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Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana was a Spanish land concession in present day Orange County, Californiamarker given by Governor José Joaquín de Arrillaga in 1810 to Jose Antonio Yorba and his nephew Pablo Peralta.


Juan Pablo Grijalva, a Spanish soldier who traveled to Alta California with the De Anza expedition, was the original petitioner for the lands that became known as the "Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana". He died before the grant was approved and the lands went to his son-in-law, Jose Antonio Yorba and his grandson, Juan Pablo Peralta.

On July 1, 1810, land later named Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana was granted to Jose Antonio Yorba and his nephew Pablo Peralta by Governor José Joaquín de Arrillaga on behalf of the Spanish Government This was only two and a half months before the start of the war for Mexican Independence .

The grant extended eastward from the Santa Ana River to the mountains, (Santa Ana Mountains), with a length of more than 22 miles. This was the only land grant in present day Orange Countymarker given under Spanish Rule which were rare during this time. The surrounding land grants or ranchos were granted by the Mexican government after Mexican independence in 1821.

Jose Antonio Yorba built an elaborate adobe hacienda, El Refugio (the Refuge), located near present day First and Sullivan Streets in west Santa Anamarker.

In 1854, the Yorba family sold Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana to José Andrés Sepúlveda. Sepulveda later lost the land due to bankruptcy caused by fighting to uphold his land claims in court. In 1869, William Spurgeon and Ward Bradford purchased of the ranch to form the city of Santa Anamarker, which then became the seat of government for the County in 1889. The ranch further disintegrated with purchases by James Irvine among others.

Historic sites of the Rancho

Modern development of the Rancho

Besides Santa Ana, other cities and unincorporated communities formed on the old Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana are El Modenamarker, Santa Ana Heightsmarker, Orangemarker, Costa Mesamarker, Tustinmarker, and Olivemarker.

The Rancho Santiago Community College District is located in Santa Ana and is composed of Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon Collegemarker in Orange.


  1. Spanish and Mexican Ranchos of Orange County
  2. Dominguez (1985), pg. 11.
  3. Davila, Amelia L., (1893)
  4. Beers, Henry Putney, (1979)
  5. Santa Ana Historic Timeline
  6. Dominguez (1985), pg. 11
  7. Pleasants, Adelene (1931)


  • Beers, Henry Putney, (1979). "Spanish & Mexican Records of the American Southwest : A Bibliographical Guide to Archive and Manuscript Sources", Tucson : University of Arizona Press
  • Davila, Amelia L., (1893). "Historic Yorba", Santa Ana Weekly Blade
  • Dominguez, Arnold O., (1985). "José Antonio Yorba I", 2nd Ed., Orange County Historical Society
  • Pleasants, Adelene (1931). "History of Orange County, California. Vol. 1", Los Angeles, CA : J. R. Finnell & Sons Publishing Company

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