History of Newport Beach California 2018-07-18T16:53:25+00:00

History of Newport Beach California

Newport Beach is a city that is located in the seaside area of Orange County, California. It is also the home of Newport Harbor and it has earned a reputation of being the playground of the famous and rich thanks to its rich history, beaches, yachts, luxury homes and restaurants.

The first recorded history of this seaside town indicates that the region initially began after the Europeans explored it in the early 1500s. However before the European exploration began, it’s the native Americans i.e. the Luiseno/Juaneno and the Tongya who lived in this region for thousands of years. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first explorer to map the coastline of this area in 1542, 200 years before the Europeans started settling in this region. He is the first sailor to sail along Newport Beach’s coast and Sebastian Vizcaino mapped the coastal area of the Spanish Empire in 1602.

Don Jose Yorba I (1746 to 1825) also popularly known as Jose Antonio Yorba, was an important early settler and soldier of the Alta California i.e. Spanish California who was born in the of San-Sadurni d’Anoia, a Spanish Province in Catalonia. Don Jose Yorba I was one of Fage’s first Catalan volunteers and he became a corporal under the rule of Gaspar de Portola when the Spanish Expedition was happening in 1769. In 1777, he worked in San Francisco, 1782 in Monterey, and 1789 in San Diego. After retiring in 1797 as a sergeant, he was awarded a massive portion of land by the Spanish Empire in 1810 and this land comprised a very big portion of what is known today as Orange County. Yorba I’s great rancho comprised of the lands where cities such as Villa Park, Orange, Costa Mesa, Olive, Tustin, Santa Ana and Newport Beach are found today.

During this Spanish period, most Ranchos used to trade hides for goods from the New England with American Merchants found in Boston. They also traded with the European and English merchants and this continued throughout the Mexican-Period (between 1823 and 1848) where many immigrants were coerced with land if they changed their citizenships to Mexican and converted to the Catholic religion. It is during this period that thousands of the Anglo-Immigrants got married to Spanish families and they acquired and inherited ranchos as well as lands.

After the civil war ended, this area was mainly developed by two American Settlers; James McFadden who did shipping and James Irvine who focused on ranching. A small human settlement was built in the area around the McFadden’s (the present day Newport Pier), and it expanded and turned to be the largest business in the Orange County. After the San-Pedro Harbor was opened in Los Angeles in 1899, McFadden’s commercial shipping business in Newport started to decline. However, more and more people began to visit Newport Beach, California because of the sandy beaches, yachts, the coastal weather and the city developed into a recreational-boating community and a renowned tourist destination. Developments started to increase after the Pacific Electric Railway decided to set a terminus here in 1905 and in 1906, Newport Beach was incorporated as a seaside city.