the city is 342 miles (550 km).

Los Angeles is both flat and hilly. The highest point in the city proper is Mount Lukens at 5,074 ft (1,547 m), [66] [67] located at the northeastern end of the San Fernando Valley. The eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains stretches from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean and separates the Los Angeles Basin from the San Fernando Valley. Other hilly parts of Los Angeles include the Mt. Washington area north of Downtown, eastern parts such as Boyle Heights, the Crenshaw district around the Baldwin Hills, and the San Pedro district.

Surrounding the city are much higher mountains. Immediately to the north lie the San Gabriel Mountains, which is a popular recreation area for Angelenos. Its high point is Mount San Antonio, locally known as Mount Baldy, which reaches 10,064 feet (3,068 m). Further afield, the highest point in the Greater Los Angeles area is San Gorgonio Mountain, with a height of 11,503 feet (3,506 m).

The Los Angeles River, which is largely seasonal, is the primary drainage channel. It was straightened and lined in 51 miles (82 km) of concrete by the Army Corps of Engineers to act as a flood control channel. [68] The river begins in the Canoga Park district of the city, flows east from the San Fernando Valley along the north edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, and turns south through the city center, flowing to its mouth in the Port of Long Beach at the Pacific Ocean. The smaller Ballona Creek flows into the Santa Monica Bay at Playa del Rey.


Los Angeles is rich in native plant species partly because of its diversity of habitats, including beaches, wetlands, and mountains. The most prevalent plant communities are coastal sage scrub, chaparral shrubland, and riparian woodland. [69] Native plants include: the California poppy, matilija poppy, toyon, Ceanothus, Chamise, Coast Live Oak, sycamore, willow and Giant Wildrye. Many of these native species, such as the Los Angeles sunflower, have become so rare as to be considered endangered. Although it is not native to the area, the official tree of Los Angeles is the Coral Tree (Erythrina caffra) [70] and the official flower of Los Angeles is the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae). [71] Mexican Fan Palms, Canary Island Palms, Queen Palms, Date Palms, and California Fan Palms are common in the Los Angeles area, although only the last is native to California, though still not native to the City of Los Angeles.


Los Angeles is subject to earthquakes because of its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The geologic instability has produced numerous faults, which cause approximately 10,000 earthquakes annually in Southern California, though most of them are too small to be felt. [72] The strike-slip San Andreas Fault system, which sits at the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, passes through the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The segment of the fault passing through Southern California experiences a major earthquake roughly every 110 to 140 years, and seismologists have warned about the next "big one", as the last major earthquake was the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake. [73] The Los Angeles basin and metropolitan area are also at risk from blind thrust earthquakes. [74] Major earthquakes that have hit the Los Angeles area include the 1933 Long Beach, 1971 San Fernando, 1987 Whittier Narrows, and the 1994 Northridge events. All but a few are of low intensity and are not felt. The USGS has released the UCERF California earthquake forecast, which models earthquake occurrence in California. Parts of the city are also vulnerable to tsunamis harbor areas were damaged by waves from Aleutian Islands earthquake in 1946, Valdivia earthquake in 1960, Alaska earthquake in 1964, Chile earthquake in 2010 and Japan earthquake in 2011. [75]


The city is divided into many different districts and neighborhoods, [76] [77] some of which were incorporated cities that merged with Los Angeles. [78] These neighborhoods were developed piecemeal, and are well-defined enough that the city has signage marking nearly all of them. [79]


The city's street patterns generally follow a grid plan, with uniform block lengths and occasional roads that cut across blocks. However, this is complicated by rugged terrain, which has necessitated having different grids for each of the valleys that Los Angeles covers. Major streets are designed to move large volumes of traffic through many parts of the city, many of which are extremely long Sepulveda Boulevard is 43 miles (69 km) long, while Foothill Boulevard is over 60 miles (97 km) long, reaching as far east as San Bernardino. Drivers in Los Angeles suffer from one of the worst rush hour periods in the world, according to an annual traffic index by navigation system maker, TomTom. LA drivers spend an additional 92 hours in traffic each year. During the peak rush hour, there is 80% congestion, according to the index. [80]

Los Angeles is often characterized by the presence of low-rise buildings, in contrast to New York City. Outside of a few centers such as Downtown, Warner Center, Century City, Koreatown, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, and Westwood, skyscrapers and high-rise buildings are not common in Los Angeles. The few skyscrapers built outside of those areas often stand out above the rest of the surrounding landscape. Most construction is done in separate units, rather than wall-to-wall. That being said, Downtown Los Angeles itself has many buildings over 30 stories, with fourteen over 50 stories, and two over 70 stories, the tallest of which is the Wilshire Grand Center. Also, Los Angeles is increasingly becoming a city of apartments rather than single-family dwellings, especially in the dense inner city and Westside neighborhoods.



Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb on the coast and most of downtown, Csa near the metropolitan region to the west), and receives just enough annual precipitation to avoid being classified as a semi-arid climate (BSh). [82] Daytime temperatures are generally temperate all year round. In winter, they average around 68 °F (20 °C) giving it a tropical feel although it is a few degrees too cool to be a true tropical climate on average due to cool night temperatures. [83] [84] Los Angeles has plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually. [85]

Temperatures in the coastal basin exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on a dozen or so days in the year, from one day a month in April, May, June and November to three days a month in July, August, October and to five days in September. [85] Temperatures in the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys are considerably warmer. Temperatures are subject to substantial daily swings in inland areas the difference between the average daily low and the average daily high is over 30 °F (17 °C). [86] The average annual temperature of the sea is 63 °F (17 °C), from 58 °F (14 °C) in January to 68 °F (20 °C) in August. [87] Hours of sunshine total more than 3,000 per year, from an average of 7 hours of sunshine per day in December to an average of 12 in July. [88]

The Los Angeles area is also subject to phenomena typical of a microclimate, causing extreme variations in temperature in close physical proximity to each other. For example, the average July maximum temperature at the Santa Monica Pier is 70 °F (21 °C) whereas it is 95 °F (35 °C) in Canoga Park, 15 miles (24 km) away. [89] The city, like much of the southern California coast, is subject to a late spring/early summer weather phenomenon called "June Gloom". This involves overcast or foggy skies in the morning that yield to sun by early afternoon. [90]

Downtown Los Angeles averages 14.93 in (379 mm) of precipitation annually, mainly occurring between November and March, [86] generally in the form of moderate rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall during winter storms. Rainfall is usually higher in the hills and coastal slopes of the mountains because of orographic uplift. Summer days are usually rainless. Rarely, an incursion of moist air from the south or east can bring brief thunderstorms in late summer, especially to the mountains. The coast gets slightly less rainfall, while the inland and mountain areas get considerably more. Years of average rainfall are rare. The usual pattern is a year-to-year variability, with a short string of dry years of 5–10 in (130–250 mm) rainfall, followed by one or two wet years with more than 20 in (510 mm). [86] Wet years are usually associated with warm water El Niño conditions in the Pacific, dry years with cooler water La Niña episodes. A series of rainy days can bring floods to the lowlands and mudslides to the hills, especially after wildfires have denuded the slopes.

Both freezing temperatures and snowfall are extremely rare in the city basin and along the coast, with the last occurrence of a 32 °F (0 °C) reading at the downtown station being January 29, 1979 [86] freezing temperatures occur nearly every year in valley locations while the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter. The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2.0 inches (5 cm) on January 15, 1932. [86] [91] While the most recent snowfall occurred in February 2019, the first snowfall since 1962, [92] [93] with snow falling in areas adjacent to Los Angeles as recently as January 2021. [94] At the official downtown station, the highest recorded temperature is 113 °F (45 °C) on September 27, 2010, [86] [95] while the lowest is 28 °F (−2 °C), [86] on January 4, 1949. [86] Within the City of Los Angeles, the highest temperature ever officially recorded is 121 °F (49 °C), on September 6, 2020, at the weather station at Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Woodland Hills. [96] During autumn and winter, Santa Ana winds sometimes bring much warmer and drier conditions to Los Angeles, and raise wildfire risk.

