Our City's Spanish Rancho Heritage

Although Carson is a young city - incorporated in 1968, it has a long and colorful history.
Mission Bells Some 200 years earlier, in the 1760's, when the first European explorers set foot on Southern California soil, a Spanish soldier named Juan Jose Dominguez was part of that fabled Portola expedition. A few years later, when Franciscan missionaries began their journey on foot to establish the chain of California Missions, Juan Dominguez accompanied Father Junipero Serra as part of the small band of military men who helped to protect the padres.

When Senor Dominguez retired in 1782, after thirty years of service, he was rewarded by a gift from the Spanish governor of California: the very first land grant in the history of California - a vast expanse of 75,000 acres of land, which he named Rancho San Pedro. It stretched from the Los Angeles river all the way west to the Pacific Ocean, encompassing what today would be the cities of Carson, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Lomita, Wilmington, and parts of San Pedro.
Spanish Rancho The center of this vast landhold was the Dominguez Rancho homestead, located in what today is the eastern portion of Carson, known as Dominguez Hills. It is here that his nephew built the historic Dominguez Ranch Adobe in 1826, which still stands today as a proud monument to Carson's romantic past.
Vaquero Sketch During the rancho period in Old California's history, vast herds of cattle roamed the hills and plains of the Los Angeles region, tended by vaqueros on horseback (cowboys, some of whom were recruited from the local Indian tribes), who marked the animals with the special lemon-shaped brand of the Dominguez Rancho.

The cattle hides were sold to ships which docked at the San Pedro harbor (as documented in Richard Henry Dana's masterpiece, "Two Years Before the Mast"), in return for dollars and merchandise the sailing ships brought from Europe. The rancho era lasted until the 1860's, when a disastrous series of droughts destroyed the cattle herds.
The Dominguez ranch home was also the site of a notable battle during the U.S. war with Mexico (see below).

Click here to learn more about the Rancho Dominguez Adobe.
Mexican War Poster
For more information about the Mexican-American War, click here



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Carson, CA 90745
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