Irvine is one of the newest cities in southern California. Officially incorporated on December 28, 1971, Irvine is a planned city which is located on the site of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Irvine is consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in America.
Irvine is also home to 5 different California institutions of higher education and 4 satellite campuses. The University of California, Irvine, Concordia University, Irvine Valley College, the Orange County Center of the University of Southern California and Brandman University are located in Irvine. The satellite campuses of Alliant International University, California State University Fullerton, University of La Verne and Pepperdine University are also located in Irvine.
- 4th best place to live in the United States in 2008, according to CNNMoney.com
- 5th best city in the United States in September 2011, according to Businessweek
- Lowest violent crime rate among cities in the United States with populations of more than 100,000
- 7th highest median income among cities in the United States with populations of more than 65,000, according to the Census Bureau, August 2008
- 2012 population 223,729
- 98th largest city in the United States, according to the United States Census Bureau
- Population Breakdown:
- White Persons 50.5%
- African American Persons 1.8%
- Native American Persons 0.2%
- Asian Persons 39.2%
- Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian Persons 0.2%
- Hispanic or Latino persons 9.2%
Even though Irvine is a relatively new city, it sits on the site of a rich historic tradition. Archeological research has established that prehistoric man lived in the Irvine area at least 12,000 years ago, possibly even 18,000 years ago. 2000 years ago Irvine was the home of the Gabrielino Indians.
In 1769 the area now known as Irvine was settled by Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola. After the settlement became official, the Spanish began building forts and missions and raising herds of cattle on the rich plains surrounding the area. These rich plains were soon parceled out by the King of Spain under a few, large, private land grants. After gaining independence from Spain, the Mexican government assumed control of these parcels and began distributing ranchos to Mexican citizens who applied for grants.
After the conclusion of the Mexican-American War the Treaty of Guadalupe was signed and California was annexed to the United States. This annexation brought uncertainty to the land owners who now had to reapply to the Board of Land Commissioners to get valid title to their ranchos. The sheer sizes of the families and the lands made this process confusing and difficult.
Finally, in 1868, the rancho was dissolved and divided among Benjamin and Thomas Flint, Llewellyn Bixby and James Irvine. Soon after, the owners of the 50,000-acre Rancho San Joaquin and the 47,000-acre Rancho Lomas de Santiago sold their acreage to Irvine, Flint and Bixby. By the end of 1878, James Irvine acquired his partners’ interests making his combined property ownership 110,000 acres which stretched 23 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Santa Ana River.
During World War II, two Marine Corps air facilities were built on the land. In 1959, the University of California’s consulting architect, William Pereira, and Irvine Company planners drew up master plans for a city of 50,000 people surrounding the university. On December 28, 1971, the residents of these communities voted to incorporate the city of Irvine.
A rich history, impressive location and low crime rate make Irvine a city that will continue to grow and prosper.