Los Ángeles fue fundada el 4 de septiembre de 1781 por 44 españoles con el nombre oficial de El Pueblo de la Reina de los Ángeles, simplificación del anterior, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula. Dicho nombre derivaba de la tradición franciscana, la Porciúncula (literalmente "pequeña porción") es el nombre coloquial de la primera capilla restaurada por San Francisco de Asís, Fray Junípero Sierra y los primeros misioneros de California pertenecían, en efecto, a la Orden Franciscana.
La ciudad se asienta en una región árida semidesértica y con escasas reservas de agua.
Durante las primeras décadas de su historia sólo fue un pueblo de tránsito. Cuando EEUU realizó la compra de Louisiana en 1803, la joven nación se hizo propietaria de un territorio ambiguamente especificado. La situación generó que el gobierno de los EEUU se sintiera de hecho propietario de todos los territorios poco poblados que llegaban hasta la costa oeste de Norteamérica.
En las primeras décadas del siglo XIX se desarrollaron diferentes exploraciones en dichos territorios, pero sólo fue a mediados de ese siglo cuando se vivió la llamada "fiebre del oro", que dio lugar a una migración masiva de población estadounidense y de inmigrantes europeos y chinos a la costa oeste, dentro del fenómeno conocido como la "conquista del Oeste".
Inicialmente la ciudad predominante en la región fue San Francisco, pero desde finales del siglo XIX Los Ángeles fue cobrando cada vez más importancia.
Los Ángeles a partir del siglo XX
La construcción de represas que lleva el agua de diferentes ríos retirados del núcleo urbano, ocasionó el rápido crecimiento de la ciudad que a comienzos del siglo XX contaba 100.000 habitantes. El establecimiento de la industria cinematográfica en Los Ángeles durante los años 1910 impulsó de manera insospechada el desarrollo de la ciudad, sirviendo de residencia para la élite del espectáculo estadounidense, que se estableció principalmente en el exclusivo sector de Hollywood.
Con la construcción de la Presa Hoover, el suministro abundante de agua se vio garantizado, de esta manera el antiguo desierto se transformó en la ciudad más extendida territorialmente de todo el país, alcanzando una población que supera actualmente los 15 millones de habitantes incluyendo las áreas periféricas.
Su relativa cercanía a la frontera con México ha propiciado una masiva inmigración proveniente de dicho país, hasta el punto de que más de un tercio de la población de la ciudad es de origen mexicano.
Con el paso del tiempo se han formado guetos que en 1992 sirvieron de germen para la peor cadena de disturbios de la Historia de los Estados Unidos. El detonante fue una grabación de vídeo que mostraba a policías blancos golpeando a un ciudadano afroamericano. Cerca de 60 personas murieron en los enfrentamientos.
En 1994 un terremoto produjo la muerte de casi un centenar de personas y dañó gravemente el complejo sistema de autopistas de la ciudad. Toda esta región se ve sacudida por movimientos sísmicos con regularidad, debido a que se encuentra sobre la llamada "falla de San Andrés".
Año - Población
1800 - 315
1830 - 770
1850 - 1.610
1870 - 5.730
1880 - 11.200
1890 - 50.400
1900 - 102.500
1910 - 319.200
1920 - 576.700
1930 - 1.238.048
1940 - 1.504.277
1950 - 1.970.358
1960 - 2.479.015
1970 - 2.816.061
1980 - 2.966.850
1990 - 3.485.398
2000 - 3.694.820
2005 - 3,844,829
2007 - 4,018,080

Information about Los Angeles California


"Los Angeles" and "L.A." redirect here. For other uses, see Los Angeles (disambiguation) and La.
Los Angeles—often abbreviated to L.A.—is the largest city in the state of California and the second-largest in the United States in terms of population. It is an alpha world city having a population of over 4 million people[1] and spanning 469.1 square miles (1214.9 square kilometers). The Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana metropolitan area is home to 12.9 million people.[2] The Greater Los Angeles Area encompasses a much larger area, consisting of 5 counties.
Los Angeles was founded in 1781 by Felipe de Neve. It was a part of Spain then Mexico, when Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, until 1848, when Mexico ceded California to the United States by treaty at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War. It was not incorporated as a municipality until April 4, 1850—five months before California achieved statehood. It is the county seat of Los Angeles County.
Los Angeles is one of the world's centers of culture, science, technology, international trade, and higher education, and is home to world-renowned institutions in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. The city and its immediate surrounding vicinity lead the world in producing popular entertainment—such as motion picture, television, and recorded music—which forms the base of Los Angeles's international fame and global status.
History
The Los Angeles coastal area was inhabited by the Tongva (or Gabrieleños), Chumash, and earlier Native American nations for thousands of years. The first Europeans to arrive came in 1542, led by João Cabrilho, a Portuguese explorer who claimed the area as the City of God for the Spanish Empire but did not stay. The next contact came 227 years later when Gaspar de Portolà, together with Franciscan padre Juan Crespi, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769.
In 1771, Father Junípero Serra had the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel built near Whittier Narrows in what is now called San Gabriel Valley.[3] On September 4, 1781, a group of 52 settlers from New Spain, which were predominantly of African descent, set out from the San Gabriel mission to establish a settlement along the banks of the Porciúncula River[4] (now Los Angeles River). These settlers were of Filipino,[5]Indian and Spanish ancestry, of whom two-thirds were mestizo or mulatto .[6]
In 1777, the new governor of California, Felipe de Neve, recommended to the viceroy of New Spain that the site be developed into a pueblo (town). The area was duly named "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula," ("The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels on the River Porciúncula"). It remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820 the population had increased to about 650 residents, making it the largest civilian (non-mission) community in Spanish California. Today the outline of the Pueblo is preserved in a historic monument familiarly called Olvera Street, formerly Wine Street, which was named after Agustin Olvera.
New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, and the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico. Mexican rule ended during the Mexican-American War, when Americans took control from the Californios after a series of defensive battles that included the Siege of Los Angeles, the Battle of San Pascual, the Battle of Dominguez Rancho, and ultimately, the Battle of Rio San Gabriel and the Battle of La Mesa in 1847. The Treaty of Cahuenga, signed on January 13, 1847, ended the war in California. Later, with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, the Mexican government formally ceded Alta California and other territories to the United States. Europeans and Americans solidified control over the city after they immigrated into California during the California Gold Rush and secured the subsequent admission of California into the United States in 1850.