Climate data for Los Angeles (Canoga Park, in the San Fernando Valley)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 93
Average high °F (°C) 67.9
Daily mean °F (°C) 53.7
Average low °F (°C) 39.5
Record low °F (°C) 19
Average rainfall inches (mm) 3.83
Average rainy days 6.2 5.9 6.1 3.0 1.3 0.4 0.1 0.7 1.3 2.0 3.2 4.4 34.6
Source: NOAA [86]
Hottest and coldest, wettest and driest averages for a month (°F/inch and °C/mm), 1895–2019 [103]
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Hottest 63.9 °F (17.7 °C) 64.2 °F (17.9 °C) 67.5 °F (19.7 °C) 68.2 °F (20.1 °C) 71.5 °F (21.9 °C) 75.9 °F (24.4 °C) 79.8 °F (26.6 °C) 79.0 °F (26.1 °C) 80.3 °F (26.8 °C) 75.4 °F (24.1 °C) 66.9 °F (19.4 °C) 62.2 °F (16.8 °C)
Coldest 46.7 °F (8.2 °C) 51.1 °F (10.6 °C) 52.0 °F (11.1 °C) 55.2 °F (12.9 °C) 57.2 °F (14.0 °C) 62.9 °F (17.2 °C) 66.2 °F (19.0 °C) 66.3 °F (19.1 °C) 63.1 °F (17.3 °C) 57.8 °F (14.3 °C) 55.2 °F (12.9 °C) 49.4 °F (9.7 °C)
Wettest 14.43 inches (367 mm) 15.23 inches (387 mm) 10.44 inches (265 mm) 7.31 inches (186 mm) 3.83 inches (97 mm) 0.98 inches (25 mm) 0.43 inches (11 mm) 2.54 inches (65 mm) 5.13 inches (130 mm) 5.13 inches (130 mm) 9.96 inches (253 mm) 11.46 inches (291 mm)
Driest 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm) 0 inches (0 mm)

Environmental issues

A Gabrielino settlement in the area was called iyáangẚ (written Yang-na by the Spanish), which has been translated as "poison oak place". [28] [29] Yang-na has also been translated as "the valley of smoke". [104] [105] Owing to geography, heavy reliance on automobiles, and the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, Los Angeles suffers from air pollution in the form of smog. The Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley are susceptible to atmospheric inversion, which holds in the exhausts from road vehicles, airplanes, locomotives, shipping, manufacturing, and other sources. [106] The percentage of small particle pollution (the kind that penetrates into the lungs) coming from vehicles in the city can get as high as 55 percent. [107]

The smog season lasts from approximately May to October. [108] While other large cities rely on rain to clear smog, Los Angeles gets only 15 inches (380 mm) of rain each year: pollution accumulates over many consecutive days. Issues of air quality in Los Angeles and other major cities led to the passage of early national environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act. When the act was passed, California was unable to create a State Implementation Plan that would enable it to meet the new air quality standards, largely because of the level of pollution in Los Angeles generated by older vehicles. [109] More recently, the state of California has led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low-emission vehicles. Smog is expected to continue to drop in the coming years because of aggressive steps to reduce it, which include electric and hybrid cars, improvements in mass transit, and other measures.

The number of Stage 1 smog alerts in Los Angeles has declined from over 100 per year in the 1970s to almost zero in the new millennium. [110] Despite improvement, the 2006 and 2007 annual reports of the American Lung Association ranked the city as the most polluted in the country with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution. [111] In 2008, the city was ranked the second most polluted and again had the highest year-round particulate pollution. [112] The city met its goal of providing 20 percent of the city's power from renewable sources in 2010. [113] The American Lung Association's 2013 survey ranks the metro area as having the nation's worst smog, and fourth in both short-term and year-round pollution amounts. [114]

Los Angeles is also home to the nation's largest urban oil field. There are more than 700 active oil wells within 1,500 feet (460 m) of homes, churches, schools and hospitals in the city, a situation about which the EPA has voiced serious concerns. [115]

City compared to State & U.S.
2019 Estimate [116] L.A. CA U.S.
Total population 3,979,576 39,512,223 328,239,523
Population change, 2010 to 2019 +4.9% +6.1% +6.3%
Population density (people/sqmi) 8,514.4 253.9 92.6
Median household income (2018) $58,385 $71,228 $60,293
Bachelor's degree or higher 33.7% 33.3% 31.5%
Foreign born 37.3% 26.9% 13.5%
White (non-Hispanic) 28.5% 36.8% 60.4%
Black 8.9% 6.5% 13.4%
Hispanic (any race) 48.6% 39.3% 18.3%
Asian 11.6% 15.3% 5.9%
Historical population
Census Pop.
18604,385 172.4%
18705,728 30.6%
188011,183 95.2%
189050,395 350.6%
1900102,479 103.4%
1910319,198 211.5%
1920576,673 80.7%
19301,238,048 114.7%
19401,504,277 21.5%
19501,970,358 31.0%
19602,479,015 25.8%
19702,811,801 13.4%
19802,968,528 5.6%
19903,485,398 17.4%
20003,694,820 6.0%
20103,792,621 2.6%
2019 (est.)3,979,576 [11] 4.9%

The 2010 United States Census [118] reported Los Angeles had a population of 3,792,621. [119] The population density was 8,092.3 people per square mile (2,913.0/km 2 ). The age distribution was 874,525 people (23.1%) under 18, 434,478 people (11.5%) from 18 to 24, 1,209,367 people (31.9%) from 25 to 44, 877,555 people (23.1%) from 45 to 64, and 396,696 people (10.5%) who were 65 or older. [119] The median age was 34.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males. [119]

There were 1,413,995 housing units—up from 1,298,350 during 2005–2009 [119] —at an average density of 2,812.8 households per square mile (1,086.0/km 2 ), of which 503,863 (38.2%) were owner-occupied, and 814,305 (61.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.1% the rental vacancy rate was 6.1%. 1,535,444 people (40.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,172,576 people (57.3%) lived in rental housing units. [119]

According to the 2010 United States Census, Los Angeles had a median household income of $49,497, with 22.0% of the population living below the federal poverty line. [119]

Race and ethnicity

Racial composition 1940 [120] 1970 [120] 1990 [120] 2010
White 93.5% 77.2% [121] 52.8% 49.8%
Black or African American 4.2% 17.9% 14.0% 9.6%
Asian 2.2% 3.6% 9.8% 11.3%
Other race N/A 1.0% 22.99% 23.8%
Two or more races N/A N/A N/A 4.6%

According to the 2010 Census, the racial makeup of Los Angeles included: 1,888,158 Whites (49.8%), 365,118 African Americans (9.6%), 28,215 Native Americans (0.7%), 426,959 Asians (11.3%), 5,577 Pacific Islanders (0.1%), 902,959 from other races (23.8%), and 175,635 (4.6%) from two or more races. [119] Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 1,838,822 persons (48.5%). Los Angeles is home to people from more than 140 countries speaking 224 different identified languages. [122] Ethnic enclaves like Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Little Tokyo, Little Bangladesh, and Thai Town provide examples of the polyglot character of Los Angeles.

Non-Hispanic Whites were 28.7% of the population in 2010, [119] compared to 86.3% in 1940. [120] The majority of the Non-Hispanic White population is living in areas along the Pacific coast as well as in neighborhoods near and on the Santa Monica Mountains from the Pacific Palisades to Los Feliz.

Mexican ancestry make up the largest ethnic group of Hispanics at 31.9% of the city's population, followed by those of Salvadoran (6.0%) and Guatemalan (3.6%) heritage. The Hispanic population has a long established Mexican-American and Central American community and is spread well-nigh throughout the entire city of Los Angeles and its metropolitan area. It is most heavily concentrated in regions around Downtown as East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles and Westlake. Furthermore, a vast majority of residents in neighborhoods in eastern South Los Angeles towards Downey are of Hispanic origin.

The largest Asian ethnic groups are Filipinos (3.2%) and Koreans (2.9%), which have their own established ethnic enclaves—Koreatown in the Wilshire Center and Historic Filipinotown. Chinese people, which make up 1.8% of Los Angeles's population, reside mostly outside of Los Angeles city limits and rather in the San Gabriel Valley of eastern Los Angeles County, but make a sizable presence in the city, notably in Chinatown. Chinatown and Thaitown are also home to many Thais and Cambodians, which make up 0.3% and 0.1% of Los Angeles's population, respectively. The Japanese comprise 0.9% of LA's population and have an established Little Tokyo in the city's downtown, and another significant community of Japanese Americans is in the Sawtelle district of West Los Angeles. Vietnamese make up 0.5% of Los Angeles's population. Indians make up 0.9% of the city's population. The city is also home to Armenians, Assyrians, and Iranians, many of whom live in enclaves like Little Armenia and Tehrangeles.

African Americans have been the predominant ethnic group in South Los Angeles, which has emerged as the largest African American community in the western United States since the 1960s. The neighborhoods of South Los Angeles with highest concentration of African Americans include Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park, Hyde Park, Gramercy Park, Manchester Square and Watts. [123] Apart from South Los Angeles, neighborhoods in the Central region of Los Angeles, as Mid-City and Mid-Wilshire have a moderate concentration of African Americans as well.


