History Of San Diego

San Diego Historical Society traced back the beginnings of human settlement in the place as early as 20,000 BC. Historians of San Diego believe that hunting people following bison, caribou and mammoth herds traveled from northeast Asia and passed through the Bering Strait to reach the American continent.

Anthropologists tracking signs of early habitation also estimated that humans might have been in San Diego region in 20,000 BC.

The early history of San Diego dates back 7500 BC, when original inhabitants referred to as the San Dieguito Paleo-Indian settled in the place. The San Dieguito people assimilated the ways of the intruding La Jollan people. La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is sitting near a major archeological site that provided historical data during this period.

Between 1000 BC and 1000 AD, people speaking the Yuman language subdued the original La Jollan cultural group. This explains why the Indians living near the San Diego Mission and San Diego central are found to be of Yuman stock. The Kamia and Yuma tribes in the east are also traced to be of Yuman stock. After 1000 AD, the northern San Diego area was inhabited by Yuman and Shoshonean migrants. These peoples are known today as the Luiseño, the Cahuilla, the Cupeño and the Ipai.

Spanish colonization of the Mexican region began in Columbus’ “discovery of the world” in 1492. Spanish conquistadores made milestones in the colonization in the years 1513 (Balboa), 1519 (Cortes’reached Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City), 1535 (Cortes lands in La Paz, the beginning of Spanish colonization of the California region), and 1542 (Cabrillo sails from San Salvador to San Diego Bay).

Sebastian Vizcaino, Father Junipero Serra, Gaspar de Portola, Jose Antonio Aguirre, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, Juan Antonio Cabrillo and Don Miguel de Pedrorena are listed as the pioneers of San Diego in the Hispanic era. These names are the Spanish historical figures in San Diego whom the city named its major parks and freeways today. That is why we can find Cabrillo freeway, Balboa Park, Balboa Avenue, and the like.

Prominent leaders of San Diego include Andrew Belcher Gray (1820-1862), an engineer, is noted to be the founder of modern San Diego. He conceived a plan to build a port and subdivide the vast tract land. Gray and a young lieutenant named Thomas Denton Johns who served as his assistant were considered unsung heroes in the history of San Diego. William Heath Davis, who comes from a ship-owning family, is another pioneer who founder New Town in 1850. Anti-slavery activist Richard Henry Dana, founder of the Free-Soil Party, is another recognize pioneer.

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