Railroads arrived when the Southern Pacific completed its line to Los Angeles in 1876. Oil was discovered in 1892, and by 1923 Los Angeles was supplying one-quarter of the world's petroleum. Even more important to the city's growth was water. In 1913, led by William Mulholland, the aqueduct's completion assured the city's growth. In 1915, the City of Los Angeles began annexation of dozens of neighboring communities without water supplies of their own. The 1974 motion picture Chinatown presents a fictionalized account of the Owens Valley Water War.
In the 1920s the motion picture and aviation industries both flocked to Los Angeles and helped with its further development. The city was the proud host of the 1932 Summer Olympics which saw the development of Baldwin Hills as the original Olympic Village. This period also saw the arrival of the exiles from the increasing pre-war tension in Europe, including such notables as Thomas Mann, Fritz Lang, Bertolt Brecht, Arnold Schoenberg, and Lion Feuchtwanger. World War II brought new growth and prosperity to the city, although many of its Japanese-American residents were transported to internment camps for the duration of the war. The post-war years saw an even greater boom as urban sprawl expanded the city into the San Fernando Valley.
The Watts riots in 1965 and Chicano High School "blowouts" along with the 1970 Chicano Moratorium showed the nation the deep racial divisions that existed in the city. In 1969, Los Angeles was one of two birthplaces of the Internet, as the first ARPANET transmission was sent from UCLA to SRI in Menlo Park. Los Angeles was one of the first cities to pass a gay rights bill in the 1970s and the first since the early 1980s where AIDS was discovered.
The XXIII Olympiad was hosted in Los Angeles. In the mid-late 1980s Los Angeles was the "capital" of the heavy metal music scene. The city was once again tested by the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and in 2002, the attempted secession by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood sections of the city, both of which were defeated at the polls. Urban redevelopment and gentrification have been taking place in various parts of the city, most notably Downtown.
Geography
Topography
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 498.3 square miles (1,290.6 km²)—469.1 square miles (1,214.9 km²) of it is land and 29.2 square miles (75.7 km²) of it is water.
The city extends for 44 miles (71 km) north-to-south at the longest point and similarly in the east-west direction for 29 miles (47 km). The perimeter of the city boundary is 342 miles (550 km). The land area is the 9th largest among cities in the Continental United States.
The highest point in Los Angeles is Sister Elsie Peak (5,080 feet or 1,548 meters) at the far reaches of the northeastern San Fernando Valley, part of Mt. Lukens. The Los Angeles River is a largely seasonal river flowing through the city, with headwaters in the San Fernando Valley. Its length is almost entirely lined in concrete.
The Los Angeles area is remarkably rich in native plant species. With its beaches, dunes, wetlands, hills, mountains, and rivers, the area contains a number of important biological communities. The most prevalent of these is coastal sage scrub, which covers the hillsides in combustible chaparral. Native plants include: California poppy, matilija poppy, toyon, coast live oak, giant wild rye grass, and hundreds of others. Unfortunately, many of these native species, such as the Los Angeles sunflower, have become so rare as to be considered endangered.
There are many exotic flowers and flowering trees that bloom year-round, with subtle colors, including the jacaranda, hibiscus, phlox, bougainvillea, coral tree blossoms and bird of paradise. If there were no city here, flower-growing could still flourish as an industry, as it does in Lompoc. Wisteria has been known to grow to house-lot size, and in Descanso Gardens there are forests of camellia trees. Orchids require special attention in this Mediterranean climate.
Geology
Los Angeles is subject to earthquakes due to its location in the Pacific "Ring of Fire". The geographic instability produces numerous fault lines above ground such as the San Andreas Fault and many underground ones. The most recent major earthquake, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which was centered in the northern San Fernando Valley was triggered by an underground fault line. Coming less than two years after the 1992 riots, the Northridge earthquake was an emotional shock to Southern Californians, and caused physical damage totalling billions of dollars. Other major earthquakes in the Los Angeles area include the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, the 1971 Sylmar earthquake, and the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Nevertheless, most earthquakes are of relatively low intensity. Many areas in Los Angeles witness one or two minor earthquakes per year, usually inflicting little or no damage. Imperceptible quakes are detected by seismometers on a daily basis. Parts of the city are also vulnerable to Pacific Ocean tsunamis; harbor areas were damaged by waves from the Great Chilean Earthquake in 1960.
Climate
The city is situated in a Mediterranean climate zone (Koppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csa inland), experiencing mild, reasonably wet winters and warm to hot, mildly humid summers. Generally the weather is dry in all seasons, but can be cool in the winter. Breezes from the Pacific Ocean tend to keep the beach communities of the Los Angeles area cooler in summer and warmer in winter than those further inland, and summer temperatures can sometimes be as much as 25 °F (14 °C) warmer in the inland communities compared to that of the coastal communities. The coastal communities of Los Angeles are commonly affected by a phenomenon known as a "marine layer," a dense cloud cover caused by the proximity of the ocean, that helps keep the temperatures cooler throughout the year.
Temperatures in the summer can get well over 90 °F (32 °C), but average summer daytime highs are 73 °F (23 °C), with overnight lows of 61 °F (19 °C). Winter daytime high temperatures will get up to around 65 °F (18 °C), on average, with overnight lows of 45 °F (7 °C) and during this season rain is common. The median temperature in January is 58.3 °F (14.6 °C) and 74.3 °F (23.5 °C) in July. The highest temperature recorded within city borders was 119.0 °F (48.33 °C) in Woodland Hills on July 22, 2006;[9] the lowest temperature recorded was 18.0 °F (-7.8 °C) in 1989, in Canoga Park. The highest temperature ever recorded for Downtown Los Angeles was 112.0 °F (44.4 °C) on June 26, 1990, and the lowest temperature ever recorded was 24.0 °F (-5.0 °C) on January 9, 1937.
