"The Land of Sand!" Top 5 Page for this destination Lancaster by ATXtraveler

Lancaster Travel Guide: 61 reviews and 148 photos

Antelope Valley History

Before there was a Palmdale or Lancaster, there was a place called Palmenthal and a place called Harold. But, many hundreds of years ago, before either of these settlements existed, the Kitanemuk Indians occupied the area. They were hunters and gatherers, depending almost entirely on the natural productivity of the land. They did not farm or practice animal husbandry, but they did trade with the Chumash of Santa Barbara, and apparently ranged the foothills of the Antelope Valley. It is believed that many other tribes probably were in the Antelope Valley at one time or another, including the Yokuts, Chumash and Shoshone.

There were no permanent communities on the Valley floor. Instead, the Antelope Valley provided an Indian trade route from Arizona and New Mexico to the California coast. The Indian population of California was estimated to be 133,000 in 1770, just before the mission era. But by 1910, they numbered about 16,350. The Indian population of the Antelope Valley consisted of just a few families in 1910.

Although California was discovered in the sixteenth century, it was not until the later part of the eighteenth century that it began to be explored. There is conflicting evidence as to who was the first white man in the Antelope Valley, but the first recorded historical accounts of travelers and explorers credit Captain Pedro Fages as being the first white man to set foot in the Antelope Valley in 1772. He was an officer in Portola's expedition and was traveling westward along the San Andreas Fault searching for deserters from the Spanish army. Father Garces, a Franciscan Friar, crossed the western end of the Antelope Valley in 1776. He was traveling from the Colorado River to the five coastal missions then in existence.

  • Last visit to Lancaster: Jun 2004
  • Intro Written Jun 28, 2004
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  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2007 at 9:24 AM

    Yay, we both got top 5 for Lancaster finally....LOL! Good job!!!

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