Thousands of years ago, the Tongva, or Gabrielenos, and the Chumash Native American tribes settled the coastal area that is now known as Los Angeles. In 1542, the southern area of California was claimed by a Portuguese born explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, for the Spanish Empire. On August 2, 1769, Gaspar de Portola and Juan Crespi, a Franciscan missionary, reached the land that is the present location of Los Angeles.
The first mission in the Los Angeles area, the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, was constructed in 1771 under the direction of Junipero Serra, a Franciscan friar. The Los Pobladores, a group of 44 settlers, founded the ancient community of La Reyna de Los Angeles, which was name for Our Lady Queen of the Angels of the Porciuncula River, Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula, on September 4, 1781. There was an ancestry of African, Amerindian, and European in two thirds of the settlers, making them mestizo or mulatto. The Los Angeles settlement was a small ranch town for decades. By 1820, the population of the town, 650 residents, overcame the ranch town. In the oldest part of Los Angeles, the ancient community is commemorated in Los Angeles's Pueblo Plaza and at Olvera Street.
In 1821, independence from the Spanish Empire was achieved by New Spain. The ancient community continued to be a part of Mexico. Los Angeles was made Alta California's regional capital by Governor Pio Pico during the Mexican rule of the city. The Mexican American War ended the Mexican rule of the city. There was a series of battles that ended with the Americans taking control of the city. On January 13, 1847, the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed.
In 1876, the railroads began arriving in Los Angeles with the completion of the Southern Pacific to Los Angeles line. In 1892, there was oil discovered in Los Angeles. California became the country's largest oil producer by 1923. California produced one quarter of the world's petroleum.
There was pressured exuded on the city's water supply when the population had grown to 102,000 people by the year 1900. William Mulholland supervised the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, which allowed the city to continue to grow.
Los Angeles had attached itself to Hollywood by 1910. As a result of this annexation, there were 10 movie companies that were operating in the city. Los Angles became the world's leader in the film industry with 80 percent of it taking place in the city by 1921. During the Great Depression, the money that was generated by the film industry kept Los Angeles from suffering its effects. The population of Los Angeles grew passed one million residents by 1930. The Summer Olympics took place in Los Angeles in 1932.
The city grew at a rapid rate, spreading into the San Fernando Valley after World War II. The earliest ARPANET transmission was sent from Los Angeles's University of California (UCLA) to SRI in Menlo Park in 1969, making the city one of the birthplaces of the internet.
The Summer Olympic Games were hosted by Los Angeles for a second time in 1984. The 1984 Summer Olympics was one of the financially successful games, even though it was boycotted by 14 communist countries. It was only the second Olympic Games to turn a profit. The other games to turn a profit were the 1932 games that were held in Los Angeles.
On April 29, 1992, there was an eruption of riots after racial tensions soared when the Simi Valley jury acquitted the police officers who were caught on tape beating Rodney King. There were 72 deaths and $12.5 billion in damage caused by the Northridge earthquake that measured a 6.7 on the Richter scale. The most extensive documented cases of police misconduct in American history were the Rampart scandal, which is how Los Angeles ended the century.
The San Fernando Valley and Hollywood attempted to secede from the city, but there efforts were thwarted by voters in 2002.