Rain occurs mainly in the winter and spring months (February being the wettest month) with great annual variations in storm severity. Los Angeles averages 15 inches (381 mm) of precipitation per year. Snow is extraordinarily rare in the city basin, but the mountainous slopes within city limits typically receive snow every year. The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2.0 inches (5 cm) on January 15, 1932.[10] With weather permitting, it is possible to snow ski and surf on the same day in the Los Angeles area.
Environmental issues
Due to the city's geography, which makes it susceptible to atmospheric inversion, heavy reliance on automobiles as a major form of transportation, and the L.A./Long Beach port complex, the city suffers from air pollution in the form of smog. The Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley hold in the fumes from automobiles, diesel trucks, shipping, and locomotive engines, as well as manufacturing and other sources. In addition, the groundwater is increasingly threatened by MTBE from gas stations and perchlorate from rocket fuel. Unlike other large cities that rely on rain to clear smog, Los Angeles only gets 15 inches (381 mm) of rain each year, so the smog is able to accumulate over multiple consecutive days. This has brought much attention from the state of California to explore low emissions vehicles. As a result, pollution levels have dropped in recent decades. The number of Stage 1 smog alerts has declined from over 100 per year in the 1970s to almost zero in the new millennium. Despite this success, the 2006 annual report of the American Lung Association ranks the city as the most polluted in the country with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution.[12][13] Smog from the basin is pushed towards the mountains, where the pollutants harm trees. However, the city is taking even more aggressive steps to improve air quality.
Cityscape
The city is divided into many neighborhoods, many of which were towns that were annexed by the growing city. There are also several independent cities in and around Los Angeles, but they are popularly grouped with the city of Los Angeles, either due to being completely engulfed as enclaves by Los Angeles, or lying within its immediate vicinity.
Generally, the city is divided into the following areas: Downtown L.A., East L.A., South Los Angeles, the Harbor Area, Hollywood, Wilshire, the Westside, and the San Fernando and Crescenta valleys.
Some well-known communities of Los Angeles include Venice Beach, the Downtown Financial District, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Hollywood, Hancock Park, Koreatown, and the extremely affluent areas of Bel-Air, Hollywood Hills, Pacific Palisades, and Brentwood.
Landmarks
Important landmarks in Los Angeles include Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Disney Concert Hall, Kodak Theater, Griffith Observatory, Getty Center, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mann's Chinese Theater, Hollywood sign, Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles City Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Watts Towers, Staples Center and La Placita Olvera, the birthplace of Los Angeles.
Culture
The people of Los Angeles are known as Angelenos. Nighttime hot spots include places such as Downtown Los Angeles, Silver Lake, Hollywood, and West Hollywood, which is the home of the world-famous Sunset Strip.
Some well-known shopping areas are the Hollywood and Highland complex, the Beverly Center, Melrose Avenue, Robertson Boulevard, The Grove, Westside Pavillion, The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center and Venice Boardwalk.
Sports
Los Angeles is the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim also of Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Club Deportivo Chivas USA of Major League Soccer, the Los Angeles Riptide of Major League Lacrosse, and the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League. Los Angeles is also home to USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins in the NCAA, both of which are Division I teams part of the Pacific 10 Conference. UCLA has more NCAA national championships, all sports combined, than any other university in America. USC has the second most NCAA national championships, all sports combined, in the United States. There is currently no NFL franchise in the Los Angeles Market, which is the second-largest television market in North America. However, for the past several years, several billionaire entrepreneurs have shown interest in returning football to L.A., with meetings both with the city and the NFL. Prior to 1995, the Rams called Memorial Coliseum (1946-1979) and Anaheim Stadium (1980-1994) home;[16] and the Raiders played their home games at Memorial Coliseum from 1982 to 1994.[17] The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Anaheim Ducks are both based in nearby Anaheim.
Beach volleyball and windsurfing were both invented in the area (though predecessors of both were invented in some form by Duke Kahanamoku in Hawaii). Venice, also known as Dogtown, is credited with being the birthplace of skateboarding and the place where Rollerblading first became popular. Area beaches are popular with surfers, who have created their own subculture.
Los Angeles has twice played host to the summer Olympic Games, in 1932 and in 1984. When the tenth Olympic Games were hosted in 1932, the former 10th Street was renamed Olympic Blvd. The 1984 Summer Olympics inspired the creation of the Los Angeles Marathon, which has been held every year in March since 1986. Super Bowls I and VII were also held in the city as well as soccer's international World Cup in 1994. Los Angeles applied to represent the USOC in international bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics, but lost to Chicago.
The Los Angeles area contains varied topography, notably the hills and mountains rising around the metropolis, making Los Angeles the only major city in the United States bisected by a mountain range; four mountain ranges extend into city boundaries. Thousands of miles of trails crisscross the city and neighboring areas, providing opportunities for exercise and wilderness access on foot, bike, or horse. Across the county a great variety of outdoor activities are available, such as skiing, rock climbing, gold panning, hang gliding, and windsurfing. Numerous outdoor clubs serve these sports, including the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, which leads over 4,000 outings annually in the area.
Los Angeles also boasts a number of sports venues, including the Staples Center, a sports and entertainment complex that also hosts concerts and awards shows such as the Grammys. The Staples Center also serves as the home arena for the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA, the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, and the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL.
As a whole, the Los Angeles area has more national championships, all sports combined (college and professional), than any other city in the United States, with over four times as many championships as the entire state of Texas, and just over twice that of New York City.
Religion
Los Angeles is home to adherents of many religions, and has over 100 Christian denominations, with Roman Catholicism being the largest due to the high numbers of Hispanic, Filipino, and Irish Americans.
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles leads the largest archdiocese in the country. Roger Cardinal Mahony oversaw construction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, completed in 2002 at the north end of downtown.
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 district of Los Angeles. Dedicated in 1956, it was the first Mormon temple built in California. The grounds includes a visitors' center open to the public, the Los Angeles Regional Family History Center, also open to the public, and the headquarters for the Los Angeles mission.
Los Angeles is home to the second largest population of Jews in the United States. Many synagogues of the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist movements can be found throughout the city. Most are located in the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles. The area in West LA around Fairfax and Pico Boulevards contains a large amount of Orthodox Jews. The oldest synagogue in Los Angeles is the Breed Street Shul in East Los Angeles, which is being renovated.
