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Los Angeles History

Los Angeles was introduced as an American City on April 4th, 1850. Mobs, gangs and other illegally explicit groups made home to the newly Americanized city of L.A. Davis (1990) described Los Angeles as being undoubtedly the toughest town in the entire nation. Garriques (1990) explained that this was especially evident through the rate of homicide throughout the city.

The homicide rate between 1847 and 1870 averaged around thirteen murders per annum ten times the amount occurring in New York City. Los Angeles Chinatown was the site for most of the violence and murders occurring in the city. In the late 1870s Los Angeles was no bigger than a small town of little over 5.000 people.

In 1900, the small town grew to a small city of 100,000 people according to the United States Census. LA’s direct competitor, San Francisco had a very established Railroad and Terminal Hub. Several affluent businessmen started to promote Los Angeles founding the first Los Angeles Bank, Farmers and Merchants bank in 1870. The Central Pacific Railroad was formed in the late 1800s. Oil was located in Los Angeles in 1892. Los Angeles became a major player in oil production in the early 20th century. In 1901, the Pacific Electric Railway was formed in 1901. It had over 1,000 miles in tracks and could be accessed through inter-urban hubs in Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood. At its peak, it was the largest electric railroad.

Davis (1990) states that during the Second World War, Los Angeles grew into a town for aviation. Thousands of African Americans and European African Southerners’ had migrated to the city to fill the in demand factory jobs. By the 1950s, Los Angeles was the industrial and financial giant. This was caused by the production and migration of individuals created by the war. In addition, Los Angeles was producing more cars, tires, furniture and garments then any other city.

Urban sprawl was very evident during the 20th century, the San Fernando valley was coined “America’s Suburb”. During the 1980’s Los Angeles implemented a subway system stretching from North Hollywood to Union Station. Economic changes were in full force during the late 20th century. The last of the automobile industries shut down in the 1990s along with the tire factories and various mills. Television and film still was located in the heart of Los Angeles including CBS television and 20thCentury Fox. In the 1990’s various new low paying jobs emerged within the city. Los Angeles witnessed an influx of immigrants.