The Story Of The Mexican Pobladores Who Founded Los Angeles

Every city has a backstory, a tale about its creation and the people responsible for putting it on the map. This is a tale about the people who helped found the City of Angels way back in 1781- The Los Angeles Pobladores.

Forty four settlers and four soldiers were brought from Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico to Las Californias to help build the future home of Hollywood, from 11 families personally selected by the Governor of Las Californias, Felipe de Neve.

California historian William Mason shared the story of Los Angeles' founding families with the Los Angeles Times way back in 1975, and yet this tale of how the large and influential city of L.A. began with forty four souls is little known to this day.

The city’s Hispanic origins are common knowledge, but the fact that over half of the settlers were of African descent, and only a few were actually Spanish, is quite surprising.

The racial diversity found in the group reveals the progressive nature of the Spanish regarding citizens of African descent, in a time when the United States had yet to outlaw slavery.

You can read more of William Mason's research in this PDF entitled Los Angeles Under The Spanish Flag, with research and findings which were reiterated in Mason's obituary posted by the Los Angeles Times after his passing in 2000.


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"The racial diversity found in the group reveals the progressive nature of the Spanish regarding citizens of African descent, in a time when the United States had only recently abolished slavery."

The US didn't abolish slavery until 1865, at which time California was already part of the US.

From my own knowledge of New Mexico history (Santa Fe was founded in 1610), the presence of people with African descent doesn't mean equality in Spanish society of the time. There was a strong social ranking based on how "pure" your blood is, the limpieza de sangre. Those of African descent were lower in the ranking than those of American Indian descent, which were lower than those of Spanish descent. See http://www.shmoop.com/spanish-colonization/race.html for a summary.
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