Sitting between San Diego and Los Angeles lies a beautiful and historic area known as Orange County. Orange county is a 948 square mile area that is home to over three million people, and is the sixth most populous county in the United States. Thousands of people visit “the OC” each year to see its stunning beaches and its two theme parks: Knotts’ Berry Farm and Disneyland. However, many of us may not often think about the history of this Southern California gem. Indigenous Americans from the Shoshonean family, known as the Gabrieleños and the Juaneños, inhabited this area before Spanish colonizers arrived in the 18th century. The Spaniards, who were influenced by Muslims of Spain, developed beautiful architecture including the first building in Orange County, the San Juan Capistrano Mission in 1776. An influx of American settlers in the 19th century established more towns, including Santa Ana, with coastal cities such as Newport Beach and Huntington Beach popping up in the early 20th century. Orange County was officially established in 1889, and given its name so it would sound tropical and Mediterranean to those on the East Coast. Today, Orange County has 37 cities and continues to grow and expand each day.
Learn more by stopping by the newest display in the Leatherby Libraries lobby, and check out the bibliography to the display here: Orange County display bibliography