According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, Christianity is the most prevalently practiced religion in Los Angeles (65%). [124] [125] The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest archdiocese in the country. [127] Cardinal Roger Mahony, as the archbishop, oversaw construction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, which opened in September 2002 in Downtown Los Angeles. [128]

In 2011, the once common, but ultimately lapsed, custom of conducting a procession and mass in honor of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, in commemoration of the founding of the City of Los Angeles in 1781, was revived by the Queen of Angels Foundation and its founder Mark Albert, with the support of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as well as several civic leaders. [129] The recently revived custom is a continuation of the original processions and masses that commenced on the first anniversary of the founding of Los Angeles in 1782 and continued for nearly a century thereafter.

With 621,000 Jews in the metropolitan area, the region has the second-largest population of Jews in the United States. [130] Many of Los Angeles's Jews now live on the Westside and in the San Fernando Valley, though Boyle Heights once had a large Jewish population prior to World War II due to restrictive housing covenants. Major Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods include Hancock Park, Pico-Robertson, and Valley Village, while Jewish Israelis are well represented in the Encino and Tarzana neighborhoods, and Persian Jews in Beverly Hills. Many varieties of Judaism are represented in the greater Los Angeles area, including Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist. The Breed Street Shul in East Los Angeles, built in 1923, was the largest synagogue west of Chicago in its early decades it is no longer in daily use as a synagogue and is being converted to a museum and community center. [131] [132] The Kabbalah Centre also has a presence in the city. [133]

The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel was founded in Los Angeles by Aimee Semple McPherson in 1923 and remains headquartered there to this day. For many years, the church convened at Angelus Temple, which, when built, was one of the largest churches in the country. [134]

Los Angeles has had a rich and influential Protestant tradition. The first Protestant service in Los Angeles was a Methodist meeting held in a private home in 1850 and the oldest Protestant church still operating, First Congregational Church, was founded in 1867. [135] In the early 1900s the Bible Institute Of Los Angeles published the founding documents of the Christian Fundamentalist movement and the Azusa Street Revival launched Pentecostalism. [135] The Metropolitan Community Church also had its origins in the Los Angeles area. [136] Important churches in the city include First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, Bel Air Presbyterian Church, First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles, West Angeles Church of God in Christ, Second Baptist Church, Crenshaw Christian Center, McCarty Memorial Christian Church, and First Congregational Church.

The Los Angeles California Temple, the second-largest temple operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is on Santa Monica Boulevard in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Dedicated in 1956, it was the first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built in California and it was the largest in the world when completed. [137]

The Hollywood region of Los Angeles also has several significant headquarters, churches, and the Celebrity Center of Scientology. [138] [ citation needed ]

Because of Los Angeles's large multi-ethnic population, a wide variety of faiths are practiced, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Baháʼí, various Eastern Orthodox churches, Sufism, Shintoism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion and countless others. Immigrants from Asia for example, have formed a number of significant Buddhist congregations making the city home to the greatest variety of Buddhists in the world. The first Buddhist joss house was founded in the city in 1875. [135] Atheism and other secular beliefs are also common, as the city is the largest in the Western U.S. Unchurched Belt.

The economy of Los Angeles is driven by international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, video games, music recording, and production), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. [ citation needed ] Other significant industries include finance, telecommunications, law, healthcare, and transportation. In the 2017 Global Financial Centres Index, Los Angeles was ranked as having the 19th most competitive financial center in the world, and sixth most competitive in the United States (after New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C.). [139]

One of the five major film studios, Paramount Pictures, is within the city limits, [140] its location being part of the so-called "Thirty-Mile Zone" of entertainment headquarters in Southern California.

Los Angeles is the largest manufacturing center in the United States. [141] The contiguous ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together comprise the busiest port in the United States by some measures and the fifth-busiest port in the world, vital to trade within the Pacific Rim. [141]

The Los Angeles metropolitan area has a gross metropolitan product of $1.0 trillion (as of 2017 [update] ), [27] making it the third-largest economic metropolitan area in the world, after Tokyo and New York. [27] Los Angeles has been classified an "alpha world city" according to a 2012 study by a group at Loughborough University. [142]

The Department of Cannabis Regulation enforces cannabis legislation after the legalization of the sale and distribution of cannabis in 2016. [143] As of October 2019 [update] , more than 300 existing cannabis businesses (both retailers and their suppliers) have been granted approval to operate in what is considered the nation's largest market. [144] [145]

As of 2018 [update] , Los Angeles is home to three Fortune 500 companies: AECOM, CBRE Group, and Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. [146]

Largest Non-Government Employers in Los Angeles County, August 2018 [147]
Rank Employer Employees
1 Kaiser Permanente 37,468
2 University of Southern California 21,055
3 Northrop Grumman Corp. 16,600
4 Providence Health and Services Southern California 15,952
5 Target Corp. 15,000
6 Ralphs/Food 4 Less (Kroger Co. Division) 14,970
7 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center 14,903
8 Walt Disney Co. 13,000
9 Allied Universal 12,879
10 NBC Universal 12,000

Los Angeles is often billed as the "Creative Capital of the World" because one in every six of its residents works in a creative industry [148] and there are more artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, dancers and musicians living and working in Los Angeles than any other city at any other time in history. [149]

Movies and the performing arts

The city's Hollywood neighborhood has become recognized as the center of the motion picture industry and the Los Angeles area is also associated as being the center of the television industry. The city is home to major film studios as well as major record labels. Los Angeles plays host to the annual Academy Awards, the Primetime Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards as well as many other entertainment industry awards shows. Los Angeles is the site of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the oldest film school in the United States. [150]

The performing arts play a major role in Los Angeles's cultural identity. According to the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, "there are more than 1,100 annual theatrical productions and 21 openings every week." [149] The Los Angeles Music Center is "one of the three largest performing arts centers in the nation", with more than 1.3 million visitors per year. [151] The Walt Disney Concert Hall, centerpiece of the Music Center, is home to the prestigious Los Angeles Philharmonic. Notable organizations such as Center Theatre Group, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Los Angeles Opera are also resident companies of the Music Center. Talent is locally cultivated at premier institutions such as the Colburn School and the USC Thornton School of Music.

Museums and galleries

There are 841 museums and art galleries in Los Angeles County, [152] more museums per capita than any other city in the U.S. [152] Some of the notable museums are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (the largest art museum in the Western United States [153] ), the Getty Center (part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the world's wealthiest art institution [154] ), the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Huntington Library, the Natural History Museum, the Battleship Iowa, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. A significant number of art galleries are on Gallery Row, and tens of thousands attend the monthly Downtown Art Walk there. [155]

The city of Los Angeles and its metropolitan area are the home of eleven top-level professional sports teams, several of which play in neighboring communities but use Los Angeles in their name. These teams include the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB), the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League (NFL), the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Los Angeles Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club of Major League Soccer (MLS), and the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Other notable sports teams include the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), both of which are Division I teams in the Pac-12 Conference.

Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the United States but hosted no NFL team between 1995 and 2015. At one time, the Los Angeles area hosted two NFL teams: the Rams and the Raiders. Both left the city in 1995, with the Rams moving to St. Louis, and the Raiders moving back to their original home of Oakland. After 21 seasons in St. Louis, on January 12, 2016, the NFL announced the Rams would be moving back to Los Angeles for the 2016 NFL season with its home games played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for four seasons. [156] [157] [158] Prior to 1995, the Rams played their home games in the Coliseum from 1946 to 1979 which made them the first professional sports team to play in Los Angeles, and then moved to Anaheim Stadium from 1980 until 1994. The San Diego Chargers announced on January 12, 2017, that they would also relocate back to Los Angeles (the first since its inaugural season in 1960) and become the Los Angeles Chargers beginning in the 2017 NFL season and played at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California for three seasons. The Rams and the Chargers would soon move to the newly built SoFi Stadium, located in nearby Inglewood during the 2020 season.

Los Angeles boasts a number of sports venues, including Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Banc of California Stadium and the Staples Center. The Forum, SoFi Stadium, Dignity Health Sports Park, the Rose Bowl, Angel Stadium and Honda Center are also in adjacent cities and cities in Los Angeles's metropolitan area. [159]

Los Angeles has twice hosted the Summer Olympic Games: in 1932 and in 1984, and will host the games for a third time in 2028. [160] Los Angeles will be the third city after London (1908, 1948 and 2012) and Paris (1900, 1924 and 2024) to host the Olympic Games three times. When the tenth Olympic Games were hosted in 1932, the former 10th Street was renamed Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles also hosted the Deaflympics in 1985 [161] and Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2015. [162]

7 NFL Super Bowls were also held in the city and its surrounding areas- 2 at the Memorial Coliseum (the first Super Bowl, I and VII) and 5 at the Rose Bowl in suburban Pasadena (XI, XIV, XVII, XXI, and XXVII), 10 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Super Bowl LVI will be held at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood in 2022. The Rose Bowl also hosts an annual and highly prestigious NCAA college football game called the Rose Bowl, which happens every New Year's Day.

