Ranchos of California

Ranchos Of California

The Spanish and, later, Mexican governments encouraged settlement of territory now known as California by the establishment of large land grants called ranchos, from which the English word ranch is derived. Land-grant titles (concessions) were government-issued, permanent, unencumbered property-ownership rights to land called ranchos. Devoted to raising cattle and sheep, the owners of the ranchos attempted to pattern themselves after the landed gentry of Spain. Their workers included Californian Native Americans who had learned to speak Spanish, many of them former Mission residents. Of the 800-plus grants, Spain made about 30 between 1784 and 1821. The remainder were granted by Mexico between 1833 and 1846. The ranchos established land-use patterns that are recognizable in the California of today. Rancho boundaries became the basis for California's land survey system, and can still be found on modern maps and land titles.

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