Talk:History of Los Angeles

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Wonderful contribution ; thanks ! :) Nerval 10:38 AM PST 4/8/2004

I think that this article could be improved with a little re-organization. In particular, there are several sections of chronologic history that can be put in orderly sequence with the special topics placed at the end. In the chronology there is almost nothing between 1906 and the end of WWII, a period which certainly saw a lot of history being made, so even just a heading that covers the period may generate contributions. If no one objects, I'll make the changes without altering the text. Will McW 05:21, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I've added a paragraph on the annexations, just using bare facts from a city publication. I've avoided getting into all the political/commercial forces involved, and I hope that we can add more about that in the future. (Wikilinking L.A. communities sure is a chore! [Playa del Rey, Los Angeles, California|Playa del Rey] -whew!) -Willmcw 06:47, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Is this something we could create a template for? Something where {LA|Playa del Rey} expands to [Playa del Rey, Los Angeles, California|Playa del Rey]? gK ¿? 08:02, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The original name of LA[edit]

Mmanning 06:22, 28 January 2006 (UTC)Mmanning: According to what I have learned from members at the office of the El Pueblo Park, the original name was:

"El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Angeles sobre El Rio Porciúncula," which translates "...on the Porciuncula River."

From what I understand, the original Porciuncula River is in Spain, and the name itself is Italian. Gen. Portola named this river he found (the Los Angeles River) in its honor, and had left specific instructions for where this new Pueblo was to be situated, mostly for the access to the river's water. This was all part of a master plan on behalf of the King of Spain to gentrify Alta California, and downplay the role of the missions as the New World commercial centers. Of course the mission padres ignored the idea of being downplayed and began to compete against the new pueblos. So the idea in another part of this article that the settlers of Pueblo de Los Angeles came from the San Gabriel Mission is sorely misdirected. Remember, shortly after the revolution, the missions were secularized in order to break up the competition, plus the fact that the padres would maintain allegiance to the Church of Spain.

The original 22 families to settle the Pueblo were sent up from Monterey Mexico, and were a cross-section of the Mexican population from Spanish to Mulato to Negro. The residents at the mission were Native American Gabrielenos and the padres.

A lot more can be said about Olvera Street which is the outline of the original Pueblo. More can be said about the Avila Adobe which has a historical tale second to no other building in Los Angeles.

I've been told to research my sources for this, and I will. I invite any remarks to this. Thank you. User:Mmanning

Magi Media 00:46, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Magi Media

I found better answers to the naming of Los Angeles. First off, the land of the yet-to-be-settled pueblo was discovered during the Portola Expedition of 1769 with the Franciscan fathers Junipero Serra and and Juan Crespi. They discovered the river which Portola named El Rio de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula. This was a dedication to the Italian location of Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order. So the river was known as the Porciuncula, and the town (Pueblo) was built on that, thus sobre el Porciuncula. So there's no real translation of Porciuncula as "the smaller portion." Porciuncula is a place in Italy, and over here it's a river.
Father Crespi saw a great place for a settlement which would become L.A. But Serra saw a place to set up a Mission, the Whittier Narrows. That was fine until it flooded and had to be moved to its present location in 1771. But the Mission and The Pueblo were established independently.
King Carlos ordered the establishment of the Pueblo in 1781 with the ideas I stated in the above dissertation, gentrify the new lands and downplay the commercial role of the Missions. The San Gabriel Mission was a gathering place for these, count 44 people: 11 men, 11 women and 22 children. They were a mixed batch from Mexico who were to specifically inhabit the new Pueblo for the purpose of farming provisions for the increasing Spanish Army in Alta California. This was a military agenda, not a religious agenda.
As a matter of fact, a complete layout design was prepared for the new Pueblo before anyone ever got there.
If no one has any further discussion about this, I would like to integrate it into the history base of this article.
Source: University of Southern California Project: Los Angeles: Past, Present, and Future, 1996. Adopted by the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument.
Magi Media 00:46, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Magi Media

merge to LA history[edit]