Los Angeles also hosted 8 FIFA World Cup soccer games at the Rose Bowl in 1994, including the final, where Brazil won. The Rose Bowl also hosted 4 matches in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, including the final, where the United States won against China on penalty kicks. This was the game where Brandi Chastain took her shirt off after she scored the tournament-winning penalty kick, creating an iconic image.

Los Angeles is one of six North American cities to have won championships in all five of its major leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA and MLS), having completed the feat with the Kings' 2012 Stanley Cup title.

Los Angeles is a charter city as opposed to a general law city. The current charter was adopted on June 8, 1999, and has been amended many times. [163] The elected government consists of the Los Angeles City Council and the mayor of Los Angeles, which operate under a mayor–council government, as well as the city attorney (not to be confused with the district attorney, a county office) and controller. The mayor is Eric Garcetti. There are 15 city council districts.

The charter of the City of Los Angeles ratified by voters in 1999 created a system of advisory neighborhood councils that would represent the diversity of stakeholders, defined as those who live, work or own property in the neighborhood. The neighborhood councils are relatively autonomous and spontaneous in that they identify their own boundaries, establish their own bylaws, and elect their own officers. There are about 90 neighborhood councils.

Residents of Los Angeles elect supervisors for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th supervisorial districts.

Federal and state representation

In the California State Assembly, Los Angeles is split between fourteen districts. [164] In the California State Senate, the city is split between eight districts. [165] In the United States House of Representatives, it is split among ten congressional districts. [166]

In 1992, the city of Los Angeles recorded 1,092 murders. [167] Los Angeles experienced a significant decline in crime in the 1990s and late 2000s and reached a 50-year low in 2009 with 314 homicides. [168] [169] This is a rate of 7.85 per 100,000 population—a major decrease from 1980 when a homicide rate of 34.2 per 100,000 was reported. [170] [171] This included 15 officer-involved shootings. One shooting led to the death of a SWAT team member, Randal Simmons, the first in LAPD's history. [172] Los Angeles in the year of 2013 totaled 251 murders, a decrease of 16 percent from the previous year. Police speculate the drop resulted from a number of factors, including young people spending more time online. [173]

In 2015, it was revealed that the LAPD had been under-reporting crime for eight years, making the crime rate in the city appear much lower than it really is. [174] [175]

The Dragna crime family and the Cohen crime family dominated organized crime in the city during the Prohibition era [176] and reached its peak during the 1940s and 1950s with the battle of Sunset Strip as part of the American Mafia, but has gradually declined since then with the rise of various black and Hispanic gangs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. [176]

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the city is home to 45,000 gang members, organized into 450 gangs. [177] Among them are the Crips and Bloods, which are both African American street gangs that originated in the South Los Angeles region. Latino street gangs such as the Sureños, a Mexican American street gang, and Mara Salvatrucha, which has mainly members of Salvadoran descent, all originated in Los Angeles. This has led to the city being referred to as the "Gang Capital of America". [178]

Colleges and universities

Private colleges in the city include:

The community college system consists of nine campuses governed by the trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District:

There are numerous additional colleges and universities outside the city limits in the Greater Los Angeles area, including the Claremont Colleges consortium, which includes the most selective liberal arts colleges in the U.S., and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), one of the top STEM-focused research institutions in the world.

Schools and libraries

Los Angeles Unified School District serves almost all of the city of Los Angeles, as well as several surrounding communities, with a student population around 800,000. [179] After Proposition 13 was approved in 1978, urban school districts had considerable trouble with funding. LAUSD has become known for its underfunded, overcrowded and poorly maintained campuses, although its 162 Magnet schools help compete with local private schools.

Several small sections of Los Angeles are in the Las Virgenes Unified School District. The Los Angeles County Office of Education operates the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. The Los Angeles Public Library system operates 72 public libraries in the city. [180] Enclaves of unincorporated areas are served by branches of the County of Los Angeles Public Library, many of which are within walking distance to residents.

The Los Angeles metro area is the second-largest broadcast designated market area in the U.S. (after New York) with 5,431,140 homes (4.956% of the U.S.), which is served by a wide variety of local AM and FM radio and television stations. Los Angeles and New York City are the only two media markets to have seven VHF allocations assigned to them. [181]

As part of the region's aforementioned creative industry, the Big Four major broadcast television networks, ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, all have production facilities and offices throughout various areas of Los Angeles. All four major broadcast television networks, plus major Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision, also own and operate stations that both serve the Los Angeles market and serve as each network's West Coast flagship station: ABC's KABC-TV (Channel 7), CBS's KCBS-TV (Channel 2), Fox's KTTV-TV (Channel 11), NBC's KNBC-TV (Channel 4), MyNetworkTV's KCOP-TV (Channel 13), Telemundo's KVEA-TV (Channel 52), and Univision's KMEX-TV (Channel 34). The region also has three PBS stations, as well as KCET (Channel 28), the nation's largest independent public television station. KTBN (Channel 40) is the flagship station of the religious Trinity Broadcasting Network, based out of Santa Ana. A variety of independent television stations, such as KCAL-TV (Channel 9) and KTLA-TV (Channel 5), also operate in the area.

The major daily English-language newspaper in the area is the Los Angeles Times. La Opinión is the city's major daily Spanish-language paper. The Korea Times is the city's major daily Korean language paper while The World Journal is the city and county's major Chinese newspaper. The Los Angeles Sentinel is the city's major African-American weekly paper, boasting the largest African-American readership in the Western United States. Investor's Business Daily is distributed from its LA corporate offices, which are headquartered in Playa del Rey.

There are also a number of smaller regional newspapers, alternative weeklies and magazines, including the Los Angeles Register, Los Angeles Community News, (which focuses on coverage of the greater Los Angeles area), Los Angeles Daily News (which focuses coverage on the San Fernando Valley), LA Weekly, L.A. Record (which focuses coverage on the music scene in the Greater Los Angeles Area), Los Angeles Magazine, the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Los Angeles Daily Journal (legal industry paper), The Hollywood Reporter, Variety (both entertainment industry papers), and Los Angeles Downtown News. In addition to the major papers, numerous local periodicals serve immigrant communities in their native languages, including Armenian, English, Korean, Persian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, and Arabic. Many cities adjacent to Los Angeles also have their own daily newspapers whose coverage and availability overlaps with certain Los Angeles neighborhoods. Examples include The Daily Breeze (serving the South Bay), and The Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Los Angeles arts, culture and nightlife news is also covered by a number of local and national online guides like Time Out Los Angeles, Thrillist, Kristin's List, DailyCandy, Diversity News Magazine, LAist, and Flavorpill. [182]


The city and the rest of the Los Angeles metropolitan area are served by an extensive network of freeways and highways. The Texas Transportation Institute, which publishes an annual Urban Mobility Report, ranked Los Angeles road traffic as the most congested in the United States in 2005 as measured by annual delay per traveler. [183] The average traveler in Los Angeles experienced 72 hours of traffic delay per year according to the study. Los Angeles was followed by San Francisco/Oakland, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta (each with 60 hours of delay). [184] Despite the congestion in the city, the mean travel time for commuters in Los Angeles is shorter than other major cities, including New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago. Los Angeles's mean travel time for work commutes in 2006 was 29.2 minutes, similar to those of San Francisco and Washington, D.C. [185]

Among the major highways that connect LA to the rest of the nation include Interstate 5, which runs south through San Diego to Tijuana in Mexico and north through Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle to the Canada–US border Interstate 10, the southernmost east–west, coast-to-coast Interstate Highway in the United States, going to Jacksonville, Florida and U.S. Route 101, which heads to the California Central Coast, San Francisco, the Redwood Empire, and the Oregon and Washington coasts.

Transit systems

The LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA County Metro) and other agencies operate an extensive system of bus lines, as well as subway and light rail lines across Los Angeles County, with a combined monthly ridership (measured in individual boardings) of 38.8 million as of September 2011 [update] . The majority of this (30.5 million) is taken up by the city's bus system, [186] the second busiest in the country. The subway and light rail combined average the remaining roughly 8.2 million boardings per month. [186] LA County Metro recorded over 397 million boardings for the 2017 calendar year, including about 285 million bus riders and about 113 million riding on rail transit. [187] For the first quarter of 2018, there were just under 95 million system-wide boardings, down from about 98 million in 2017, and about 105 million in 2016. [188] In 2005, 10.2% of Los Angeles commuters rode some form of public transportation. [189] According to the 2016 American Community Survey, 9.2% of working Los Angeles (city) residents made the journey to work via public transportation. [190]

The city's subway system is the ninth busiest in the United States and its light rail system is the country's busiest. [191] The rail system includes the B and D subway lines, as well as the A, C, E, and L light rail lines. In 2016, the E Line was extended to the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica. The Metro G and J lines are bus rapid transit lines with stops and frequency similar to those of light rail. As of 2018 [update] , the total number of light rail stations is 93. The city is also central to the commuter rail system Metrolink, which links Los Angeles to all neighboring counties as well as many suburbs.

