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Chowigna, California

Coordinates: 33°46′N 118°22′W / 33.767°N 118.367°W / 33.767; -118.367
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Former settlement
Chowigna is located in California
Location in California
Coordinates: 33°46′N 118°22′W / 33.767°N 118.367°W / 33.767; -118.367
CountryUnited States
CountyLos Angeles County
Elevation1,188 ft (362 m)

Chowigna (also, Unaungna) is a former Tongva-Gabrieleño Native American settlement in Los Angeles County, California.[2]

It was located in modern-day Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Peninsula.[2]

Name variations include: Chowiinga, Chowi, Unaungna, Chowigna, and Chowingna (near San Pedro).[3]

The Chowigna Village site at Malaga Cove has been inhabited for at least 7,100 years. It was first described by the Cabrillo Expedition in 1542.[4] It was excavated in 1936-37 by the Southwest Museum of the Native Americans and the University of Southern California. Among the thousands of artifacts retrieved were "arrowheads, mortars and pestles, scrapers and spoons made from abalone, beads and art objects, bone tools, shells," including olivella and giant keyhole limpet shells, "and bones from food animals like mussels and birds ... An estimated 150 people lived at the site in its last days, about 1775."[4][5] "The site stratigraphy and material culture assemblage provided the central framework of early cultural chronological sequences for the region."[4]

Artifacts of the Chowigna Native Americans are held by the Southwest Museum of the Native Americans and the Redondo Beach Historical Museum.[6][7]

The Chowigna Natives used the site of today's Hopkins Wilderness Park, formerly Nike missile site LA-57 from 1956 to 1963, in Redondo Beach as a lookout place.[8] The wetlands located at the site of today's AES power plant in Redondo Beach were a source of foods including halibut, lobster, and sea bass, and also of salt.[9] In the 18th century, the Chowigna bartered salt from the old Redondo Salt Lake, "a spring-fed salt lake about 200 yards wide and 600 yards long situated about 200 yards from the ocean", with other tribes.[10] Their village by the lake was called "Onoova-nga", or "Place of Salt." The Chowigna were relocated to missions in 1854, when Manuel Dominguez sold 215 acres of Rancho San Pedro, including the lake, to Henry Allanson and William Johnson for the Pacific Salt Works.[7][10][11]

The Chowigna rancheria was associated with the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Palos Verdes
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Chowigna
  3. ^ "Villages". Tongva People. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  4. ^ a b c Frazier, Sara. "Protohistoric burial practices of the Gabrieleno as evidenced by the comparison of funerary objects from three Southern California sites" (PDF). Solstice Archaeological Consulting: 169–176. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  5. ^ Kalambakal, Vickey (2011-05-03). "Archaeology on the Peninsula". Palos Verdes, CA Patch. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  6. ^ "Redondo Beach Historical Museum". City of Redondo Beach Website. Archived from the original on 2014-03-15. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  7. ^ a b Welcome to the Redondo Beach Historical Museum: A self-guided tour
  8. ^ Lacey, Marc (1992-04-17). "An Urban Oasis : Surrounded by condos sits a place the Chowigna Natives once used as a lookout spot. Today, people go there for an escape. - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  9. ^ Brand, Bill. ""Heart Park" Restoring Redondo Beach" (PDF). The Foggy View, Supplement to the March 2005 Southern Sierran, Sierra Club Palos Verdes - South Bay Group / Angeles Chapter. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-16. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  10. ^ a b "SOUTH BAY HISTORY: Redondo Beach's salt lake". San Jose Mercury News. 2010-05-20. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  11. ^ "AES Power Plant Informational Brief" (PDF). Building a Better Redondo. 2011-07-06. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  12. ^ "History of San Gabriel Arcangel Mission". Access Genealogy. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  • Walker, Edwin Francis. (1936) Malaga Cove Field Notes; Southwest Museum Archives. Manuscript #220, Box #3.
  • Walker, Edwin Francis. (1952) Five Prehistoric Archaeological Sites in Los Angeles County. Reprinted in 1973. Los Angeles: Southwest Museum.

External links[edit]