A CHRONOLOGY OF KEY
EVENTS, BATTLES, MASSACRES, NATURAL DISASTERS, RIOTS OR OTHER
FORMS OF UN-NATURAL DEATH IN THE
GREATER LOS ANGELES METRO
Compiled by Clifton L. Holland
for the GLAMA
Spiritual Mapping Project
November 7, 1995
1769-1831 -- The domestication of the California Indians by Spanish forces; Indians were relocated by force to villages around the Missions that were established at San Gabriel (1771) and San Fernando (1797) in what is now Los Angeles County, San Juan Capistrano (1776) in Orange County, and San Buenaventura (1782) in Ventura County; it is estimated that between 30,000-50,000 Indians died of European diseases during this period; although there are no reports of any massacres of Indians by the Spanish in the Los Angeles area, the Indians were treated as slaves and experienced great suffering and hardship.
1781 -- The town of Los Angeles was founded by a small group of Mexican colonists near the site of an Indian village called Yang-na; the original name of Los Angeles was "el Pueblo de Nuestra Se˝ora la Reina de los Angeles del Porcidnculo" (the town of our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porci˙nculo River).
1801 -- Heavy rains and flooding.
1809 -- Severe drought hits Los Angeles area.
1812 -- The Year of the Earthquakes; 40 Indians killed when the church at Mission San Juan Capistrano collapsed on December 8; another quake hit Santa Barbara and a third occurred along the southern segment of the San Andreas fault that crosses El Cajon Pass near San Bernardino (need to confirm the dates for the last two quakes).
1815 -- Heavy rains and flooding for 10 days; original city plaza was inundated so a new town square was built on higher ground at the site of the current Old Town Plaza.
1820 -- First Roman Catholic church constructed in Los Angeles at the Old Plaza (originally at the present site of the Union Station); until then, villagers had to travel to the San Gabriel Mission for religious services.
1821 -- Mexico and her provinces, including Alta and Baja California, become independent of Spain.
1825 -- Major flooding causes the Los Angeles River (formerly known as the Porci˙nculo River) to change its course; it previously flowed to the west of Los Angeles along what is now Pico Blvd and the Ballona Creek channel to Santa Monica Bay; now it flows to the south where it joins the Rio Hondo channel and then empties into San Pedro Harbor.
1830s -- The town of Los Angeles was nicknamed "Los Diablos" (the Devils) because of its lawless nature, which was a common characteristic of settlements on the western frontier.
1831-- The Battle of Los Angeles is fought between rival groups from northern and southern California; between 1828 and 1845 there were at least five successful revolts of Californios against the central government in Mexico, and numerous struggles between civil governments in northern and southern sections of Alta California.
1845 -- The Battle of Cahuenga Pass during the California Civil War; Californios declare their independence from Mexico: 2 killed in battle.
1846 -- The U.S. declares war on Mexico. Los Angeles occupied by U.S. troops under Commodore Robert Stockton in August; troops landed in the Port of San Pedro and marched to Los Angeles where they entered and occupied the city on August 13; martial law imposed by Stockton.
September: rebellion of local Angelinos against the U.S. occupation begins on Sept. 22; 300 Angelinos take up arms under Varela and Cota who issue a proclamation of resistance; the battle of Rancho Chino takes place on September 26-27, but there are no reported deaths.
October 8-10: U.S. troops leave the Los Angeles area by ship after being defeated by Angelino volunteers under Comandante Flores at the Battle of Dominguez Ranch on October 8; six U.S. troops killed.
October 23-early November: Commodore Stockton returns to San Pedro by ship with a force of 800 men; several skirmishes take place near San Pedro, but no big battles; Stockton is surprized by the size of the Mexican forces and retreats to his ships in the harbor; in early November Stockton sails to San Diego.
December 8: the Battle of San Pasqual takes place near Escondido in San Diego County; Comandante Andres Pico launches a surprise attack against the U.S. forces led by Gen. Kearney that were marching north from San Diego; the fighting was short but bloody--the bloodiest of the war in Alta California--resulting in 20 wounded and 24 killed among U.S. forces, while the Mexican volunteer forces reported one one man wounded and none killed.
1847 January 8: the Battle of San Gabriel River, near Montebello.
January 9: the Battle of La Mesa (now City of Industry).
January 13: the Treaty of Cahuenga signed at a ranch house in the Cahuenga Pass, just north of Los Angeles (along the route of the present Hollywood Freeway), which ends hostilities between Mexican forces and U.S. troops in California; the U.S. takes control of Los Angeles and troops build Fort Moore.
1848 -- The U.S.-Mexican War ends with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; the U.S. takes possession of all Mexican territory north of the Rio Grande which includes Alta California.
California becomes part of the United States of America; achieves statehood in 1850.
Gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill in northern California; the Gold Rush begins.
1850s -- City of lawlessness: in the 13 months from August of 1850 through September of 1851, 44 homicides occurred in Los Angeles County, but no one was convicted of any of these crimes; corruption and favoritism made up a large part of the justice system at that time; vigilance committees took the law into their own hands and hangings became public events, crowded with spectators; unfortunantly, many times they hanged the wrong man; between 1850 and 1870, Los Angeles witnessed 37 lynchings and 40 legal hangings; most victims of hanging were Indian or Mexican.
1853-54 -- A vigilante group known as the Los Angeles Rangers was formed and summarily executed 22 men in two years.
1857 January 9: Severe earthquake destroys buildings from Ventura to Los Angeles; this is known as the Fort Tejon Earthquake but the rupture occurred along several segments of the San Andreas fault for 120 miles, from Parkfield in the north to El Cajon Pass in the south; this was the largest southern California earthquake in recorded history, a magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale.
1860s -- Los Angeles and vacinity plagued by crime waves, floods, droughts and a smallpox epidemic.
1861 -- Houses, roads and fields damaged by rains and flooding.
1862-63 -- Severe drought follows flooding of previous years; about 80% of the cattle are lost in southern California; a smallpox epidemic kills many Indians living on new reservations in Southern California.
1870s -- The crime rate was so bad in Los Angeles in 1870 that the U.S. Bureau of the Census questioned the validity of the figures that were reported by the county clerk.
1871 October 23-24: Chinese Massacre in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles; gringo thugs attack chinese on "Niger Alley" (Calle de los Negros, near the Plaza) during two days of rioting; 19 chinese are killed.
1899 -- December 25: a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hits along the San Jacinto Fault near San Bernardino.
1910s -- Labor turmoil in Los Angeles; riots and bombings reported resulting in 20 deaths.
1918 April 21: 6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes the San Bernardino Valley along the San Jacinto Segment of the San Andreas Fault.
1927 November 4: a major earthquake occurs offshore in the Pacific Ocean near the town of Lompoc in Santa Barbara County; it measured 7.3 and caused a tsunami (large wave generated by a submarine rupture on the seafloor) that struck the Santa Barbara coast; this was the fourth largest earthquake to hit southern California since 1800.
1933 March 11: Long Beach Earthquake kills 120 and causes $40 million in damages; it was a moderate 6.2 on the Richter scale but the serious damage that is caused resulted in modifications to the building code in southern California to help prevent similar disasters.
1938 -- In five days, 32 inches of rain falls on Los Angeles, causing flooding of over 300,000 acres; dams built on upper San Gabriel River to prevent future floods.
1943 -- Pachuco Riots in Los Angeles; U.S. servicemen attack Hispanic youths in downtown Los Angeles during several days of rioting; also known as the "Zoot Suit Riots."
1952 July 21: Kern County Earthquake on White Wolf Fault in the Tehachapi Mountains; it measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, causing major damage in parts of the counties of Kern and Los Angeles; this was the second largest earth-quake in recorded history in southern California; how many killed?
1965 -- Watts Riots in South-Central Los Angeles; police and National Guardsman battle negro youths for several days following an attempted arrest in the neighborhood of Watts by uniformed police officers; local youths who witnessed the arrest reacted violently by attacking the police and rescuing the black men involved; police responded in force and triggered a week of rioting within the predominantly black community; buildings were looted and burned by rioters; 34 people were killed and hundreds were arrested.
1970 August 29: Hispanics riot in East Los Angeles during protest march against U.S. involvement in Viet Nam; approximately 30,000 Hispanics marched along Whittier Blvd. led by activists of the National Chicano Moratorium; unaccustomed to large and militant demon-strations within the Hispanic community, local law enforcement agencies overreacted; by nightfall, several demonstrators had been violently attacked by Los Angeles police officers and three people were dead, including a well-known Hispanic newsman, Ruben Salazar.
1971 February 9: Sylmar/San Fernando Earthquake of 6.5 on Richter scale; 64 people killed and caused property damage of $1.5 billion.
1980s -- Several moderate earthquakes strike the Los Angeles area in the 1980s: at Whittier Narrows and Sierra Madre in the San Gabriel Valley.
1992 -- Los Angeles Riots following the trial of policemen who beat Rodney King; buildings are looted and burned by rioters; 58 people are killed.
1992 June 28: a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hits the town of Landers, located a few miles north of the San Andreas Fault in San Bernardino County; this is the third largest quake to hit southern California in recorded history.
1994 January 17: Northridge Quake in San Fernando Valley of 6.7 on Richter scale; this quake caused property damage of about $2.5 billion, the most expensive earthquake damage in U.S. history.
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