The Tongva people are also known as the Gabrielinos. They
received this name from the Spanish after the San Gabriel Mission
. It has been proven that the Gabrielinos inhabited the area
for at least 7000 years. Their land area extended about 9000
square miles. They preferred to live on high ground under the
shelter of Oak trees. They also lived on the coastal plains,
and near the banks of the coastal rivers.
They were well known for their beautiful arts and crafts
. By 500 A.D. they were at the height of bone, shell, and stone
technology. The Gabrielinos were the second wealthiest tribe
in all of California. They learned to build canoes from the neighboring
tribe the Chumash and they soon became masters of the craft.
The Spanish wanted to strengthen their power along the
coast of California and in 1770 Father Junipero Serra was commanded
to establish a chain of missions from San Diego to San Francisco
bay. San Gabriel mission was the northern most mission under
the jurisdiction of the presidio at San Diego. The mission was
founded on good terms with the natives. In all there were 21
missions founded, and two were founded within the Gabrielino
territory - the Mission of San Fernando and the San Gabriel Mission.
Their establishment ended the Tongva way of life.