Historical Los Angeles
The city we know of as Los Angeles goes by a nickname or perhaps a shortened version of its true name. The whole name of the city is “El Pueblo de la Reyna de Los Angeles (The Town of The Queen of Angels).” That being a mouthful, Los Angeles is the go to name.
This city was founded by forty four people to be a farming area in “New Spain,” currently known is Mexico. They were considered “people of color,” differentiating them from the Spaniards who had invaded and conquered the area.
The first mayor of Los Angeles was José Antonio Basilio Rosas, listed only as Indian in the chart found on the founders of the town. At the time of settlement there were twenty two children counted among the forty four.
It may be surprising to know that Los Angeles did have a minor role in the American Civil War. The lone military man in L. A. watched over supplies of rifles and ammunition for the United States Army. His superior commander and a fellow officer resigned and headed to Texas to fight for the Confederacy. Both of them lost their lives.
There was a plot during World War II to infiltrate Los Angeles. Thanks to the Jewish community in the city, this plot was foiled. As Los Angeles didn’t have a military port at the time, the harbor was mostly unguarded. Nazis attempted to smuggle propaganda to German Americans living in the area.
Most of this was before the U. S. entered the war. After Pearl Harbor, the work of Leon Lewis and his band of spies helped round up quite a few people who were plotting to take over National Guard armories, kill Jews and publicly hang such notables as Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson and Samuel Goldwyn.
After the war, the industrial boom hit Los Angeles. Freeways and cars abounded and it got very smoggy. Many people remember the days before the EPA and having tears run down their cheeks due to the stinging smog.
That was finally cleaned up in large part. Mass transit has helped as has emission controls both on vehicles and on manufacturing plant emissions. For those of us with asthma, that has been a wonderful thing.
In the recent past, people may remember the Northridge Earthquake. 2024 will be the thirty year anniversary of this quake, so it is part of Los Angeles history. This earthquake killed more than fifty people, injured thousands and caused billions in property damage.
One of the biggest problems it caused, aside from multiple landslides, was the collapse of several freeways around the area. At that time, Interstate 10 carried the most vehicles per day than any other road in the country. It had a major collapse, as did the 5, 14 and 118. That made for a traffic nightmare.
Entire books have been written about the history of Los Angeles, and they are well worth the read. Besides the websites used to document this article, there are a lot more, especially with little known tidbits such as the city’s WWII near miss.