Los Angeles officially the City of Los Angeles, often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in the U.S. state of California and the second-most populous in the United States, after New York City, with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621. It has a land area of 469 square miles (1,215 km2), and is located in Southern California. The city is the focal point of the larger Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana metropolitan statistical area and Greater Los Angeles Area region, which contain 13 million and over 18 million people in Combined statistical area respectively as of 2010, making it one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the World and the second-largest in the United States. Los Angeles is also the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated and one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the United States, while the entire Los Angeles area itself has been recognized as the most diverse of the nation's largest cities. The city's inhabitants are referred to as Angelenos.
Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood. Nicknamed the City of Angels, Los Angeles is a global city, with strengths in business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, medicine and research and has been ranked sixth in the Global Cities Index and 9th Global Economic Power Index.
The city is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. The Los Angeles combined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third-largest in the world, after the Greater Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles includes Hollywood and leads the world in the creation of television productions, video games, and recorded music; it is also one of the leaders in motion picture production. Additionally, Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984.
The Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the Tongva (or Gabrieleños) and Chumash Native American tribes thousands of years ago. A Gabrielino settlement in the area was called iyáangẚ (written Yang-na by the Spanish), meaning "poison oak place". Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese-born explorer, claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire in 1542. Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769.
In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra directed the building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the first mission in the area. On September 4, 1781, a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores" founded the pueblo called "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula"; in English it is "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Porciúncula River". The Queen of Angels is an honorific of the Virgin Mary. Two-thirds of the settlers were mestizo or mulatto with a mixture of African, indigenous and European ancestry. The settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820, the population had increased to about 650 residents. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles.
Important landmarks in Los Angeles include Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Angels Flight, the Kodak Theatre, the Griffith Observatory, the Getty Center, the Getty Villa, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Sign, the Bradbury Building, Hollywood Boulevard, the Capitol Records Building, Los Angeles City Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the Theme Building, Battleship Iowa, the Watts Towers, the Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, La Placita Olvera/Olvera Street and the Children's Hospital Los Angeles Sunset Bridge.
Museums and galleries
There are 841 museums and art galleries in Los Angeles County. In fact, Los Angeles has more museums per capita than any other city in the world. Some of the notable museums are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (the largest art museum in the Western United States), the Getty Center (part of the larger J. Paul Getty Trust, the world's wealthiest art institution), the Battleship Iowa, and the Museum Of Contemporary Art. A significant number of art galleries are located on Gallery Row, and tens of thousands attend the monthly Downtown Art Walk there.
As home to Hollywood and its entertainment industry, numerous singers, actors and other entertainers live in various districts of Los Angeles.