Of immediate appeal to anyone interested in the history of Los Angeles, this hybrid map and bird’s-eye-view elegantly delineates land claims in Los Angeles as existed before the conclusion of the Mexican-American War and the inclusion of California as part of the United States. It was drawn in 1937 by Gerald A. Eddy, working with the important collection of land claim files of the Title Insurance and Trust Company. In the romantic style of the interwar period, Eddy has included a variety of splendid scenes, including wagon trains, figures in traditional dress, a ship, and sea beasts, as well as several missions and El Camino Real.
In order to support their military presidios, the Spanish established their first civic pueblos in what is now Los Angeles County in the year 1777. The Spanish era lasted until 1821, when Mexico gained independence from Spain. At the time of the American victory of the Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, there were over three dozen ranchos located in present day Los Angeles County.
The largest of these ranchos was comprised of former San Fernando mission lands, labeled Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando on the map. At the center of the map is the Pueblo of Los Angeles. On either side Eddy has used a lighter shade of green to delineate public lands; lands set aside to allow for common grazing for ranchers to use so they wouldn’t overgraze their own properties.
Each rancho has a fascinating history and this map is an excellent and attractive stepping stone to further study.