California was the site of the nation's first successful oil well in 1892. The well was drilled in the city of Los Angeles and produced about 25 barrels of oil a day. Today, California remains a major oil-producing state.
Imperial County, California, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The earliest known inhabitants of the region were Native American tribes such as the Quechan, Cocopa, and Kumeyaay people. These tribes relied on the fertile land along the Colorado River for hunting, fishing, and agriculture.

In the 16th century, Spanish explorers arrived in the area, claiming the land for the Spanish Empire. However, it wasn't until the 18th century that Spanish missions were established in Imperial County, bringing Catholicism and European influence to the region.

In the mid-19th century, Imperial County was part of the Mexican territory of Alta California. Following the Mexican-American War in the late 1840s, the region fell under American control and became part of the newly established state of California.

The 20th century saw significant developments in Imperial County's history. The completion of the All-American Canal in 1940 transformed the area into a major agricultural center, facilitating irrigation and allowing for the cultivation of crops such as cotton, vegetables, and citrus fruits. The county's economy also grew with the establishment of military bases during World War II, bringing jobs and prosperity to the region.

Today, Imperial County continues to thrive economically, with agriculture remaining a vital industry. The county is also known for its geothermal energy production, as it has vast geothermal resources. Its unique location near the Mexican border also brings a cultural richness and diversity to the area. Imperial County stands as a testament to the region's resilience and adaptability over centuries of change.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Imperial County, California.

  • 1540: Spanish explorers enter the area that would later become Imperial County
  • 1774: Spanish expedition explores the Colorado River and establishes a mission near present-day Ocotillo
  • 1821: Mexico gains independence from Spain, and the region becomes part of Mexico
  • 1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends the Mexican-American War, and the region becomes part of the United States
  • 1893: The Southern Pacific Railroad reaches the area, leading to increased settlement and agriculture
  • 1901: The county of Imperial is established
  • 1905: The Imperial Canal is completed, providing water for irrigation and transforming the region into an agricultural hub
  • 1929: The Salton Sea is accidentally created due to flooding from the Colorado River
  • 1930s: The Great Depression brings economic challenges to the county
  • 1942: The U.S. government establishes the Naval Air Facility El Centro as a training base during World War II
  • 1950s-1960s: The county experiences a population boom due to agricultural expansion and military presence
  • 1980: Imperial Irrigation District signs an agreement to transfer water to San Diego, sparking controversy over water rights
  • 1990s-2000s: The county continues to grow, but faces challenges such as water scarcity and agricultural regulations