The Azusa Street Revival (1906–1909) in Los Angeles was a key milestone in the history of the Pentecostal movement, not long after Christian Fundamentalism received its name and crucial promotion in Los Angeles. In 1909, the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (B.I.O.L.A., now Biola University) published and widely distributed a set of books called The Fundamentals, which presented a defense of the traditional conservative interpretation of the Bible. The term fundamentalism is derived from these books.
In the 1920s, Aimee Semple McPherson established a thriving evangelical ministry, with her Angelus Temple in Echo Park open to both black and white church members of the Foursquare Church. Billy Graham became a celebrity during a successful revival campaign in Los Angeles in 1949. Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God used to have its headquarters in nearby Pasadena, now in Glendale. Until his death in 2005, Dr. Gene Scott was based near downtown. The Metropolitan Community Church, a fellowship of Christian congregations with a focus on outreach to gays and lesbians, was started in Los Angeles in 1968 by Troy Perry. Jack Chick, of "Chick Tracts," was born in Boyle Heights and lived in the area most of his life.
Because of Los Angeles' large multi-ethnic population, there are numerous organizations in the area representing a wide variety of faiths, including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Bahá'í, various Eastern Orthodox Churches, Sufism and others. Immigrants from Asia for example, have formed a number of significant Buddhist congregations making the city home to the biggest variety of Buddhists in the world. Los Angeles currently has the largest Buddhist population in the United States. There are over 300 temples in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has been a destination for Swamis and Gurus since as early as 1900, including Paramahansa Yogananda (1920). The Self-Realization Fellowship is headquartered in Hollywood and has a private park in Pacific Palisades. Los Angeles is the home to a number of Neopagans, as well as adherents of various other mystical religions. One wing of the Theosophist movement is centered in Los Angeles, and another is in neighboring Pasadena. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi founded the Transcendental Meditation movement in Los Angeles in the late 1950s. The Kabbalah Centre is in the city. The Church of Scientology has had a presence in Los Angeles since it opened February 18, 1954, and it has several churches, museums, and recruiting sites in the area, most notably the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood, in fact the world's largest community of Scientologists can be found in LA.
Economy
The economy of Los Angeles is driven by international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, recorded music), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. Los Angeles is also the largest manufacturing center in the United States.[18] The contiguous ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together comprise the most significant port in North America and one of the most important ports in the world, and they are vital to trade within the Pacific Rim.[18] Other significant industries include media production, finance, telecommunications, law, health and medicine, and transportation.
For many years, up until the mid-1990s, Los Angeles was home to many major financial institutions in the western United States, including First Interstate Bank, which merged with Wells-Fargo in 1996, Great Western Bank, merged with Washington Mutual in 1998, and Security Pacific National Bank, which merged with Bank of America in 1992. Los Angeles was also home to the Pacific Stock Exchange until it closed in 2001.
The city is home to five major Fortune 500 companies, including aerospace contractor Northrop Grumman, energy company Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and homebuilding company KB Home. The University of Southern California (USC) is the city's largest private sector employer.
Other companies headquartered in Los Angeles include Twentieth Century Fox, Latham & Watkins, Univision, Metro Interactive, LLC, Premier America, CB Richard Ellis, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Guess?, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, Tokyopop, The Jim Henson Company, Paramount Pictures, Robinsons-May, Sunkist, Fox Sports Net, Health Net, Inc., 21st Century Insurance, L.E.K. Consulting, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
The metropolitan area contains the headquarters of even more companies, many of whom wish to escape the city's high taxes.[20] For example, Los Angeles charges a gross receipts tax based on a percentage of business revenue, while many neighboring cities charge only small flat fees.[21] The companies below benefit from their proximity to Los Angeles, while at the same time avoiding the city's taxes (and other problems). Some of the major companies headquartered in the cities of Los Angeles county are Shakey's Pizza (Alhambra), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Beverly Hills), City National Bank (Beverly Hills), Hilton Hotels (Beverly Hills), DiC Entertainment (Burbank), The Walt Disney Company (Fortune 500 – Burbank), Warner Bros. (Burbank), Countrywide Financial Corporation (Fortune 500 – Calabasas), THQ (Calabasas), Belkin (Compton), Sony Pictures Entertainment (parent of Columbia Pictures, located in Culver City), Computer Sciences Corporation (Fortune 500 – El Segundo), DirecTV (El Segundo), Mattel (Fortune 500 – El Segundo), Unocal (Fortune 500 – El Segundo), DreamWorks SKG (Glendale), Sea Launch (Long Beach), ICANN (Marina Del Rey), Cunard Line (Santa Clarita), Princess Cruises (Santa Clarita), Activision (Santa Monica), and RAND (Santa Monica). The L.A. area is also home to the U.S. headquarters of all but two of the major Asian automobile manufacturers (Nissan North America is in the process of relocating its headquarters from Gardena to the Nashville area, and Subaru's U.S. operations are based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey). Further, virtually all the world's automakers have design and/or tech centers in the L.A. region.
Downtown Los Angeles is also the home of the Los Angeles Convention Center which hosts many popular events including the annual LA Auto Show in December.
Demographics
2000 census
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 3,694,820 people, 1,275,412 households, and 798,407 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,876.8 people per square mile (3,041.3/km²). There were 1,337,706 housing units at an average density of 2,851.8 per square mile (1,101.1/km²).
The racial makeup of the city was 46.9% White, 12.0% African American, 10.0% Asian, 1.0% Native American, 25.9% from other races, and 5.2% from two or more races. 46.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race and 29.7% were White, not of Latino/Hispanic origins.[22]
There were 2,275,412 households of which 33.5% had children under 18, 41.9% were married couples, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 28.5% of households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size 3.56.
The age distribution was: 26.6% under 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32. For every 100 females there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.5 males.
The median income for a household was $36,687, and for a family was $39,942. Males had a median income of $31,880, females $30,197. The per capita income was $20,671. 22.1% of the population and 18.3% of families were below the poverty line. 30.3% of those under the age of 18 and 12.6% of those aged 65 or older were below the poverty line.
It is also of interest to note that the post-1950 population increase did not occur exclusively in suburban or peripheral locations. While many other American cities have experienced central area population declines, the opposite has has been true here. The increase in the central area population is due, in part, to Los Angeles' large immigrant population.