Besides the rail service provided by Metrolink and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles is served by inter-city passenger trains from Amtrak. The main rail station in the city is Union Station just north of Downtown.

In addition, the city directly contracts for local and commuter bus service through the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, or LADOT.


The main international and domestic airport serving Los Angeles is Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX, ICAO: KLAX), commonly referred to by its airport code, LAX.

Other major nearby commercial airports include:

  • (IATA: ONT, ICAO: KONT) Ontario International Airport, owned by the city of Ontario, CA serves the Inland Empire.
  • (IATA: BUR, ICAO: KBUR) Hollywood Burbank Airport, jointly owned by the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena. Formerly known as Bob Hope Airport and Burbank Airport the closest airport to Downtown Los Angeles serves the San Fernando, San Gabriel, and Antelope Valleys.
  • (IATA: LGB, ICAO: KLGB) Long Beach Airport, serves the Long Beach/Harbor area.
  • (IATA: SNA, ICAO: KSNA) John Wayne Airport of Orange County.

One of the world's busiest general-aviation airports is also in Los Angeles, Van Nuys Airport (IATA: VNY, ICAO: KVNY). [192]


The Port of Los Angeles is in San Pedro Bay in the San Pedro neighborhood, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Downtown. Also called Los Angeles Harbor and WORLDPORT LA, the port complex occupies 7,500 acres (30 km 2 ) of land and water along 43 miles (69 km) of waterfront. It adjoins the separate Port of Long Beach.

The sea ports of the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach together make up the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor. [193] [194] Together, both ports are the fifth busiest container port in the world, with a trade volume of over 14.2 million TEU's in 2008. [195] Singly, the Port of Los Angeles is the busiest container port in the United States and the largest cruise ship center on the West Coast of the United States – The Port of Los Angeles's World Cruise Center served about 590,000 passengers in 2014. [196]

There are also smaller, non-industrial harbors along Los Angeles's coastline. The port includes four bridges: the Vincent Thomas Bridge, Henry Ford Bridge, Gerald Desmond Bridge, and Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge. Passenger ferry service from San Pedro to the city of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island is provided by Catalina Express.

As of January 2020, there are 41,290 homeless people in the City of Los Angeles, comprising roughly 62% of the homeless population of LA County. [197] This is an increase of 14.2% over the previous year (with a 12.7% increase in the overall homeless population of LA County). [198] [199] The epicenter of homelessness in Los Angeles is the Skid Row neighborhood, which contains 8,000 homeless people, one of the largest stable populations of homeless people in the United States. [200] [201] The increased homeless population in Los Angeles has been attributed largely to lack of housing affordability. [202] Almost 60 percent of the 82,955 people who became newly homeless in 2019 said their homelessness was because of economic hardship. [198] In Los Angeles, black people are roughly four times more likely to experience homelessness. [198] [203]

As home to Hollywood and its entertainment industry, numerous singers, actors, celebrities and other entertainers live in various districts of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles has 25 sister cities, [204] listed chronologically by year joined:

L.A.’s history is often whitewashed, romanticized and censored. A new push to tell the truth

This has never been a place with a conventional relationship to its history.

Where little blue plaques and carefully preserved structures have proliferated elsewhere, L.A.'s official stance on the past has typically been both grander and more opaque — heavily romanticized, carefully edited, booster-ized, whitewashed and perpetually repackaged in service of whatever comes next.

“We have always had our civic gaze fixed on the future,” Christopher Hawthorne, the city’s first chief design officer and a former Times architecture critic, told me. “To the extent that we have had a coherent sense of identity, it has been very much shaped by that perspective.”

But what about the past? And how to make sense of it?

In late 2019, a Civic Memory Working Group impaneled by Mayor Eric Garcetti — a diverse array of thinkers that included 40 leading historians, architects, artists, Indigenous leaders, city officials, scholars and cultural leaders, according to the city — began meeting to explore how Los Angeles could more accurately reflect the brightest and darkest moments of its history. Hawthorne coordinated the group’s efforts, and last month, it released its recommendations.

The 166-page report, produced by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West with support from the Getty Foundation, “begins with a simple provocation in the form of a question: What might it mean if the city of the future could simultaneously be lauded for its regard for the past?”

The group’s recommendations include building a memorial to the victims of the 1871 Chinese Massacre, appointing an official city historian, looking into the creation of a city museum, an audit of monuments on publicly accessible land, and developing strategies to recontextualize or remove those that are outdated or fraught.

I spoke to Hawthorne about the Civic Memory Working Group and the sometimes slippery nature of L.A. history.

Here’s some of our conversation, condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

I know the working group first convened in November 2019, but I imagine the idea was probably simmering long before then. Can you walk us through how it came to fruition?

It was something I was interested in trying to pull together pretty soon after I joined the mayor’s office in April 2018. At that point, there was already beginning to be a national conversation about what to do with controversial monuments and memorials, particularly Confederate monuments. I was interested in what that conversation meant for Los Angeles. Of course, we don’t have Confederate monuments to the same degree, but we have plenty of fraught monuments and memorials that reflect a complicated relationship with history.

So I wanted to see if we could frame some of these questions in a way that was specific to Los Angeles and its particular — and I would say even peculiar — relationship to history. And when I say peculiar, I mean that we have arguably been more aggressive in clearing or whitewashing difficult aspects of our history than most American cities, even.

There are a number of reasons. I think we have relied to an unusual degree on boosterism and mythmaking in establishing our civic identity, particularly in terms of establishing an Anglo elite here in the late 19th and the early 20th century. We have been very much in love with our reputation as the city of the future. We have been headquarters of the Hollywood dream factory.

I know the group was already deeply engaged in discussion about monuments and erasure last summer, when the broader cultural reckoning around these issues hit an inflection point. Did that shape or affect your work?

It added to the urgency. And the sense that the work was timely and it was a good thing that we had done some of the work already, so we weren’t solely being reactive to what was happening. But we could try to incorporate discussions about that “reckoning,” because that was a word that we had been talking about already.

Most specifically, we talked a lot about how the suffering we were seeing around the city last year — public health suffering related to COVID-19, suffering related to racial and other kinds of injustice — had deep roots.

It’s difficult to really understand the unequal toll that the COVID-19 pandemic was taking on the city, for example, without understanding some of the historical forces that we had been talking about and trying to grapple with — whether that’s redlining housing policy, freeway construction, the ways in which the city actively sorted residential populations, often by race, across much of the 20th century.

So both the racial and social justice protests and the pandemic reflected a need for us to understand our history more clearly — particularly the parts of our history that we’ve tried to put aside.

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Julia Wick is a Metro reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Previously, she was the author of the Essential California newsletter. Before joining The Times in 2019, Wick was the editor in chief of LAist and a senior editor at Longreads. She is a native Angeleno.

History of LGBTQ Los Angeles

The LGBTQ history of Greater Los Angeles touches upon the many racial, gender, religious, sexual, and socioeconomic identities and communities that contribute to the diversity of the region.

To date, current literature on queer history and, more specifically, the queer history of Los Angeles, is sporadic and largely incomplete. (Read how and why we use the term “queer.”)

Conventional scholarship did not begin to treat the history of LGBTQ individuals as a legitimate field of study until the 1970s, when critical thought around topics such as gender and sexual identity began to emerge.

Early attempts to document LGBTQ history did not focus on communities, but rather on the experiences of well-known and well-respected historical figures such as Walt Whitman, Frida Kahlo, and Alexander the Great.

From the 1820s through the 1970s, LGBTQ life in Los Angeles was largely underground and functioned along the lines of a subculture.

For decades, non-heteronormative behavior in Los Angeles was either illegal or cause for investigation. Bars and private residences served as primary social spaces for queer individuals to gather and meet one another, though police harassment was common in public establishments.

For many LGBTQ individuals in the region, the entertainment industry provided a safe and open work environment. The same social mores that gave performers the freedom to be themselves were often extended to those who worked behind the scenes.

During and immediately following World War II, the LGBTQ population in Los Angeles dramatically increased, much as it did in other major cities like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, and San Francisco.

The postwar era witnessed the rise of new LGBTQ civil rights organizations, social spaces, and cultural institutions as perceptions of sexual and gender identity evolved.

Beginning in the 1970s with the onset of the gay liberation movement, the nature of queer public spaces began to change drastically.

