It Happened This Week in L.A. History: Los Angeles Was Established

On September 4, 1781, 44 settlers from Mexico established El Pueblo de la Reyna de Los Angeles

September 4, 1781

El Pueblo de la Reyna de Los Angeles—or the city of Los Angeles as we know it today—was founded by 44 settlers from Mexico known as Los Pobladores. The area, long home to the Tongva people, had been described by Father Juan Crespi, a missionary and explorer, as a perfect settlement site.

The original settlers were members of 11 families, the majority of which came to the area from the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora. According to records, 26 of the 44 settlers were of African or mixed Spanish and African heritage.

Los Angeles remained a small ranch town until the early 1800s, when the population surpassed 500. It was officially recognized as a municipality in 1850, a few months after California became a state.