In the period from 1920 to 1960, African Americans from the Southeast U.S. arrived in Los Angeles and its population grew 15 times. Since 1990, the African American population dropped in half as its middle class relocated to the suburbs, notably the Antelope Valley and Inland Empire and Latinos have moved into the once predominantly African American district of South Los Angeles. African Americans still remain predominant in some portions of the city, including Hyde Park, Crenshaw District, Leimert Park, and Baldwin Hills (as well as neighboring View Park-Windsor Hills and Ladera Heights) which is considered to be one of the wealthiest majority-black neighborhoods in the United States. Los Angeles still has the largest African-American community of any city in the western United States. National origins Of 2,182,114 U.S.-born people, 1,485,576 were born in California, 663,746 were born in a different state of the United States, and 61,792 were born in a United States territory. Of 1,512,720 foreign born people, 100,252 were born in Europe, 376,767 were born in Asia, 64,730 were born in Africa, 94,104 were born in Caribbean/Oceania, 996,996 were born in Latin America, and 13,859 were born in Canada. Of such foreign-born people, 569,771 entered between 1990 to March 2000. 509,841 are naturalized citizens and 1,002,879 are not citizens. By the next national census, Los Angeles is expected to have a Latino majority for the first time since 1850. The city has the second largest foreign-born population of any major U.S. city, after Miami. The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the number one entry for immigrants in the country. The Hispanic (Mexico, Central America and South America), Asian American, and Caribbean populations are growing particularly quickly — the Asian-American population is the largest of any U.S. city, which contains the largest concentration of Los Angeles County's 1.4 million Asians. Los Angeles hosts the largest populations of Cambodians, Iranians, Armenians, Belizeans, Bulgarians, Ethiopians, Filipinos, Guatemalans, Hungarians, Koreans, Israelis,Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, Thais, and Pacific Islanders such as Samoans in both the U.S. and world outside of their respective countries. Los Angeles is also home to the largest populations of Japanese living in the United States, and has one of the largest Native American populations in the country. It is also home to the second largest concentration of Russians and people of Jewish descent in the Americas, after New York City. Los Angeles experienced minor waves of European immigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s and the city has sizeable populations of German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Romanian, Polish, Portuguese, Serb, Spanish, Croatian and Ukrainian descent. Los Angeles is home to people from more than 140 countries speaking at least 224 different languages. Ethnic enclaves like Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Little Persia, Little Tokyo, and Thai Town provide examples of the polyglot character of Los Angeles.
Year - Population
1800 - 315
1830 - 770
1850 - 1.610
1870 - 5.730
1880 - 11.200
1890 - 50.400
1900 - 102.500
1910 - 319.200
1920 - 576.700
1930 - 1.238.048
1940 - 1.504.277
1950 - 1.970.358
1960 - 2.479.015
1970 - 2.816.061
1980 - 2.966.850
1990 - 3.485.398
2000 - 3.694.820
2005 - 3,844,829
2007 - 4,018,080
Government
The city is governed by a mayor-council system. The current mayor is Antonio Villaraigosa. There are 15 city council districts. Other elected city officials include the City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and the City Controller Laura Chick. The city attorney prosecutes misdemeanors within the city limits. The district attorney, elected by county voters, prosecutes misdemeanors in unincorporated areas and in 78 of the 88 cities in the county, as well as felonies throughout the county.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) polices the city of Los Angeles, but the city also maintains three specialized police agencies; The Office of Public Safety, within the General Services Department (which is responsible for security and law enforcement services at city facilities throughout the city, including City Hall, city parks and libraries, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the Convention Center), the Port Police, within the Harbor Department (which is responsible for land, air and sea law enforcement services at the Port of Los Angeles), and the Airport Police, within the Los Angeles World Airports Department (which is responsible for law enforcement services at all four city-owned airports, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Ontario International Airport (ONT), Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD), and Van Nuys Airport (VNY), the busiest general aviation airport in the country).
LAPL, Los Angeles Public Library System and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are among the largest such institutions in the country. LAUSD is the second largest school district in the United States; only the New York City Department of Education is larger. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power provides service to city residents and businesses.
The city government has been perceived as inefficient and ineffective by residents of some areas, which led to an unsuccessful secession effort by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood in 2002. The campaign to defeat secession was led by then Mayor James Hahn. The most common complaint is that the city administration in Downtown gives priority to high-density neighborhoods like Mid-City and Downtown at the expense of its far-flung suburban neighborhoods.
As the city does not have officially named districts, most areas and neighborhoods are known either by the names given by tract developers when first developed, or by the names of principal neighborhood streets, or by the names of the formerly independent communities that were annexed by the city.
Neighborhood councils
To promote public participation in government and make government more responsive to local needs, voters created neighborhood councils in the Charter Reform of 1999. The councils were first proposed by City Council member Joel Wachs in 1996 and continue to be hotly contested ten years later.
The councils cover districts which are not necessarily identical to the traditional neighborhoods of Los Angeles, the borders of which often reflect those of cities that were annexed to Los Angeles.
86 neighborhood councils (NCs) are certified and all "stakeholders" – meaning anyone who lives, works or owns property in a neighborhood – may vote for council members. Participation in NC elections has, for the most part, been proportionally as narrow as in city, state and federal elections.
Though the councils are strictly advisory and have little actual power, they are still official government bodies and so must abide by California's Brown Act, which strictly governs the meetings of deliberative assemblies. These and other regulatory requirements have proven frustrating for some activists unaccustomed to bureaucratic procedures. For those with organizing experience, or the administrative ability to overcome regulatory hurdles, the councils have been effective advocates for community interests.
The first notable achievement of the neighborhood councils collectively was their organized opposition, in March 2004, to an 18% increase in water rates by the Department of Water and Power (a municipal monopoly). This led the City Council to approve only a limited increase pending independent review. More recently, the councils petitioned the City Council in Summer, 2006 to allow them to independently introduce ideas for legislative action, but the City Council voted to to study the idea further, despite 18 months of committee hearings.