It should not be merged; this is a mission, not a city. It can be added to L.A. category if not already there. Thanks Hmains 04:29, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Jews in the early days of Los Angeles[edit]

I know that Jews, such as Harris Neumark were early pioneers in Los Angeles in the 1840s and had a major influence on the foundations of Los Angeles from its early days as a cowtown, serving as merchants, bankers, sayers, shippers, and realtors, but does anyone have sources for this not very well known topic (though expect many of the museums in Southern California, such as the Gene Autry to have a lot on this topic in the next year or two). Valley2city 03:12, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Sources do exist. Check the L.A. Public Library for Harris Newmark. Also go to Los Angeles Jewish History. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 06:29, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

GOOD or FEATURED article[edit]

This looks pretty darn good (or at least long). What can be done to bring it up to GA or FA status? —ScouterSig 23:17, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

The biggest problem is a serious lack of references. If you want to know the specifics about the criteria for GA & FA status, see Wikipedia:What is a good article? & Wikipedia:What is a featured article?. BlankVerse 09:01, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Spewing Wikislop across the Internet[edit]

Here's another reason why it's important to double check your sources before putting anything in a Wikipedia article: there are lots of websites that pull content from these articles, and a mistake here ends up on all of them. I just had to fix an astonishing mistake here. The article had something to say about a "Fred Eden" who had been a mayor of L.A. and was involved in the development of the aqueduct from Owens Valley. No, no, no! The man's name was Fred Eaton, and as you can see, there's even a Wikipedia article about him. It would have been so easy for the original writer to double check this name! I don't know how this mistake ended up in Wikipedia, but a Google search on "Fred Eden" will now fetch any number of sites that have repeated it- including a page which appears to be part of an official L.A. County web site.[1] That particular site contains quite a few lines identical to those in this article misnaming Fred Eaton. In fact, I don't know if that site copied them from here, or if this article is in part cut and pasted from that site, but either way there's a problem when misinformation gets onto a Wikipedia page. This isn't the first time I've had to fix something like this, and I have no idea how many such errors go undetected. I checked the earlier versions of this article, and the "Eden" mistake was part of it when it was moved from the main Los Angeles article by March of 2004! How could this have been wrong for so long? And for how long will uncorrected versions of it persist on the Internet? Something to think about. Whyaduck 14:36, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Here's my favorite example of lazy editors writing what they think is correct, rather than writing what they have verified is correct. Artesia, California has a fairly famous retail section refered to as Little India, so of course the city "is notable for its large Indian-American community". Bull Crap! As you can see from my correction [2], there were only 4.6% Asian Indians in Artesia in the 2000 census. BlankVerse 15:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Author needs to check sources on claims that GM "persuaded" cities to shut down their rail systems. There is a lot more background to this story that needs to be fairly looked at for a more unbiased article. (blaming all of LA's smog problems on GM is inaccurate statement.)


The last annexation mentioned was in 1932, which brought the city's area to 450 sq. miles. Today, its area is 469 sq. miles. When were the additional 19 sq. miles added to the city? - (talk) 11:19, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Good point. It's hard to succinctly summarize the later annexations, many of which were just fractions of an acre. The largest were the annexations of Chatsworth, in several stages. The annexations are well sourced in an L.A. City PDF map, at [3] I've changed the text slightly to reflect that there were more annexations after 1932. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:50, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Early history[edit]

An editor removed a large section of early history. The article is seriously deficient without it. I don't think the section had any controverisal or unusual assertions. In fact, I can still remember much of it from the 4th grade. The excellent website Los Angeles Almanac, has a series of pages (L.A. History) that appear to cover everything we have here. So I'll add the material back with that site as our source. But any basic textbook on California history will have this same material, so I don't think that verifiability is a general problem with this section. If any particualr assertions needs more careful sourcing then let's take care of it. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:10, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Fourth-grade memories are not good enough. See WP:Verifiability. "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged should be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation.[1] The source should be cited clearly and precisely to enable readers to find the text that supports the article content in question. Editors should cite sources fully, providing as much publication information as possible, including page numbers when citing books." The entire article has been under suspicion for a long time. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 03:21, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Mexicans, Pachucos, Chicanos and Latinos in Los Angeles[edit]

