History of Los Angeles County
On September 4, 1781, the Pobladores, a group of 12 families – 46 men, women and children from the San Gabriel Mission led by Captain Rivera y Moncada – established a community in what is now known as the City of Los Angeles. They named it El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula (The River of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula), after a nearby river. In September of 1797, the Franciscan monks established the San Fernando Mission Rey de Espana in the northern San Fernando Valley, which is now the city of San Fernando.
California was ruled by Spain until 1822 when Mexico assumed jurisdiction. After a two-year period of hostilities with Mexico beginning in 1846, the area came under U.S. control. In 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo made California a United States territory.
The County of Los Angeles was established on February 18, 1850 as one of the 27 original counties, several months before California was admitted to the Union.
Today, Los Angeles County has 88 cities and more than 140 unincorporated communities. The first city, incorporated on April 4, 1850, was the City of Los Angeles, which was designated as the official seat of County government. In 1886 Pasadena and Santa Monica were established. Monrovia became the fourth Los Angeles County city in 1887; followed by Pomona, Long Beach, South Pasadena, and Compton in 1888. Redondo Beach became a city in 1892, as did Whittier and Azusa in 1898. The latest additions to the county were Santa Clarita in 1987, Diamond Bar in 1989, and Malibu and Calabasas in 1991.
On April 1,1850 the people of Los Angeles County asserted their newly won right of self-government and elected a three-man Court of Sessions as their first governing body. A total of 377 votes was cast in this election. In 1852 the Legislature dissolved the Court of Sessions and created a five-member Board of Supervisors. In 1913 the citizens of Los Angeles County approved a charter recommended by a board of freeholders that gave the County greater freedom to govern itself within the framework of state law.