As Mayor, James Hahn provided each council with $50,000 for any project of its choice and an additional $100,000 for street improvements in its neighborhood. These financial commitments have been maintained by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Crime
The COMPSTAT unit of the LAPD tabulates Part I offenses (violent and property crimes) committed in the city. Los Angeles has been experiencing significant decline in Part I offenses since the mid-1990s, and hit a record low in 2005, with 43,231 acts of violence, of which 487 were homicides. Criminality peaked in 1992 with 72,667 recorded acts of violence — of which 1,096 were homicides — and 245,129 recorded property crimes. The distribution of homicides in the city is uneven with nearly half of them occurring in the four stations of the South Bureau of the LAPD encompassing South Los Angeles and the Harbor area. A further quarter occur in the areas covered by the Central Bureau which covers Downtown and its environs. Property crimes were three times more common than violent crimes; 110,231 were recorded in 2005. The LAPD makes live crime statistics available on the LAPD crimestats and epolice web site.
Los Angeles has a total crime index lower than that of San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta as of 2006. Among the largest cities in the United States, only New York City has a lower overall crime rate.
Many movies and songs about Los Angeles depict the notion that the city is home to a large number of gangsters and professional criminals. According to a May 2001 Drug Threat Assessment by the National Drug Intelligence Center, Los Angeles County is home to 152,000 gang members organized into 1,350 gangs.[23] Among the most infamous are the Crips, Bloods, 18th Street, Florencia 13, and MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha). This has led to the city being referred to as the "Gang Capital of America."[24] Car chases happen more often than in most other major cities, with the city's complex freeway system allowing for lengthier pursuits. Other automobile-oriented crimes include: car-to-car shootings, drive-by shootings, hit-and-run accidents, and carjackings
Transportation
Los Angeles has one of the largest freeway systems in the world, with 27 intertwining freeways handling millions of commuters as they journey a daily collective migration of about 100 million miles (160 million km). Los Angeles is the most car-populated metropolis in the world with 1 registered automobile for every 1.8 people.[
Rail transport
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other agencies operate an extensive system of bus lines, as well as subway and light rail lines. True to reputation, Los Angeles' mass transit system does not have high ridership, with 10.5% of commuters using public transit,[26] compared with 53% and 30% in New York and Chicago respectively. The rail system averages 276,900 trips a day, 0.4% of the 65 million commutes daily.[27] This compares with ridership of 699,599 trips for Washington DC's Metrorail's subway,[28] 664,700 trips for Boston's subway T, the city of Chicago's L with 644,200, and New York City's 6.0 million average daily weekday trips taken.[29] Adding in trips taken by bus raises this number to about 1.7 million.[30] The rail system includes the Red and Purple subway lines, as well as the Gold, Blue, and Green light rail lines. The Orange Line, although a bus rapid transit line rather than a rail line, is usually considered part of the system. The special red Metro Rapid buses have also been highly touted as a prime example of a successful bus transit program since these buses operate like a rail line and run through the best-known parts of the city. However, during rush hour, they are apt to get mired in gridlock along with other vehicles, and the traffic signal holding or changing capability is of little help.
An extension of the Gold line running from Downtown to East Los Angeles is currently under construction, and is expected to open in late 2009. A second extension from Pasadena into the foothills is being considered. Also in the works is the new Expo Line, which will run from Downtown into Culver City. Construction of this line is expected to finish in the summer of 2010. Plans of a second phase extending the line into Santa Monica are currently being assessed. Momentum is slowly building to extend the Purple line under Wilshire Boulevard all the way to the ocean in Santa Monica, extending the city's public transportation system further. Rail passenger service is provided by Amtrak and Metrolink from historic Union Station. Rail shipping is handled by Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway.
Air transport
The Los Angeles metropolitan area is served by more airports than any major city in the world, with 5 major commercial airports, and many more general-aviation airports. The main Los Angeles airport is Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX, ICAO: KLAX). The fifth busiest commercial airport in the world, LAX handled over 61 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo in 2006.[31]
Other major nearby commercial airports include:
L.A./Ontario International Airport (IATA: ONT, ICAO: KONT), owned by the city of Los Angeles.
Bob Hope Airport (IATA: BUR, ICAO: KBUR), formerly known as Burbank Airport
Long Beach Municipal Airport (IATA: LGB, ICAO: KLGB)
John Wayne Airport (IATA: SNA, ICAO: KSNA) of Orange County.
Palmdale Regional Airport (IATA: PMD, ICAO: KPMD) is owned by the city of Los Angeles and serves the northern outlying communities of the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley's.
Los Angeles also has the world's busiest general-aviation airport, Van Nuys Airport (IATA: VNY, ICAO: KVNY).
Harbors
The sea ports of the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach together make up the Los Angeles – Long Beach Harbor, the busiest and overall third-largest container shipping port in the world. There are also smaller, non-industrial harbors along L.A.'s coastline. Most of these like Redondo Beach and Marina del Rey are used primarily by sailboats and yachts.

History of Los Angeles County
The area comprising present-day Los Angeles County was first explored by Europeans in 1769 when Gaspar de Portola and a group of missionaries camped on what is now the banks of the Los Angeles River. A member of the party, Friar Juan Crespi, suggested the area be named “Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles de la Porciuncula” (Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula).
In September 1771, Father Junipero Serra and a group of Spaniards founded the San Gabriel Mission as the center of the first "community" in an area inhabited by small bands of Gabrielino Indians. Ten years later the Pobladores, a group of 11 families recruited from Mexico by Capt. Rivera y Moncada, traveled from the San Gabriel Mission to a spot selected by Alta California Gov. Felipe de Neve to establish a new pueblo. The settlement was named El Pueblo de la Reyna de Los Angeles (The Pueblo of the Queen of the Angels). In its early years, the town was a small, isolated cluster of adobe-brick houses and random streets carved out of the desert, and its main product was grain. Over time, the area became known as the Ciudad de Los Angeles, "City of Angels."
In September 1797, the Franciscan monks established the San Fernando Mission Rey de Espana in the northern San Fernando Valley.
