Los Pobladores: The 44 Mexican-Indigenous People Who Founded Los Angeles In 1781


(Compton Herald)

Los Angeles is a city of constant reinvention. There's the past that the city remembers and the past that the city rewrites until the real story is forgotten. One such part of that past is the actual founding of Los Angeles by a group of Mexican and Indigenous people known as Los Pobladores, a collection of 44 settlers who came to to Los Angeles in 1781. The group was a racially diverse collection of men and women who built a pueblo community that expanded across the city as we know it today, and without their bravery and commitment, who knows if Los Angeles would even be on the map today?

Before Los Pobladores

Before El Pueblo de los Angeles was a dream in the hearts of the Mexican people, the entire Southern California coastal area was settled by the Chumash and the Tongva tribe. There was a small Tongva settlement in what we now know as Los Angeles that was named "Iyáangẚ," or "poison oak place." In 1542, the area was colonized by explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who claimed the southern Pacific coast in the name of Spain. Two centuries later, Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí made their way up the coast to settle the Monterey presidio, so the Spanish were all over Southern California by the late 1700s; they just hadn't settled in the Los Angeles area yet.