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: 54

Tags: Angeles, Assisi, Francis, Franciscan, Friar, L.A., LA, Los, Order, Porciúncula, More…St., angels, city, history, of

Comment

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

Join San Pedro News Pilot

Call (323) 200-9052 to learn more or click here to send an email.

San Pedro Weather

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 IconCentral San Pedro Neighborhood Council
APPLICATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR VACANT BOARD SEAT ON CENTRAL SAN PEDRO NEIGHBOR- HOOD COUNCIL.  APPLICATIONS DUE OCTOBER 28, 2014.  Download here. See More
15 hours ago
Profile IconSan Pedro News Pilot via Facebook
Thumbnail

Live Band Karaoke

sanpedronewspilot.com

Come sing with the band. Live Band Karaoke is in the house every Thursday night at Godmothers Saloon.

Facebook17 hours ago · Reply
Mark Groveman posted an event
Thumbnail

Live Band Karaoke at Godmothers Saloon

October 23, 2014 at 8pm to October 24, 2014 at 1am
Come sing with the band. Live Band Karaoke is in the house every Thursday night at Godmothers Saloon.See More
18 hours ago
Heather Caine posted events
yesterday
Ronnie Turbane posted an event
Thumbnail

Coffee Talk @ The Corner Store at San Pedro

October 25, 2014 from 3pm to 4pm
It takes a village to win an election!  San Pedro is the spearhead of ALL the communities in the 70th AD.You are cordially invited to stop by for conversation and coffee with John Goya. Meet the only candidate running who is educated as a Chemical Engineer and understands the dynamics surrounding community concerns for Port business & the safety of the Rancho LLC project in San Pedro.   John has attended commission meetings on behalf of San Pedro residents and is acknowledged as an expert. …See More
yesterday
Profile IconCentral San Pedro Neighborhood Council
Mayor’s Volunteer Corps Kick Off- Saturday Oct 25 See More
yesterday
Heather Caine promoted Ariana De La Roca's event Christmas Tree and Wreath Fundraiser
yesterday

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street promoted Ariana De La Roca's event Christmas Tree and Wreath Fundraiser
Monday

© 2014   Created by San Pedro News Pilot.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service