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My Roots to Los Angeles as a 9th Generation Angelino

A Brief History

A Brief History
Los Pobladores 200
My Santa Barbara Connection
More on LA
Continuing the Legacy
The City of Angels turns 225
LP200 rides LA float at Rose Parade
Misc Pictures
Cousin Felix - RIP
LP200 2012
LP200 2014
New! 2017 DW News interview on multicultural LA

How we all got here...

King Carlos III
King Carlos III

King Carlos III decided a city should be founded for Spain in Alta (upper) California. An earlier fear of English colonists migrating westward and Russian fur traders coming down by way of Alaska initiated the Mission system and established the California coast as Spanish territory. The task was eventually to begin for the recruiting of interested individuals to settle a city far off in the north. From a prior expedition, the area by the Los Angeles river had been deemed a prime location for a settlement.
After traveling by foot for months, 11 families made up of 44 individuals escorted by 4 Spanish soldiers, made their way in two groups northward. These settlers (pobladores) are responsible for giving birth to El Pueblo de la Reyna de los Angeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula, "the town of the Queen of Angels on the Porciuncula River.” Little did they know that their humble pueblo would eventually turn out to become one of the largest and most influential cities in the world. As they say, "the rest is history".
I first became aware of my connection to LA settlers from my cousin Felix Medina. He was an original member of Los Pobladores 200, an organization of descendants of the founding families of Los Angeles which began in 1981, 200 years after the city was born. He presented family members with certificates and genealogy charts detailing our lineages, but at 19 years of age I hardly had an interest in such things. I credit my wife with eventually getting me hooked after she read in the LA Times in the summer of 2004 an article explaining the Pobladores' annual 'Walk to LA' was to occur the coming weekend. I read it also and discovered that this was the same group "Uncle" Felix used to be with and she encouraged me to go and participate. Every year LP200 honors their ancestors by walking the same path that completed their journey from Mission San Gabiel to the Olvera Street plaza, which represents the birthplace of Los Angeles. I agreed it would be fun and I planned to take my son Anthony. Terri was pregnant with our daughter Alex and would have to meet us at the plaza for the ceremony and festivities.

Pobladores' journey
Depiction of the long journey from the Los Angeles Natural History Museum

That week I read everything I could find on the original pobladores - especially Luis Quintero. Quintero is the one I am directly related to and the first thing I discovered about him was that census information listed him as Negro. I had never known it, but Spain brought African slaves in their conquest of Mexico, which of course was not called Mexico back then. (I learned later that at one point there were more African slaves south of the border than on the the US side.) Another surprise was to learn that Quintero was also a sastre (tailor) like Felix. Also, he was the second oldest, 55, to be recruited for the journey. But the thing that became most clear about the pobladores is that they represented the common people. They were not wealthy or of high esteem within society. They were a racially mixed group - half had Negro blood in them. They were descendants themselves of the racially mixed people that began to populate early Latin America as the mixing of races was common practice for European Spaniards, in contrast to Anglo Americans who'd come to force the native peoples they encountered onto reservations. It's interesting to recognize the people of the early pueblo reflects the racial and culturally diverse qualities that make Los Angeles what it is today.

Promo pic of tailor Felix for Los Angeles Magazine

Los Angeles Magazine interview with Felix for LA bicentennial article

aerial view of plaza
Aerial view of the plaza today

Please click here to see the official site of Las Angelitas del Pueblo

Quintero plaque at El Pueblo Historic Monument