Riverside County History

Between the Pacific Ocean and the Colorado River, sharing borders with, San Diego, San Bernardino, Imperial and Orange Counties, lay 7,200 square miles of fertile river valleys, low deserts, mountains of the Riverside County. Stretching almost 200 miles across, this is the largest county by population with a rich historical background which has, over the years, attracted not only tourists, but contributes in its rapid population growth since it was formed in 1893. It was named after the city of river side, and formed form portions of the San Diego, San Bernardino counties.

Although the county has said to be formed in 1893, its history starts way before the Europeans settled in the area. Before the first easterners arrived at the continent, this area was home to some of the most prominent native tribes who thrived on these lands for generations. These tribes include the Serranos, the Luisenos, the Cupenos, the Chemehuevi, and the Cahuillas. This was believed to be sacred land to these people. It wasn’t until 1774 that Juan Bautista de Anza first arrived in the area with his expedition team, after which the lad was slowly occupied by the Spanish who had already begun taking over areas of the continent.

The late 18th centenary brought about further colonization by San Gabriel, San Juan Capistrano, and San Luis Rey, who claimed the land in the name of Spain as the had done with the neighboring areas. Mexico and California was now completely under Spanish rule. The Riverside County, back in the day was used for its fertile nature to grow Grain and raise the cattle which served as a vital food supply for the neighboring regions.

California was under Mexican jurisdiction, so when in 1820, Mexico declared itself independent of the Spanish rule. By 1834, the lands that were previously occupied by the Spanish missions, were given on grants to the Californians who were at the time, Mexican citizens. The first area in the river side county, Rancho Jurupa, was granted to Juan Bandini in 1838.

It wasn’t until 1848 when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed that California finally became a part of the United States. When California finally became a state of its own in 1850, the area suddenly gained popularity for new settlers who belongs to a variety of different backgrounds. Gold miners, entrepreneurs, health-seekers, speculators, politicians, adventurers, people seeking religious freedom all gathered here from across the country in hopes of a better, more peaceful future. This vastly increased the diversity in the area.

The county itself was formed on 9th may 1893, and started off as an agricultural area, but soon evolved into a center for commerce, manufacturing and tourism. This lead to a rapid population growth in the area which has been growing ever since. With a whopping 79% increase in population between the 1980s and the 1990s. By 1992, the population had gone up to 1.3 million people who had made their home in the area. The number of people has almost doubled since then.

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