Yorba Linda History

Historic Documents

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close this bookThe Yorba Legacy
by James V. Granitto, Mary Ruth Erickson, Shakunthala S. Rajan,
Yorba Linda Public Library
View the documentDedication
View the documentThank You
View the documentChapter 1 - Gabrielino Indians
View the documentChapter 2 - The Yorba Linda Family
View the documentChapter 3 - Historic Sites in Yorba Linda
View the documentChapter 4 - Yorba Linda's Early Years
View the documentChapter 5 - Becoming a City - Incorporation
View the documentChapter 6 - Richard M. Nixon
View the documentChapter 7 - Yorba Linda's Early Settlers
View the documentChapter 8 - Important Dates in Yorba Linda's History
View the documentFacts About Yorba Linda

Chapter 1 - Gabrielino Indians

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The history of Yorba Linda began long before the European and Spanish explorers came to America. Discoveries show that there may have been Indians in the Yorba Linda are as early as 4,000 years ago.

Spanish explorers came to California in 1542. Father Junípero Serra started building missions along the coast of California. In 1771 the San Gabriel Mission was built. Those Indians who lived in what is now North Orange County and Los Angeles County were part of the San Gabriel Mission, so they were called Gabrielinos.

The early Indians had fair skin. When the Spanish first saw them, they called the “White Indians.” They were very strong, healthy, and peaceful.

They lived in villages of 50 to 200 people. One of their villages was located near Bernardo Yorba's adobe near the corner of Esperanza Road and Imperial Highway. Their round houses were made of poles covered with dry grass, ferns, and tree branches. They married Indians from other villages who were not Gabrielinos. Old men and women acted as teachers. Young men [5] hunted for food and protected the tribe from wild animals. Women gathered food and made baskets and sandals. The tribe's favorite food was acorn bread. They also ate small animals, seeds, nuts, snakes, and insects.

In the evenings they danced and sang songs. They had a large collection of myths and folklore that had been handed down for centuries.

Indian life changed completely with the coming of the Spanish explorers. From across the sea the explorers carried diseases such as smallpox and chicken pox, and many Indians became sick and died. Those who lived joined the missions so that they would have food and shelter. When the missionaries left, many joined the large ranchos. They were seen on these lands until Bernardo Yorba died. Then they disappeared. One of the oldest North American Indian cultures had passed into history. [6]

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