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Rancho Los Nietos was one of the first, and the largest, Spanish land concession in Alta Californiamarker. Located in present day Los Angeles County, California and Orange County, Californiamarker,it was awarded to Manuel Nieto in 1784. The rancho remained intact until 1834, when governor Figueroa officially declared the Rancho Los Nietos grant under Mexicanmarker rule and ordered its partition into six smaller ranchos.Today, parts of Long Beachmarker, Lakewoodmarker, Downeymarker, Norwalkmarker, Santa Fe Springsmarker, Whittiermarker, Fullertonmarker, Huntington Beachmarker, Bolsa Chica State Beachmarker, Seal Beachmarker, Anaheimmarker, Buena Parkmarker, Garden Grovemarker, Artesiamarker and Cerritosmarker are located on what was once Rancho Los Nietos.


Spanish grant

In 1784, Spanish governor Pedro Fages granted to Manuel Nieto, a former sergeant in the Spanish army, provisional use of all land between the Santa Ana River and the Los Angeles River from the San Gabriel Missionmarker to the sea.

The original grant was , but the San Gabriel Missionmarker contested the Los Nietos grant on the grounds that it encroached upon the southern portion of its property. A decision in favor of the mission was reached and Rancho Los Nietos was reduced to nearly half of its original size, but still leaving Corporal Nieto with . At first it was called La Zanja, but later it was known simply as Rancho Los Nietos.

Upon Manuel Nieto's death in 1804, Rancho Los Nietos passed to his wife and four children.

Mexican declaration and partition

The rancho remained intact until 1833, when the Nieto heirs petitioned Mexican governor Jose Figueroa for a partition and distribution of the land. In 1834, governor Figueroa officially declared the Los Nietos grant under Mexican rule and ordered its partition into six smaller ranchos.

1834 Partition of Rancho Los Nietos
Name Size Disposition
Los Alamitos Juan Jose Nieto
Las Bolsas Catarina Ruiz (widow of Jose Antonio Nieto)
Los Cerritos Manuela Nieto de Cota and her husband Guillermo Cota
Los Coyotes Juan Jose Nieto
Santa Gertrudes Josefa Cota (widow of Antonio Maria Nieto)
Palo Alto unknown Juan Jose Nieto

Rancho Palo Alto was the smallest of the six ranchos. It is unknown exactly where or how large was Rancho Palo Alto as it did not appear on the partition map. It included the Coyote Hills and most of the Arroyo de los Coyotes, and may have been combined into Rancho Los Coyotes.


  1. * Spanish and Mexican Ranchos of Orange County
  2. Buena Park Historical Society
  3. HARRISON v. ULRICHS et al., (Circuit Court, Southern District California, August 12, 1889)

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