I removed this section because it did not cite its sources. There was some good stuff in there, but this article already suffers severely from lack of sources, and there is no sense in adding even more information which may or may not be tru (but there is no way to check). Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 22:00, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

No way to check? The fact that Villaraigosa is the first Latino mayor since statehood is widely-cited. The Zoot Suit riots are the subject of articles, books, and even a movie. The demographic and protery shifts following statehood are also well-known. I agree that the article needs more sources, and even a complete overhaul, but deleting undisputed information may not the be the best way to improve the article. This material was never even tagged for sources. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:19, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

It's up to the editor or author who submits material to cite the sources up front, rather than be goaded into it, right? Maybe I have the drill wrong, but that is my understanding. We editors shouldn't have to clean up after unverified material is inserted into our encyclopedia. Anyway, that's my opinion. Am I wrong in this? Yours, GeorgeLouis (talk) 22:29, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

The aim here is to create an encyclopedia. These aren't weird or extraordinary assertions. Do you dispute any of them? Have you made any effort to verify them? Why did you pick that section to delete when the rest of the article doesn't have sources either? I think it would be better to ask for help to improve the article rather than taking just deleting random material that doesn't have a citation. If the problem is too few sources then more sources are the answer, not deleting important events. Does that make sense? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:47, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I had to step in because GL had removed some material that might have been true in other sections as well. Agtax 23:49, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your posting, Will_Beback, but the policy of Wikipedia is quite clear:

The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—that is, whether readers are able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether we think it is true. Editors should provide a reliable source for quotations and for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, or the material may be removed.

To me, this means that the editor who added the material in the first place should be the one to provide the source (since he or she presumably has access to it or he wouldn't have added the info). It's not for the guy coming along afterward to clean up the mess. As for removing this section, I reverted it as soon as I noticed it on my watch list. There is some good material in it, some specious and tendentious stuff, but it must all be sourced. I trust you will agree with me on that latter anyway. Who was it that added this section? He or she should be willing to back up everything in here with a citation per WP policy. "Can't we all get along" in attempting to improve, not depreciate, this article about our fair city? Pretty firm on this, I remain, yours sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 05:56, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

If you're going to delete that section, you might as well remove the other sections relating to race. Agtax 06:26, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
It took some searching, but I found the origin of this material. It was added five years ago.[4] Perhaps some folks weren't here then- back in those days very few inline references were added. In any case, it's been here for five years, with several fine editors copyediting or moving it, implictly endorsing its contents. If there's a specific part that is challenged then we can deal with that. There's no need to delete the parts that aren't challenged. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 08:41, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, Will_Beback, for your attention to detail. As for Agtax's snide comment, the less said the better. I will go through the section and attempt to find sources for the good parts, and I invite others to do the same. I recommend Leonard and Dale Pitts' Los Angeles From A to Z as a good source. Unfortunately, in the haste of moving from L.A. to Frazier Park a few months ago I gave away my copy and have just now ordered another one from When it arrives I'll get to work on making the fixes; in the meantime I have no objection to restoring the section. Yours sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 14:25, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Oh, and thanks for writing this note to the original author of the section in question. GeorgeLouis (talk) 14:38, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I tried to find sources for the first statement of the section (that there were 200,000 Chicanos in L.A. in 1930) but could not do so. In 1930, foreign-born residents amounted to 15% of L.A.'s population, and in that year "Mexicans" were reclassified as "whites." This section, like others in this article, needs a lot of cleanup, so I added the extant tag thereto. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 04:42, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

