Los Angeles Had A Much Longer Name Once

There is a long-standing debate over the city of Los Angeles and its old name, which was issued when it was founded. Some historians say that the original name was El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles. However, others say that Senora la Reyna should be included after Nuestra.

Why The Confusion?

Some of the city’s historic places or commemorative plaques have differing versions of the original name, and historians blame the confusion on those variances. According to the Los Angeles Times, the debate became such a big issue over the years that the Historical Society of Southern California wrote a book about the city’s name history to settle the arguments. However, another publication about the city’s original name only made the dispute grow to the point of turning friends against one another.

The author of one publication about the debate said that a map from 1785 referred to Los Angeles as El Pueblo de la Reyna de los Angeles. King Carlos III ordered the founding of the city, and there is a commemorative statue of him on Olvera Street today. The plaque under that statue uses Reina instead of Reyna for the name. Only steps away from the monument is another plaque that adds Sobre el Rio de Porciuncula at the end of the name. A historian who talked about the subject to the Los Angeles Times said that a priest who was instrumental in the city’s establishment helped create the confusion because he referred to Los Angeles as a city on the banks of the Porciuncula River.

Although the actual name will probably always be a source of contention, each version of it is challenging to memorize. Even its shortened name of Los Angeles is long enough that most Angelinos simply call it L.A. today.