Many LGBTQ bars reached their peak popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, often meeting full capacity nightly. The 1990s saw a resurgence of interest in queer literature, and, as a result, queer bookstores grew more common in major cities across the country.

By the early 2000s, LGBTQ communities began experiencing unprecedented levels of acceptance and positive visibility within mainstream heteronormative society. This resulted in a large decrease in patronage to LGBTQ establishments that were once essential fixtures in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Over the last several years, many establishments that once catered exclusively to queer individuals have changed hands or closed their doors. Yet there are anomalies to this pattern.

Neighborhoods such as Downtown Los Angeles, where residential populations have grown and attracted a younger demographic, have actually seen a rise in the establishment of new LGBTQ bars and nightclubs.

LGBTQ Terminology

Please see our Explanation of LGBTQ Terms to learn more about the terminology used on this microsite.

For More Information

For a more detailed history of LGBTQ places in Los Angeles, including recommendations for further reading, please see the City of Los Angeles’ LGBT Historic Context Statement.


By 3000 B.C., the area was occupied by the Hokan-speaking people of the Milling Stone Period who fished, hunted sea mammals, and gathered wild seeds. They were later replaced by migrants — possibly fleeing drought in the Great Basin — who spoke a Uto-Aztecan language called Tongva. The Tongva people called the Los Angeles region Yaa in Tongva. [1]

By the 1700s A.D., there were 250,000 to 300,000 native people in California and 5,000 in the Los Angeles basin. The land occupied and used by the Tongva covered about 4,000 square miles (10,000 km 2 ). It included the enormous floodplain drained by the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers and the southern Channel Islands, including the Santa Barbara, San Clemente, Santa Catalina, and San Nicolas Islands. They were part of a sophisticated group of trading partners that included the Chumash to the west, the Cahuilla and Mojave to the east, and the Juaneños and Luiseños to the south. Their trade extended to the Colorado River and included slavery. [2]

The lives of the Tongva were governed by a set of religious and cultural practices that included belief in creative supernatural forces. They worshipped Chinigchinix, a creator god, and Chukit, a female virgin god. Their Great Morning Ceremony was based on a belief in the afterlife. In a purification ritual, they drank tolguache, a hallucinogenic made from jimson weed and salt water. Their language was called Kizh or Kij, and they practiced cremation. [3] [4] [5]

Generations before the arrival of the Europeans, the Tongva had identified and lived in the best sites for human occupation. The survival and success of Los Angeles depended greatly on the presence of a nearby and prosperous Tongva village called Yaanga. Its residents provided the colonists with seafood, fish, bowls, pelts, and baskets. For pay, they dug ditches, hauled water, and provided domestic help. They often intermarried with the Mexican colonists. [6]

In 1542 and 1602, the first Europeans to visit the region were Captain Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and Captain Sebastián Vizcaíno. The first permanent non-native presence began when the Portolá expedition arrived on August 2, 1769. [7]

Plans for the pueblo Edit

Although Los Angeles was a town that was founded by Mexican families from Sonora, it was the Spanish governor of California who named the settlement.

In 1777, Governor Felipe de Neve toured Alta California and decided to establish civic pueblos for the support of the military presidios. The new pueblos reduced the secular power of the missions by reducing the dependency of the military on them. At the same time, they promoted the development of industry and agriculture.

Governor de Neve identified Santa Barbara, San Jose, and Los Angeles as sites for his new pueblos. His plans for them closely followed a set of Spanish city-planning laws contained in the Laws of the Indies promulgated by King Philip II in 1573. Those laws were responsible for laying the foundations of the largest cities in the region at the time, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tucson, San Antonio, Sonoma, Monterey, Santa Fe, and Laredo. [8]

The Spanish system called for an open central plaza, surrounded by a fortified church, administrative buildings, and streets laid out in a grid, defining rectangles of limited size to be used for farming (suertes) and residences (solares). [9]

It was in accordance with such precise planning—specified in the Law of the Indies—that Governor de Neve founded the pueblo of San Jose de Guadalupe, California's first municipality, on the great plain of Santa Clara on 29 November 1777. [10]

Pobladores Edit

The Pobladores ("settlers") is the name given to the 44 original settlers, 22 adults and 22 children from Sonora, who founded the town. Of the 44, 20 of the settlers were of African American or Native American descent, making LA one of the few cities in the United States with such a diverse beginning. In December 1777, Viceroy Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa and Commandant General Teodoro de Croix gave approval for the founding of a civic municipality at Los Angeles and a new presidio at Santa Barbara.

Croix put the California lieutenant governor Fernando Rivera y Moncada in charge of recruiting colonists for the new settlements. He was originally instructed to recruit 55 soldiers, 22 settlers with families and 1,000 head of livestock that included horses for the military. After an exhausting search that took him to Mazatlán, Rosario, and Durango, Rivera y Moncada only recruited 12 settlers and 45 soldiers. Like the people of most towns in New Spain they were a mix of Indian and Spanish backgrounds. The Quechan Revolt killed 95 settlers and soldiers, including Rivera y Moncada. [11]

In his Reglamento, the newly baptized Indians were no longer to reside in the mission but live in their traditional rancherías (villages). Governor de Neve's new plans for the Indians' role in his new town drew instant disapproval from the mission priests. [12]

Zúñiga's party arrived at the mission on 18 July 1781. Because they had arrived with smallpox, they immediately were quarantined a short distance away from the mission. Members of the other party arrived at different times by August. They made their way to Los Angeles and probably received their land before September. [12]

Founding Edit

The official date for the founding of the city is September 4, 1781. [13] The families had arrived from New Spain earlier in 1781, in two groups, and some of them had most likely been working on their assigned plots of land since the early summer. [14]

The name first given to the settlement is debated. Historian Doyce B. Nunis has said that the Spanish named it "El Pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles" ("The Town of the Queen of the Angels"). For proof, he pointed to a map dated 1785, where that phrase was used. Frank Weber, the diocesan archivist, replied, however, that the name given by the founders was "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Porciuncula", or "the town of Our Lady of the Angels of Porciuncula." and that the map was in error. [15]

Spanish pueblo Edit

The town grew as soldiers and other settlers came into town and stayed. In 1784 a chapel was built on the original Plaza. The original Plaza was located a block north and west of the present one — its southeast corner being roughly where the northwesternmost point of the present plaza is, at the former intersection of Upper Main and Marchessault streets. It was also oriented diagonally, i.e. at precisely a 90-degree angle to the four compass points. [16] The pobladores were given title to their land two years later. By 1800, there were 29 buildings that surrounded the Plaza, flat-roofed, one-story adobe buildings with thatched roofs made of tule. [17] By 1821, Los Angeles had grown into a self-sustaining farming community, the largest in Southern California.

Each settler received four rectangles of land, suertes, for farming, two irrigated plots and two dry ones. [8] [18] When the settlers arrived, the Los Angeles floodplain was heavily wooded with willows and oaks. The Los Angeles River flowed all year. Wildlife was plentiful, including deer and black bears, and even an occasional grizzly bear. There were abundant wetlands and swamps. Steelhead trout and salmon swam the rivers.

The first settlers built a water system consisting of ditches (zanjas) leading from the river through the middle of town and into the farmlands. Indians were employed to haul fresh drinking water from a special pool farther upstream. The city was first known as a producer of fine wine grapes. The raising of cattle and the commerce in tallow and hides came later. [19]

Because of the great economic potential for Los Angeles, the demand for Indian labor grew rapidly. Yaanga began attracting Indians from the Channel Islands and as far away as San Diego and San Luis Obispo. The village began to look like a refugee camp. Unlike the missions, the pobladores paid Indians for their labor. In exchange for their work as farm workers, vaqueros, ditch diggers, water haulers, and domestic help they were paid in clothing and other goods as well as cash and alcohol. The pobladores bartered with them for prized sea-otter and seal pelts, sieves, trays, baskets, mats, and other woven goods. This commerce greatly contributed to the economic success of the town and the attraction of other Indians to the city. [6]

During the 1780s, San Gabriel Mission became the object of an Indian revolt. The mission had expropriated all the suitable farming land the Indians found themselves abused and forced to work on lands that they once owned. A young Indian healer, Toypurina, began touring the area, preaching against the injustices suffered by her people. She won over four rancherías and led them in an attack on the mission at San Gabriel. The soldiers were able to defend the mission, and arrested 17, including Toypurina. [20]

In 1787, Governor Pedro Fages outlined his "Instructions for the Corporal Guard of the Pueblo of Los Angeles." The instructions included rules for employing Indians, not using corporal punishment, and protecting the Indian rancherías. As a result, Indians found themselves with more freedom to choose between the benefits of the missions and the pueblo-associated rancherías. [21]

In 1795, Sergeant Pablo Cota led an expedition from the Simi Valley through the Conejo-Calabasas region and into the San Fernando Valley. His party visited the rancho of Francisco Reyes. They found the local Indians hard at work as vaqueros and caring for crops. Padre Vincente de Santa Maria was traveling with the party and made these observations:

All of pagandom (Indians) is fond of the pueblo of Los Angeles, of the rancho of Reyes, and of the ditches (water system). Here we see nothing but pagans, clad in shoes, with sombreros and blankets, and serving as muleteers to the settlers and rancheros, so that if it were not for the gentiles there were neither pueblos nor ranches. These pagan Indians care neither for the missions nor for the missionaries. [22]

Not only economic ties but also marriage drew many Indians into the life of the pueblo. In 1784, only three years after the founding, the first recorded marriages in Los Angeles took place. The two sons of settler Basilio Rosas, Maximo and José Carlos, married two young Indian women, María Antonia and María Dolores. [23]

The construction on the Plaza of La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles took place between 1818 and 1822, much of it with Indian labor. The new church completed Governor de Neve's planned transition of authority from mission to pueblo. The angelinos no longer had to make the bumpy 11-mile (18 km) ride to Sunday Mass at Mission San Gabriel.