The original editor replied that some of the material came from "Carey McWilliams' histories of California". ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:19, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
It may have been:
North from Mexico; the Spanish-speaking people of the United States. New York, Greenwood Press, 1968 [©1948]
It looks a bit old, but presumably accurate even so. There are a bunch of copies in my local library system; I'll see if I can get a copy. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:26, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

The original editor also replied that most of his submission came from an organization he belongs to, the National Lawyers Guild, which is not an unbiased source, even though it does very fine work. Mind you, I have done volunteer service for that guild (monitoring the Demo convention in L.A.); it is an activist organization, and you can tell so from the original wording of the section in question. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 08:19, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Yes, that's where he said he got the pamphlet, which he thought came at least partly from the Williams book. If we can find the facts in that book then we can source the assertions to it directly, bypassing the "middleman". Some of the info, like the mayor being the first Latino, we chould be able to find in the L.A.T. archive or newer history books. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 08:34, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
It would appear that the rest of the sections after the Chicano section have been deleted as well. From going through the edits on this article, why is there so much debate on this section? Agtax 00:11, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
The miscounting of the L.A. Hispanic population in past census records has made collecting data about the community's size filled with errors and inaccuracies. In 1930 and 1940 census reports, there were over 150,000 and 350,000 Latinos within the city of L.A. respectively, and twice or thrice the number lived in Los Angeles county, depending on what ethnic origin is the Mexican immigrant or Mexican-American. From 1920 to 1945, much of the Mexican-American/Latino population was classified "colored", "other" and "white/Spanish". L.A. at the time probably been 10-15 percent Latino of various nationalities, while the predominant nationality was Mexican/Spanish and many of them lived in L.A. for two or three generations. + (talk) 06:07, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

Murder rate[edit]

Its murder rate averaged 13 per year, a much higher per capita figure than New York or Chicago. What year was this, and what were the rates in the other cities? And 13 per year is not a per capita figure: It is a total figure. Questioningly, sincerely yours, GeorgeLouis (talk) 04:22, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

"An Historical" vs. "A Historical" ??[edit]

[5] - "An" before a hard "H" is used in European countries. American usage is using "a historical". Do not change back, as this article is USA-centric. --Manway (talk) 03:44, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Of course, what was even easier was to change it from "A[n] historical costume" to "historic costume" which is correct in both spellings Kiore (talk) 04:17, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, this discussion has being going on for decades, if not centuries. There are plenty of Americans who say "an historic," including me, but the prevalence seems to be the other way. Just don't say the usage belongs to one continent or the other, because it doesn't. Yours, GeorgeLouis (talk) 05:21, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
The 'n' was used in 19th-century England, when most people did not sound the 'h'. It is quite unnecessary if the 'h' is sounded. Valetude (talk) 13:17, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Name of the city (again)[edit]

I removed the following improperly inserted remark from the Article: -- (talk) 23:22, 16 May 2009 (UTC)-- this is kind of confusing The anonymous editor has a point, though, and this section will have to be cleaned up. I'll undertake the job, using Bob Pool's article as the source. Yours, GeorgeLouis (talk) 01:39, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Early Pioneer paragraph[edit]

I added a early pioneer paragraph with references and links. I hope it gives a feel for some of the early settlers. Good article. Jrcrin001 (talk) 08:23, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Santa Maria[edit]

In yet another edit over the early naming of the LA river, it is mentioned that it was named in honor of "Nuestra Señora, Santa Maria, La Reina de los angeles de Porciuncula." The subsequent translation was made "Our Lady, Saint Mary...." SANTA in reference to the Blessed Virgin translates as HOLY. Mary, Mother of God is not called a saint, but she is called Holy Mary, which in Spanish has to translate "Santa Maria." There are other Saint Mary's recognized by The Roman Catholic Church who are real canonized Saints. But Mary Mother of God is referred to as Holy Mary. The point is moot, but should be noted.--Magi Media (talk) 05:48, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Civic corruption and police brutality[edit]

