Facts About Los Angeles, California
Derived from the Spanish words “Los” which means “the” and “Angeles” which translates to “angels,” it is the seat of Los Angeles County and known by its initials – L.A.
The metropolitan stands in a large coastal basin with mountains reaching up to 10,ooo feet surrounding three sides of the city. Located at Southern California, it has a Mediterranean climate, and known for its ethnic diversity, sprawling metropolis, and being the center of American entertainment industry.
The City of Angels, as it is favorably called, ranks second in the U.S. in terms of population and currently the densest urban area. The local inhabitants are referred to as Angelenos.
Brief History, Where It All Started
The first settlers in the coastal area were the Tongva (Gabrieleños) and Chumash Native American tribes dating back thousands of years ago. In 1542, the southern part of California was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese-born explorer, for the Spanish Empire, Kingdom of Spain. Cabrillo was on an official military exploring expedition to colonize bases for the New Spain in Central and South America.
On September 4, 1781, “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula” was founded by a group of forty-four settlers known as “Los Pobladores”. The pueblo or town founded by the Los Pobladores is translated into “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciúncula”. The town was built to honor the Virgin Mary.
The settlement remained a small group in a relatively small ranch town for several decades. By 1820 the population increased to several hundreds. At present time, the town is commemorated in Olvera Street, the oldest part of L.A. and the historic district Pueblo Plaza.
A very notable geographic development in L.A. County is the grid plan for the streets. The blocks have uniform lengths and occasional roads cuts across blocks. However a rugged terrain complicates the uniformity of each block, therefore different grids have been set for each valley that Los Angeles covers.
Major streets that move large volumes of traffic throughout the metro area are extremely long. Foothill Boulevard is over 60 miles long while Sepulveda Boulevard is 43 miles long. According to an annual traffic index, one can suffer the worst rush hour traffic in an estimated 80% congestion when stuck on one of these major roads.
Being located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Southern California is subjected to many large-scale earthquakes. Numerous faults surrounding the city causes approximately 10,000 earthquakes annually in Southern California alone. However, most of these plate movements are too small to be felt.
The San Andreas Fault system, located in between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate is feared to cause the “big one,” a large and disastrous fault movement and subsequent quake. Several major (over 7.0 on the Richter Scale) earthquakes have struck the metro area in the past hundred years. In 1933 at Long Beach, 1971 at San Fernando, 1987 at Whittier Narrows, and in 1994 at Northridge. Also several coastal areas are prone to tsunamis if a massive quake occurs.