Los Angeles is the largest city in California. With a 2020 population of 3,898,747, it is the second-largest city in the United States, following New York City. Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic and cultural diversity, Hollywood film industry and sprawling metropolitan area.
The City of Los Angeles lies in a basin in Southern California, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, and extends through the Santa Monica Mountains and into the San Fernando Valley, covering a total of about 469 square miles (1,210 km2). It is the seat of Los Angeles County, which is the most populous county in the United States with just over 10 million residents in 2020.
History The Los Angeles coastal area was settled by the Tongva (Gabrieleños) and Chumash tribes. Los Angeles would eventually be founded on the village of iyáangẚ or Yaanga (written “Yang-na” by the Spanish), meaning “poison oak place.”
Maritime explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire in 1542 while on an official military exploring expedition moving north along the Pacific coast from earlier colonizing bases of New Spain in Central and South America. Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769.
The city is divided into many different districts and neighborhoods, some of which were incorporated cities that merged with Los Angeles. These neighborhoods were developed piecemeal, and are well-defined enough that the city has signage marking nearly all of them.
Los Angeles is a charter city as opposed to a general law city. The current charter was adopted on June 8, 1999, and has been amended many times. The elected government consists of the Los Angeles City Council and the mayor of Los Angeles, which operate under a mayor–council government, as well as the city attorney (not to be confused with the district attorney, a county office) and controller. The mayor is Eric Garcetti. There are 15 city council districts.
The city has many departments and appointed officers, including the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), and the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL).
The charter of the City of Los Angeles ratified by voters in 1999 created a system of advisory neighborhood councils that would represent the diversity of stakeholders, defined as those who live, work or own property in the neighborhood. The neighborhood councils are relatively autonomous and spontaneous in that they identify their own boundaries, establish their own bylaws, and elect their own officers. There are about 90 neighborhood councils.
Residents of Los Angeles elect supervisors for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th supervisorial districts.