History of Los Angeles
Los Angeles was first settled in 1781, by a group called Los Pobladores, who called the settlement “La Reyna de los Angeles.” The settlement, or the pueblo, slowly grew and in 1821 became part of Mexico. Alta California was under Mexican Rule until the end of the Mexican-American war, when Americans took control of it as determined by the Treaty of Cahuenga in 1847.
The Southern Pacific Railroad reached Los Angeles in 1876, which provided a much needed boost for the population and the economy. Additional boost for the growth and development came in 1892, with the discovery of oil. Increase in the number of residents in the city put significant strain on the water supply for the city, which was solved in 1913 with the construction of Los Angeles Aqueduct. In the 1920s, more than 80% of the world’s movie industry was concentrated in Los Angeles, which basically saved the city from the ordeal the rest of the country went through during the Great Depression. The city hosted the Summer Olympics in 1932 and continued to grow, even after the World War II, spreading further into San Fernando Valley.
The first ARPANET transmission was sent from UCLA in in 1969, making L.A. one of the birthplaces of Internet. In 1984, the city once again hosted the Summer Olympics.
In 1992, Los Angeles was the site of one of the worst riots in the American history, following the beating of Rodney King by LAPD. In 1997, the city was struck by a strong earthquake, which caused 72 deaths and $12.5 billion in damage. In 2002, San Fernando Valley and Hollywood attempted to secede from Los Angeles, but their efforts were defeated by voters.
Topography and Climate
The topography of Los Angeles is diversified and the city is essentially both flat and hilly. The highest elevation point is Mount Lukens at 5,074 ft. The eastern portion of Santa Monica Mountains stretch from Downtown L.A. to the Pacific Ocean. There is also the Mt. Washington area which includes some of the hillier parts of the city, such as the Crenshaw district and San Pedro district.
The primary drainage channel is the Los Angeles River, a largely seasonal river, flowing from the Canoga Park to the Port of Long Beach.
The city has subtropical-Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine and an average of only 35 days of precipitation. Pollution and smog are serious problems in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles has more than 80 neighborhoods and districts. It can roughly be divided into Downtown Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, the Harbour Area, Greater Hollywood, Wilshire, the Westside, San Fernando Valley and Crescenta Valley. Some of the notable neighborhoods and areas in the city include Westwood, Hollywood, Baldwin Hills, Venice, West Adams, Koreatown, Bel Air, Hollywood Hills, Century City, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood and Los Feliz.
Population of Los Angeles
The racial makeup in Los Angeles is 48.5% Hispanic or Latino, 28.7% non-Hispanic White, 11.3% Asian, 9.6% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 23.8% some other race and 4.6% two or more races.
In the Hispanic community, the most numerous groups are the Mexicans, followed by Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Puerto Rican, Cuban and others. The largest Asian groups are Filipinos, Koreans, Chinese, Thai, Cambodians, Japanese and Vietnamese.
Los Angeles is home to people from more than 140 countries of the world and 224 languages are spoken in the city. The city has many ethnic enclaves, such as Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Armenia, Historic Filipinotown, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Thai Town and Little Tokyo.
The city is home to approximately 450 gangs, with more than 45,000 gang members, which is why it is often considered to be the “Gang Capital of America.” The most prominent gangs are certainly Crips and Bloods, both hailing from South Central Los Angeles.
The economy of Los Angeles is based on trade, entertainment, technology, aerospace, oil, fashion and tourism. Some of the largest and wealthiest companies based in the city are Northrop Grumman, Occidental Petroleum, Health Net, Tutor Perini, CBRE Group, AECOM, as well as Capital Group, California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, Fox Entertainment Group, Guess?, Pabst Brewing Company, United Online, Sunkist, Farmers Insurance Group, City National Bank, Herbalife and many more.
Culture Institutions and Arts
The largest cultural and economic entity in Los Angeles is certainly Hollywood, the world’s largest center of movie industry. The city is home to the annual Academy Awards, one of the most prestigious award ceremonies in the world.
Los Angeles has more museums per capita than any other city in the world. Some of the best museums in the city are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Getty Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The Los Angeles Music Center is one of the largest performing centers in America. It includes the Walt Disney Music Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and it is home of the Los Angeles Opera, center Theatre Group and Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Record music industry is also very strong in Los Angeles, from major multinational companies such as Capitol Records to small, independent and DIY labels. Thousands of bands and solo performers started their careers in Los Angeles, from Charles Mingus the 1930s, The Doors and The Byrds in the 1960s, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Slayer, X and Black Flag in the late 1980s, to Sublime, Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Beck and No Doubt in the 1990s, and, more recently, Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5 and Miley Cyrus. Gangsta rap and West Coast hip-hop practically originated in the Los Angeles area, especially Compton, with acts such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and N.W.E.
There are three public universities in Los Angeles - University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) and California State University, Northridge (CSUN). In addition, there are a number of private institutions of higher learning, such as Syracuse University, University of Southern California, Antioch University’s L.A. campus, Los Angeles Film School, Loyola Marymount University, Marymount College, Occidental College, American Film Institute Conservatory, American Jewish University, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy - L.A. campus and many others.
Los Angeles is home of the Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings and the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. The largest sports venues are Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, The Forum and Los Angeles Coliseum.
The main airport is Los Angeles International Airport, known as LAX, the third-busiest airport in the USA and the sixth-busiest one in the world.