In 1811, the population of Los Angeles had increased to more than five hundred persons, of which ninety-one were heads of families. [24]

In 1820, the route of El Camino Viejo was established from Los Angeles, over the mountains to the north and up the west side of the San Joaquin Valley to the east side of San Francisco Bay.

Mexico's independence from Spain on September 28, 1821 was celebrated with great festivity throughout Alta California. No longer subjects of the king, people were now ciudadanos, citizens with rights under the law. In the plazas of Monterey, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and other settlements, people swore allegiance to the new government, the Spanish flag was lowered, and the flag of independent Mexico raised. [14]

Independence brought other advantages, including economic growth. There was a corresponding increase in population as more Indians were assimilated and others arrived from America, Europe, and other parts of Mexico. Before 1820, there were just 650 people in the pueblo. By 1841, the population nearly tripled to 1,680. [25]

Secularization of the missions Edit

During the rest of the 1820s, the agriculture and cattle ranching expanded as did the trade in hides and tallow. The new church was completed, and the political life of the city developed. Los Angeles was separated from Santa Barbara administration. The system of ditches which provided water from the river was rebuilt. In 1827 Jonathan Temple and John Rice opened the first general store in the pueblo, soon followed by J. D. Leandry. [26] Trade and commerce further increased with the secularization of the California missions by the Mexican Congress in 1833. Extensive mission lands suddenly became available to government officials, ranchers, and land speculators. The governor made more than 800 land grants during this period, including a grant of over 33,000-acres in 1839 to Francisco Sepúlveda which was later developed as the westside of Los Angeles. [27]

Much of this progress, however, bypassed the Indians of the traditional villages who were not assimilated into the mestizo culture. Being regarded as minors who could not think for themselves, they were increasingly marginalized and relieved of their land titles, often by being drawn into debt or alcohol. [28]

In 1834, Governor Pico was married to Maria Ignacio Alvarado in the Plaza church. It was attended by the entire population of the pueblo, 800 people, plus hundreds from elsewhere in Alta California. In 1835, the Mexican Congress declared Los Angeles a city, making it the official capital of Alta California. It was now the region's leading city.

The same period also saw the arrival of many foreigners from the United States and Europe. They played a pivotal role in the U.S. takeover. Early California settler John Bidwell included several historical figures in his recollection of people he knew in March, 1845.

It then had probably two hundred and fifty people, of whom I recall Don Abel Stearns, John Temple, Captain Alexander Bell, William Wolfskill, Lemuel Carpenter, [29] [30] [31] David W. Alexander also of Mexicans, Pio Pico (governor), Don Juan Bandini, and others. [32]

Upon arriving in Los Angeles in 1831, Jean-Louis Vignes bought 104 acres (0.42 km 2 ) of land located between the original Pueblo and the banks of the Los Angeles River. He planted a vineyard and prepared to make wine. [33] He named his property El Aliso after the centuries-old tree found near the entrance. The grapes available at the time, of the Mission variety, were brought to Alta California by the Franciscan Brothers at the end of the 18th century. They grew well and yielded large quantities of wine, but Jean-Louis Vignes was not satisfied with the results. Therefore, he decided to import better vines from Bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon blanc. In 1840, Jean-Louis Vignes made the first recorded shipment of California wine. The Los Angeles market was too small for his production, and he loaded a shipment on the Monsoon, bound for Northern California. [34] By 1842, he made regular shipments to Santa Barbara, Monterey and San Francisco. By 1849, El Aliso, was the most extensive vineyard in California. Vignes owned over 40,000 vines and produced 150,000 bottles, or 1,000 barrels, per year. [35]

A Brief History of Los Angeles' Tallest Buildings

In Partnership with Machine Project as part of the Getty initiative Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. Machine Project asked artists to take on the whole environment of Los Angeles and create performances shot on video and edited into short experimental films in response to notable architectural sites throughout the city.

As part of The Machine Project Field Guide to L.A. Architecture, artist Kamau Patton engaged with a series of buildings in Los Angeles via a chartered helicopter, while performing a sound work composed for the flight. Accompanied by a cameraman and sound engineer, the entire flight was streamed live to Machine Project's storefront space and the web. We asked designer Matthew Au to compile a history of the tallest buildings throughout the history of Los Angeles.

At first glance, from afar, Los Angeles appears in a haze like any other city. The small cluster of vertically oriented buildings that rise and peek quickly identify its downtown. However, set against the nearly infinite horizontal expanse of development around it, this skyline of towers begins to seem a little strange it's oddly small for a city of its size, a little too blunt at its top and bottom, and absent the density that is expected for a city of 3.8 million. Diverse in its building styles and types, tall structures in Los Angeles are consistently atypical. The shape of the city, its towers and plazas, more than showcase style of their era, they are the cumulative product of abject laws and regulations, shady political maneuvering, ungrounded utopianism, competitive one-upmanship, apologetic urbanism, and, like it or not, parking.

The relative scarcity of tall buildings in Los Angeles can be attributed to a half-century City Council ordinance set in 1905 (later amended in 1911) which prohibited the construction of buildings in Los Angeles taller than 150 feet. 1 The few exceptions to this strict ordinance included a loop hole allowing uninhabited "decorative" towers, such as the Art Deco Eastern Columbia Building, and the single permitted variance in over 50 years: Los Angeles City Hall. 2

1928-1968: Los Angeles City Hall

For 40 years following completion in 1928, the Los Angeles City Hall loomed with authoritative dominance over the city, which by strict ordinance could grow no taller than 1/3 the height of it's 452' tower. Designed by the architecture super team Allied Architects, 3 the City Hall set the tone of downtown's building style over the next two decades and anticipated a defining type of L.A. architecture: the emblematic object building. Stylistically, the building is a strange cacophony of historic types: Romanesque arches with Corinthian columns at its base, a Byzantine rotunda, an Art Deco set back and tower, Spanish style roofs, and a crown atop its tower modeled on the Classical Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Like other pastiche icons in this era, the turreted tire-manufacturer-turn-discount-shopping-center Citadel for example, the familiar but strange iconicity of City Hall is dressed for the starring role as civic authority over the next century in film and television. 4 However, aside from its numerous historical quotations the terracotta clad steel structure is a modern building, and as such its form, mass, and height would set an example for the urban city that is Los Angeles today. Inset deep within its city-block sized base, City Hall's low shouldered tower is removed from any direct relationship to the street below and isolated from any competing tower that would diminish its stature. The figure of the tower with this arrangement can best be described as strong form, like an exclamation mark it extends symmetrically proud and unyielding against its urban surroundings.

By the time the building height limit was removed by voter referendum in 1957, Los Angeles had already established itself as a new type of city: polynuclear and horizontally expansive. While the removal of the ordinance opened the door for a late blossoming vertical city it was also coupled with a new, perhaps equally crippling requirement for parking. In the years that growth in downtown lay stagnant, the automobile established itself as a vital character in the economic landscape of the city. From this point, any hope for a recentralized downtown and a vertical city would inevitably be limited and shaped by the ability of its buildings to account for large areas of real estate devoted to parking.

1968-1969: Union Bank Plaza

The first building to surpass City Hall in height was the 516' AC Martin designed Union Bank Plaza tower. Built in 1968, it was the first tower erected in the still active Bunker Hill Redevelopment Project. In line with the mid-century national trend to rehabilitate urban regions in decay, the newly formed Community Redevelopment Agency began a massive tabula rasa style development atop the poor and densely populated Bunker Hill neighborhood at the edge of downtown. Initially envisioned as a "Radiant City" style plan, the project proposed raising all of the Victorian housing stock, flattening the top of the hill and building a network of large buildings, each an isolated object atop a parking lot plinth connected by a two tiered road system. The expansive area the project covered and its failure to incorporate a public transportation system underscored the impact of a car centered city and revealed the shape of a vertical Los Angeles as fundamentally different than cities that began their vertical assent several generations earlier.