This section is currently a subsection of "Boom town 1913 - 1941", but discusses events through at least 1992. Needs to be moved, and also appears short on cites and possibly POV. --Pete Tillman (talk) 04:25, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree that police corruption continued after 1941, but it reached its climax in the 30's and what happened after that is both a result and a continuation. It is best to keep things in context. History is not an announcement of individual facts, but is best understood in context. Use the chronological dates as an opportunity to start a discussion, but follow it through. Do not divide the subject into separate periods.Bdubay (talk) 03:57, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Pete, POV? Where? Tell me where the text needs more references and I will be glad to supply them.04:06, 25 November 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bdubay (talkcontribs)

Problems in Special topics area[edit]

There are a couple of issues in the Special Topics section.

African-Americans in Los Angeles:

The very first sentence -- "Despite the fact that Los Angeles is one of only U.S. major cities founded by settlers who were predominantly of African descent, the city had 2,100 Black Americans in 1900, according to census figures, and by 1920 approximately 15,000" -- made no sense whatsoever to me. It is saying that 2,100 is low? Is 15,000 low? I don't get the connection between the first part of the sentence and the latter.

This sentence "The Watts riots of 1965 followed a minor traffic incident and lasted four days after decades of mistreatment toward blacks. Thirty-four people were killed and 1,034 injured at a cost of $40 million in property damage and looting" -- cites different numbers than were cited in the Proposition 14 discussion -- "In August, 1965, the Watts Riots broke out. Lasting six days, it left 32 dead, 1,032 injured, 3,952 arrested, $40 million in damage, and 1,000 buildings damaged or destroyed". Were 32 or 34 killed? Were 1,304 injured or 1,302? The numbers can't be different in the same article! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bruce.guthrie (talkcontribs) 15:16, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

"Renaissance Person"?[edit]

"Neve was a Renaissance person." What in heck's name is that? Do you mean a "Renaissance man"? If so, then say that. "Renaissance person" is not a term. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:19, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

UCLA Digital Collections link[edit]

I just added a link to publicly available digitized photographs from the Los Angeles Times an the Los Angeles Daily News held in UCLA Library's Special Collections. It's a rich resource that I think others will find meaningful and useful, but I'm mentioning it here because I'm a librarian at UCLA. I had nothing to do with the creation of the project, but I still want to make sure that it's generally agreed by page editors that this doesn't represent a conflict of interest. Nafpaktitism (talk) 04:51, 10 April 2013 (UTC)


You say 'Los Angeles is one of the few U.S. major cities founded by settlers who were predominantly of African descent'.

This is not confirmed by your early history of the city. Valetude (talk) 13:22, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Arrival of new industries[edit]

Your account of the city's industrialization seems to be one long tale of political strife and corruption. There must have been some more positive aspects to the setting-up of new industries. Valetude (talk) 13:26, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

seems to be appropriately discussed in terms of the "big picture" of left wing activism, reaction & conflict which spawned events such as the Los Angeles Times bombing... Boogerpatrol (talk) 02:01, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Population through mid- to late-1880s[edit]

There seems to be some disagreement in the populations and population trends mentioned in different sections. The population seemingly swings from an average of 8,227 between 1847 and 1870 (based on the homicide rate in Gangs of Los Angeles), to 75,050 in 1848 (Plight of the Indians), down to 5,000 in 1870 (Industrial Expansion and Growth, 1870 - 1913), up to 12,500 in 1880 (Plight of the Indians), then way up again to 100,000 in 1900 (Industrial Expansion and Growth, 1870 - 1913). Some referencing and clean up is clearly needed. (talk) 05:35, 19 January 2014 (UTC)


This is a very poor lede, 2 sentences which give undue weight to some elements of LA and ignore others. I wanted to include the article in the greater la portal, but wont do it as long as this is the lede. I might try to improve it.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 18:13, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

yes it was bad, so i gave a complete rewrite. Rjensen (talk) 18:45, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

Timeline of Los Angeles[edit]

What is missing from the city timeline? Please add relevant content. Thank you. -- M2545 (talk) 08:49, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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