If You Want to See the Future, Look to Los Angeles

If You Want to See the Future, Look to Los Angeles April 4, 2019

Los Angeles



I love, love LA.

It is a world city. It is decadent, holy, dirty, visionary, mean, and glorious.

Trying to find the beginning of a city is an impossible task. Los Angeles is a perfect example.

Humans have been in the area for the last eleven thousand years. Give or take. The Chumash, for instance, were principally in the Santa Barbara area ranging down to modern day Ventura. But they well may have had an outpost or two within the bounds of what we call Los Angeles. However the first people we know lived within what we call Los Angeles are the Tongva peoples. They lived within the LA basin. As a footnote, also ranged out to the Channel Islands. They probably have been in LA for the past thirty-five hundred years.

The Europeans arrived in 1542 when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo planted a Spanish flag, and as happened in many other places, just declared by fiat they owned the land. As they were quite happy to kill anyone annoying enough to disagree, and had the firepower to do so, well, they took over. Under Spanish rule Junipero Serra and the friars started their famous and sometimes infamous missions. From these footholds towns began to emerge. One of which was El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles da Porciunula, the “town of our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula.”

On September 4th, 1781 forty-four settlers arrived. I find it more than interesting that of these folk fully two thirds were of a mixture to one degree or another of African, native American, and European descent. Me, I personally prefer this as the beginning. Certainly there was something magical in that moment.

But. There continue to be more options. From Spain, the area passed into Mexican hands in 1821. And one of the truly wonderful personalities comes along then. Everyone should know a little about the magnificent Pio Pico.

And then as part of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, the area became part of the United States. And two years later, a couple of months before California became a state the City was legally incorporated on this day, the 4th of April, 1850.

Of course the immigrants continued. Tongva and Chumash folk had already been joined by people of African and European descent, as well as other indigenous peoples. Then Chinese immigrants. (Actually there is some evidence the Chinese had visited long before, but left no settlements, so…) And from that the whole of Asia, indeed, pretty much the whole of the world has found some form of connection to LA. And today Los Angeles is the second largest city in the country, by population, and, wildly, the most diverse.

One may say a lot about Los Angeles, good and ill, beautiful and ugly, and no doubt its all true.

And, here’s the deal. If you want to know the future of the American nation, all you have to do is visit LA. From where I’m standing, taking it full, it looks pretty good.

For one of its many faces…

Or, perhaps this…

Or, perhaps…








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