Although the Spanish government placed a ban on trading with foreign ships, American vessels began arriving in the early 1800s, and the first English-speaking inhabitant settled in the area in 1818. He was a carpenter named Joseph Chapman, who helped build the church facing the town's central plaza, a structure that still stands. California was ruled by Spain until 1822, when Mexico assumed jurisdiction. As a result, trade with the United States became more frequent. The ocean waters off the coast of California were important for whaling and seal hunting, and a number of trading ships docked at nearby San Pedro to buy cattle hides and tallow. By the 1840s, Los Angeles was the largest town in Southern California.
After a two-year period of hostilities with Mexico beginning in 1846, the area came under U.S. control. The Treaty of Cahuenga, signed in 1847, ended the war in California, followed by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 adding Los Angeles and the rest of California to American territory.
GOLD RUSH AND GROWTH
The annexation of California and the discovery of gold brought adventurers and immigrants alike by the thousands to the West with dreams of “hitting pay dirt.” Contrary to popular belief, California's Gold Rush began in the hills southwest of the Antelope Valley in 1842, when Francisco Lopez, stopping for lunch while searching for stray cattle, pulled some wild onions and found flakes of gold clinging to their roots. The canyon was named Placeritas, meaning "Little Placers," and today is called Placerita Canyon. Gold rushers soon flocked to the canyon and took an estimated $100,000 of gold from the region before heading north to the more exciting and well-known discovery at Sutter's Mill in 1848. A subsequent gold strike in the mountains to the north of Los Angeles provided the town with a booming market for its beef, and many prospectors settled in the area after the Gold Rush. Mining changed the region's history in profound ways, as gold seekers settled permanently in the Antelope Valley during the 1850s and 1860s. The area further grew during the Civil War (1860-1865), as gold, silver, and copper were extracted from the Soledad Canyon region and Fremont's Pass was enlarged to facilitate and speed up ore shipments.
After the Civil War ended, there was a large immigration into the Los Angeles area. Several large Mexican ranches were divided into many small farms, and such places as Compton, Downey, Norwalk, San Fernando, Santa Monica and Pasadena sprang into existence.
During its history, the size of the County has changed substantially. Originally it was 4,340 square miles along the coast between Santa Barbara and San Diego, but grew to 34,520 square miles, sprawling east to the Colorado River. Today, with 4,084 square miles, it is slightly smaller than its original size. The County was divided up three times: Kern County received a large slice in 1851; San Bernardino County split off in 1853; and Orange County was established in 1889.
INCORPORATION
On Feb. 18, 1850, the County of Los Angeles was established as one of the 27 original counties, several months before California was admitted to the Union. The people of Los Angeles County on April 1, 1850 asserted their newly won right of self-government and elected a three-man Court of Sessions as their first governing body. A total of 377 votes were cast in this election. In 1852 the Legislature dissolved the Court of Sessions and created a five-member Board of Supervisors. In 1913 the citizens of Los Angeles County approved a charter recommended by a board of freeholders which gave the County greater freedom to govern itself within the framework of state law.
Soon thereafter Los Angeles, which had been designated as the official “seat” of County government, was incorporated as a city. It had a reputation as one of the toughest towns in the West. "A murder a day" only slightly exaggerated the town's crime problems, and suspected criminals were often hanged by vigilante groups. Lawlessness reached a peak in 1871, when, after a Chinese immigrant accidentally killed a white man, an angry mob stormed into the Chinatown district, murdering 16 people. After that, civic leaders and concerned citizens began a successful campaign to bring law and order to the town.
IMMIGRANTS
Los Angeles and its surrounding territories were built by immigrants. The village of Los Angeles was a fairly cosmopolitan place early on. By the 1850s settlers included English, French, Basques, Spaniards, Mexicans, and Germans, and by the 1870s some 200 Chinese lived in the city as well. During the late 1800s and early 20th Century, foreign immigration to Los Angeles County was varied but continued to be steady. The new immigrants arrived from Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. Distinctive ethnic communities of Japanese, Chinese, Russians, and East European Jews had developed throughout the county by the 1930s.
When the Immigration Act of 1965 opened the door to new immigrants, it initiated dramatic changes in the area. According to the U.S. Census, by 2000 36.2 percent of the residents of Los Angeles County were foreign-born – more than triple the 11.3 percent figure of 1970. The 2000 census showed the area was home to 4.2 million people of Latino/Hispanic origin--only Mexico City had a larger number. A survey taken by the Los Angeles Unified School District that year counted more than 130 different languages represented among school-age children. By 2000 Los Angeles had become the nation’s major immigrant port of entry, supplanting New York City.
RAILROADS AND GROWTH
The coming of the railroads changed everything. The Southern Pacific completed its Los Angeles route in 1880, followed by the Santa Fe Railroad six years later. With a huge investment in their new coast-to-coast rail lines and large Los Angeles land holdings, the railroads set forth a long-term plan for growth. Southern California citrus farming was born. Tourism and the building of towns were promoted to attract investors, to raise land values, and to increase the value of railroad shipments.
In the late 1860s there was a population boom as the marketing to “Go West” caught on. Thousands of tourists and land speculators hurried to Los Angeles County. Lots were bought, sold and traded, and an almost instantly created industry of real estate agents transacted more value in land sales than the county's entire value of only a few years before. The boom proved to be a speculative frenzy that collapsed abruptly in 1889. Many landowners went broke. People in vast numbers abandoned the Los Angeles area, sometimes as many as 3,000 a day. This flight prompted the creation of the chamber of commerce, which began a worldwide advertising campaign to attract new citizens. The county as a whole, however, benefited. The build-up had created several local irrigation districts and numerous civic improvements. In addition, the Los Angeles population had increased from about 11,000 in 1880 to about 60,000 in 1890.
BLACK GOLD
In 1850 the first salable petroleum in California was the oil found at Pico Canyon near San Fernando. But the real boom began in the 1890s, when Edward L. Doheny discovered oil at 2nd Street and Glendale Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. His find set off a “second black gold rush” that lasted several years. Los Angeles became a center of oil production in the early 20th Century. By 1897 the area had 500 derricks, and in 1910 the area near Santa Monica Boulevard and Vermont Avenue was an unruly oil shantytown. Drilling activity in the county reached new heights in the 1920s when major finds were made in Whittier, Montebello, Compton, Torrance, and Inglewood. The largest strikes were in Huntington Beach in 1920, and Santa Fe Springs and Signal Hill in 1921. These three huge fields upset national oil prices and glutted existing storage facilities. By the turn of the century almost 1,500 oil wells operated throughout Los Angeles. Oil production has continued down to the present throughout the Los Angeles Basin; between 1952 and 1988 some 1,000 wells pumped 375 million barrels of oil from these pumps.