The Union Bank Plaza became the first model for a car-centered tower that would define much of Los Angeles' urban core. Set center atop its parking structure and adjacent plaza, the tower design features a steel structured graphic grid of vertical and horizontal beams, continuous from top to bottom, that frame a deeply recessed secondary glazing system. Without immediate neighbors the tower's De Chirico grid is equally distributed around the tower's four vertical sides and thus perceived the same from car on the adjacent freeway as it is from a pedestrian at its foot. Also, with primary access oriented from the parking garage, minimal attention is placed on an urban pedestrian entrance. This accounts for the tower's object-like surface grid continuity. While this object-tower atop a parking-plinth model does prevent the feared "dark walled-in streets" scenario used to justify the height limit ordinance at the beginning of the century, it also prevents the city from ever creating the density required to vitalize an active vertical city.

An urban arms-race immediately followed the Bunker Hill project. In rapid succession towers rose to take the "tallest building" title and beacon in the revitalization efforts around their dormant economic districts. The first tower to take the title was the William Pereira designed 611 Place in the former 6th Street banking district. The vertically extruded cruciform shaped tower atop a four story parking podium was to house the now-defunct Crocker Citizens Bank and attempt to usher in a new era of banking back to downtown. The tower broke ground in the wake of Pereira's designed Los Angeles County Museum of Art and followed his signature brand of ornate modernism with thin cast concrete fins fluted around the tower.

1972-1974: ARCO Towers (City National Plaza and Paul Hastings Tower)

The starchitect brand and marketing campaign heralding Pereira's design for the "automobile-oriented Californian" 5 held sway for only three years until in 1972 the monolithic twin ARCO Towers arose like a pair of strange obelisks a few blocks away at the base of Bunker Hill. The sleek glass and polished marble twin towers were a novel form of corporate high modernism in the city that until then had been dominated by a regional style of concrete, terracotta, and stucco. It is fitting then that the twin towers replaced the out-dated heavy black and gold trimmed Art Deco Richfield Tower, a relic of the oil economy, with an international design reflective of the burgeoning finance economy that would take its place.

1974-1989 Aon Center (First Interstate Tower)

In only two years, the ARCO Towers lost their title by over 150' to the 858' Aon Center. Designed by former Pereira partner Charles Luckman, the Aon Center is particular in its hybrid corporate-yet-regional form. While the glass and thin bronze mullions suggest a motive similar to the ARCO towers, the inverted cast concrete corners simultaneously reject any possible reading as monolithic. Like an unfinished tilt-slab concrete building, common around L.A., the architectural detail suggests the building is assembled of 8 tall slabs -- two on each side -- tilted vertically to form the tower. In this highly strategic move, the tower not only over takes the ARCO towers in height, it formally counters the architectural style they import into Los Angeles. Less than a decade in to becoming a vertical city, the skyscrapers of Los Angeles had become self-aware of both the effect their design projected onto the city and the affects the city's culture and regulations have on them. Perhaps significant to this point is the small, ten story "mini-me" version of Aon Center across from the tower that houses the city required parking and connects back to the tower via underground passage.

1989 - : Library Tower (US Bank Tower)

Fifteen years passed before the Library Tower at 1,018' took reign as the tallest building in Los Angeles and tallest west of the Mississippi River. Named for its close proximity to the highly cherished low 'n' slow Bertram Goodhue Central Library and inherent kinship acquired from purchasing its historic neighbor's air rights the Henry Cobb tower as urban giant is strikingly self-conscious of its own bigness and oddly considerate of its surroundings. The tower is articulated by a series of concentric floor plans generated through various geometric iterations between a circle and parallelogram that step inward the building's mass at four intervals between the 48th and 73rd floors. The effect is a geometrically complex and novel figure that in the round compliments rather than confronts the skylines hard edged rigidity. This figure is perhaps the closest attempt possible of producing a varied skyline in a city bluntly capped by a 1974 Municipal Code 6 requiring all buildings above a certain height to have an emergency helicopter landing facility, 50' x 50' plus a 25' buffer. By this prerequisite, the Library Tower has the highest and perhaps most frightening helipad in the world. Additionally, the soft edge impression the tower makes in the city skyline is also reflected at it's base. Gentle pleats of granite and glass curving around the building's geometry and ending in a high inset entry compliment the adjacent Central Library, thereby leaving little sense that the two buildings viewed face to face are disproportioned at a scale of nearly 10:1. Further, by rerouting the entrance to the city required parking along a side street to the rear of the building, the Library Tower does what 611 Place failed to do in its parking podium and what the Aon Center attempts to do with its incognito parking facility: it creates a pedestrian non-object urban building that still works within the strict regulations that have since shaped Los Angeles.

Half of a century into the city's foray in verticality, Los Angeles may still be unwilling to give up its horizontal tendencies. In the cultural imagination, each one the tallest buildings have been destroyed by tornadoes, earthquakes, missile attacks, and even alien invaders, at least twice. 7 In reality, office vacancy rates in downtown are more than double the comparable districts in other cities, and it is worse in the tallest buildings. 8 In 2013, the city approved plans for the spire topped Wilshire Grand Tower that when built will be the new tallest building in L.A. However, while this may signal that the city is still dabbling in tall, the quarter-mile horizontal "skyscraper" One Santa Fe currently under construction at the eastern edge of downtown affirms that it never stopped thinking long.

1 In "The Architecture of Los Angeles," author Paul Gleye that the decision to limit building height LA was a product of the aesthetic ideology of a few individuals insistent in developing the city "along broad and harmonious lines" rather than fear of structural instability in an earthquake. Both the fact that the 1906 San Francisco earthquake occurred a year after the ordinance was put in place and lack of structural anxiety surrounding the construction of City Hall belie any argument attributing fear of the natural disaster toward the city's horizontal development. Similar to many cities at the turn of the century, the influence of the City Beautiful Movement (Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago for example) and the desire to market Los Angeles in opposition to the "dark walled-in streets" of its east coast rivals likely provided the impetuous for the heavy handed ordinance.

2 It is worth noting that two of the City Hall architects, John Parkinson and John C. Austin served on the very commission that wrote the ordinance limiting building height in the city. Perhaps of little coincidence, three Parkinson designed buildings were at the time the ordinance passed the tallest buildings in Los Angeles. The 151' Braly Block, the 165' Security Building, and the 190' AG Bartlett Building all were assured the symbolic status of tallest buildings in Los Angeles by the ordinance until the crown jewel of civil architecture would reign supreme. Additionally, the inevitable horizontal expansion of a capped city core ensured clear economic boon to John C. Austin, who at the time had many projects and investments outside the boundaries of downtown. In the end the third City Hall architect, Albert C. Martin, may have benefitted the most by leveraging the iconic his firm AC Martin and Partners, subsequently passed through multiple Martin generations, has been responsible for several of the most well regarded buildings in Los Angeles and nearly 1/3 of all tall buildings in Los Angeles.

3 Allied Architects combined the efforts of John Parkinson, John C Austin, and Albert C. Martin, three of the city' most active architects in their day.

4 After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, debate over whether to tear down or repair the badly damaged building focused on its value as backdrop in films and television shows.

5 A press release in the Valley News paper (Sept. 12, 1968) identifies the building as "planned for autos" and further describes the project as "Representing a dramatic departure from conventional commercial architecture, the structure has been planned especially for the automobile-oriented Californian, with nine levels of enclosed parking, five below grade, and a unique "motor lobby," with walls of colored crushed marble, that invites tenants and visitors to drive directly to the elevators."

6 Los Angeles Municipal Code: Sec. 57.118.12

7 Partial List of Skyscaper destruction porn -- LA City Hall: War of the Worlds (1953) 611 Place: Epicenter (2000), Day After Tomorrow (2004) Twin Towers: Blue Thunder (1983) Library Tower: Independence Day (1996), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), 2012 (2009)

8 In 2013, the Downtown Financial District had an average vacancy rate of 22.4%, 3.2% higher than the city wide average of 19.2%, and 14.4% higher than the 8% vacancy rate in New York's financial district. This rate was even greater in the tallest buildings the US Bank Tower for example had a 41% vacancy rate. (Outlook: Los Angeles Office 2013 Q4, Transwestern Market-Research)

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Formed in 1976 by local historians Paul de Falla and William Mason, the Los Angeles City Historical Society serves as a resource for Los Angeles history. The historical society hosts programs, events, and lectures to introduce members and general audiences of Los Angeles’ rich cultural and geographical landscape.

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