Harbor City is a highly diverse neighborhood within the Los Angeles Harbor Region of Los Angeles, California, with a population upward of 36,000 people. Originally part of the Rancho San Pedro Spanish land grant, the 2.58-square-mile Harbor City was brought into Los Angeles as a preliminary step in the larger city's consolidation with the port cities of Wilmington and San Pedro.
The area includes two high schools and seven other schools, as well as the Ken Malloy Harbor Regional and two other parks. There is a Kaiser Permanente Hospital as well. The Los Angeles Basin was the ancestral land of the Tongva-Gabrieliño Native Americans for thousands of years. In other areas of the Los Angeles Basin archeological sites date back 8,000 to 15,000 years. Their first contact with Europeans was in 1542 with João Cabrilho (Juan Cabrillo), the Portuguese explorer who also was the first to write of them. Shwaanga, a very large Tongva settlement in the Harbor area, was also a departure point for rancherias on the Channel Islands. The water at Machado Lake was so clean that it used to be called "Sweet Water." The Tongva lived in a virtual paradise for thousands of years, with good weather, an abundance of food and water, and plenty of resources. In 1542, the Spanish arrived in the Catalina (Pimu’nga) and San Pedro (Chaawenga, Palos Verdes-Chowiinga) harbor areas.
Following the establishment of San Pedro as the main source for the port in Santa Monica in 1897, Los Angeles city leaders argued that direct control over the port areas would be mutually beneficial by providing San Pedro and Wilmington with larger funding and in turn allowing the city to garner more revenue via the increasing port trade. The two cities were initially reluctant to join, but in 1906, frustrated by the indecision of San Pedro and Wilmington leaders, the city of Los Angeles purchased a long and narrow swath of land that connected then-South Los Angeles to San Pedro, naming the two regions Harbor Gateway and Harbor City. City leaders then threatened to build a new port in Harbor City if the recalcitrant towns would not acquiesce to annexation. Both agreed by 1909. In return, the city of Los Angeles elected to keep Harbor City as a land-locked part of the main city, linking the metropolis to its newly-won ocean trading centers.
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