Los Angeles: Where did our city name originate?

"El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula" (Yes, that's the original.) I've lived here almost half my life and I did not know. I never took the time to investigate until now.
In 1769, a Franciscan friar who was exploring California named a river "Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de la Porciúncula".  In English it means "Our Lady of the Angels of Porciúncula".  That was just the name of the river.
Now for the city.  As a settlement was established, along the banks of this river with the long name, it came to be known as (brace yourself) "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula", or "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Porciúncula River".  A very small town with a very long name!  And, in the naming of the town, the Virgin Mary went from "Our Lady of the Angels" to "Queen of Angels".
Here is the cool historical part. Porciúncula is the most sacred place of the Franciscan Order of the Roman Catholic Church. Actually, it is still a small church in Italy which is now located inside of a larger church called the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. The basilica is located near Assisi, Italy in Umbria (central Italy) and it is the place where the Franciscan movement originated. "Porciúncula" actually means "small portion of land" and the humble church, of the same name, is where St. Francis of Assisi died.
Needless to say, this lengthy and descriptive name for our city was obviously, and officially, shortened to just "Los Angeles". Sometimes I wonder why certain words remained over time and others just dropped away. Why did they not retain "our lady" (Nuestra Señora) or "our queen" (Nuestra Reina) to whom the angels actually belong?  I imagine "Porciúncula" was jettisoned early on (sorry Saint Francis). I can't even fake pronounce it in my head.
In spite of the reduced word count, our city name remains in Spanish and it means "The Angels".  As you know, we don't even say "Los Angeles" very much anymore. We just say "L.A.".  Maybe in the future it will morph again into a short grunt or quick hand gesture to save time. In any case, now we know the origins. I feel better.

Views: 97

Comment

You need to be a member of San Pedro News Pilot to add comments!

Join San Pedro News Pilot

San Pedro News Pilot by email - sign up!

Delivered by FeedBurner

What is the SanPedroNewsPilot.com?

The SanPedroNewsPilot.com is the social network and information outlet for San Pedro.

Want to keep up with the news in San Pedro, become a member.


 

Membership has its privileges!

• Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.
• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Got video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of the new storefront or the school play? Upload them.

Latest Activity

Profile Icon via Twitter
ICYMI: #PortofLA handled 826,640 units of #cargo in January 2017 - an increase of 17.4% compared to January 2016.… https://t.co/wVvRgz122c
Twitter13 hours ago · Reply · Retweet
Profile Icon via Twitter
View on-demand webcasts of archived meetings of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners at https://t.co/0guTwYWN52
Twitter13 hours ago · Reply · Retweet
Profile Icon via Twitter
The USCG Captain of the Port enforces regulations within #PortofLA facilities and waterways. @uscoastguard @uscglosangeles
Twitter14 hours ago · Reply · Retweet
Profile Icon via Twitter
#PortofLA has made the #environment a priority by executing initiatives focused on better air quality, clean water… https://t.co/5zncC7f5nj
Twitter17 hours ago · Reply · Retweet
Profile Icon via Twitter
On-dock rail takes trucks off the road and loads cargo directly onto trains from #PortofLA terminals. https://t.co/3auETr72yz
Twitter18 hours ago · Reply · Retweet
Profile Icon via Twitter
Did you know #PortofLA is a department of the City of Los Angeles (Los Angeles Harbor Department) with approx. 1,000 employees? @Citylajobs
Twitter18 hours ago · Reply · Retweet
Profile Icon via Twitter
If you’re a bookworm who’s interested in #LAHistory, here’s a list of books published about the #PortofLA: https://t.co/HxmQcPScvC
Twitter19 hours ago · Reply · Retweet
Profile Icon via Twitter
Since 2009, #PortofLA's #cleantruck program has resulted in a 90% reduction of diesel particulate pollution.… https://t.co/royAxzg80T
Twitter19 hours ago · Reply · Retweet

© 2017   Created by San Pedro News Pilot.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service