AGRICULTURE
In the early 1900s, agriculture became an important part of the economy. The growth in the City of Los Angeles necessitated the annexation of the large San Fernando Valley. For about a half century between San Fernando's 1874 founding and the 1920s, the community was considered an "agricultural gem" set in the San Fernando Valley. An ample and reliable water supply was coupled with a coastal valley climate, in which the community's elevation of about 1,100 feet -- along with its receiving about 12 inches of rain a year -- made it ideal for growing crops.
Cattle ranching was common in the area when missionaries arrived in the late 1700s, but during the next 100 years the landscape became dotted with wheat plantings and fruit trees, whose growth was also aided by the irrigation systems in place from the mission's heyday. By the 1920s, fruit and especially citrus cultivation was San Fernando's biggest industry. The price of land for orange and lemon groves went as high as $5,000 an acre -- as much as eight times more than the cost of other land -- and the city had at least four packing houses with annual shipments of nearly 500 rail cars of oranges and lemons.
Olives also flourished in the Mediterranean-like climate, and the 2,000-acre Sylmar olive grove -- then the world’s largest -- produced 50,000 gallons of olive oil and 200,000 gallons of ripe olives. Other crops grown in the County included alfalfa, apricots, asparagus, barley, hay, beans, beets, cabbage, citrus, corn, lettuce, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, and walnuts. The area also had excellent dairy farms, including the world's largest Guernsey herd in the 1920s. The agricultural output led to other industries such as canning companies, a fruit growers association, and fruit preservers. The agricultural land gave way to development following World War II.
HARBORS AND TRADE
The San Pedro harbor became operational in the late 1840s and became the principal harbor for the trade in the county. The first steamer to visit San Pedro was the Goldhunter in 1849. The construction of a railroad from Los Angeles to the harbor in 1869 gave a fresh impetus to the development of agricultural resources in the county. Later in 1911 the Long Beach harbor was established and the port at San Pedro was also added to give Los Angeles a position in the international trade market.
MOTION PICTURES AND TELEVISION
In 1853 one adobe hut stood on the site that became Hollywood. The first motion picture studio in Hollywood proper was Nestor Film Company, founded in 1911 by Al Christie for David Horsley in an old building on the southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street. By 1930 the motion picture industry was in full swing. The county’s good weather and picturesque locals lent itself to the production of the silent films and “talkies.”
In the 1950s, the advent of television led to the opening of numerous television stations. Movie attendance fell to half its previous level during this time as audiences stayed home to be entertained in their own living rooms. Hollywood’s yearly output in the 1930s had averaged 750 feature films; in the 1950s it was down to about 300 and still falling, despite efforts to win back audiences by installing new stereo sound systems, building wide screens, and employing new such visual techniques as 3-D. By the early 1970s the television and movie industries became interdependent with much crossover from one medium to the other. Today, each medium has found its niche. The Hollywood film has retained its position as the ultimate entertainment, but television has become the major disseminator of popular culture. Los Angeles has remained firmly in charge of American image-making.
Large manufacturing concerns began opening factories during that time, and the need for housing created vast areas of suburban neighborhoods and the beginnings of the area’s massive freeway system. The Depression and the Midwestern drought of the 1930s brought thousands of people to California looking for jobs.
PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS
In order to sustain future growth, the County needed new sources of water. The only local water in Los Angeles was the intermittent Los Angeles River and groundwater replenished by the area's minimal rain. Legitimate concerns about water supply were exploited to gain backing for a huge engineering and legal effort to bring more water to the city and allow more development. Approximately 250 miles northeast of Los Angeles in Inyo County, near the Nevada state line, a long slender desert region known as the Owens Valley had the Owens River, a permanent stream of fresh water fed by the melted snows of the eastern Sierra Nevadas.
Sometime between 1899 and 1903, Los Angeles Times founder Harrison Gray Otis and his son-in-law successor, Harry Chandler, engaged in successful efforts at buying up cheap land on the northern outskirts of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. At the same time they enlisted the help of William Mulholland, chief engineer of the Los Angeles Water Department , and J.B. Lippencott, of the United States Reclamation Service. Lippencott performed water surveys in the Owens Valley for the Reclamation Service while secretly receiving a salary from the City of Los Angeles. He succeeded in persuading Owens Valley farmers and mutual water companies to pool their interests and surrender the water rights to 200,000 acres of land to Fred Eden, Lippencott's agent and a former mayor of Los Angeles. Eden then resigned from the Reclamation Service, took a job with the Los Angeles Water Department as assistant to Mulholland, and turned over the Reclamation Service maps, field surveys and stream measurements to the city. Those studies served as the basis for designing the longest aqueduct in the world.
By July 1905, Chandler's L.A. Times began to warn the voters of Los Angeles that the county would soon dry up unless they voted bonds for building the aqueduct. Artificial drought conditions were created when water was run into the sewers to decrease the supply in the reservoirs and residents were forbidden to water their lawns and gardens. On election day, the people of Los Angeles voted for $22.5 million worth of bonds to build an aqueduct from the Owens River and to defray other expenses of the project. With this money, and with a special act of Congress allowing cities to own property outside their boundaries, the city acquired the land that Eden had acquired from the Owens Valley farmers and started to build the aqueduct, which opened Nov. 5, 1913.
To accommodate its growing population, the County instituted a number of large engineering projects, including the construction of the Hoover Dam, which channeled water to the County from the Colorado River and provided electricity from hydroelectric power. The area's excellent weather made it an ideal location for aircraft testing and construction, and World War II brought hundreds of new industries to the area, boosting the local economy. By the 1950s, Los Angeles County was a sprawling metropolis. It was considered the epitome of everything new and modern in American culture—a combination of super highways, affordable housing, and opportunity for everyone.
Today more than 10 million people call Los Angeles County home, residing in 88 cities and approximately 140 unincorporated areas. It continues to be an industrial and financial giant, and is one of the most cultural and ethnically diverse communities in the world.