California’s Orange County: A Brief History

Orange County is a prominent part of California home to the cities of Anaheim and Irvine. People know it as being where Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are located. This county has grown over the years to become one of the most intriguing places in the state.

The Orange County area was originally occupied by the ancestors of the Juaneno and Gabrielino tribes. Spain set up the first modern colony in the county in the mid-eighteenth century. Mission San Gabriel was established in the region in 1771 not long after Don Gaspar de Portola traveled through the area. Mission San Juan Capistrano was formed in the area in 1776.

The land became the property of Mexico in 1821 after that country broke away from Spain. The United States would receive the land in 1848 following the Mexican War. The region eventually became a popular space for inhabitation during the gold rush of 1849. The area would soon become a part of Los Angeles County as California officially became a state in 1850. The region continued to grow as the cities of Santa Ana, Tustin and Westminster would be formed in the 1860s and 1870s.

Silver mining became popular in 1887 following the discovery of this metal in the Santa Ana Mountains. In 1889, Orange County was officially formed as the population kept on growing in the area. Orange County was established as the state government cut off the portion of Los Angeles County that the land mass is located in.

The Orange County name was created to promote immigration into the area. The name suggests that oranges and other citrus fruits can grow well in the area, thus making it perfect for anyone aiming to move into the area to make a living. Many citrus, avocado and berry farms were established in the county over the years with the boysenberry farm run by Walter Knott being among the more prominent spaces.

Orange County became a popular place for celebrities during the early days of Hollywood. The Pacific Electric Railway trolley linked Los Angeles up to Santa Ana and Newport Beach, thus making it easier for celebrities to set up their weekend homes and retreats in the county.

Orange County continued to grow during the mid-twentieth century. The Santa Ana Freeway created a major road for people to use when getting around the Los Angeles area.

In 1955, the Disneyland amusement park opened up. The park has made Orange County a popular tourist attraction the world over.

Many master planned communities were established in the county in the 1960s. These prominent communities include Irvine, Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel and Ladera Ranch. Today there are 34 incorporated cities situated around the county.

Orange County has grown over the years to be one of the most populated counties in the United States. With a little more than three million people, Orange County is the sixth-largest county in the country by population.

Things to do in Orange County