Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in California. It has an estimated population of nearly 4 million, and is the second-largest city in the United States, after New York City, and the third-largest city in North America, after Mexico City and New York City. Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic and cultural diversity, Hollywood entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolitan area.
Los Angeles lies in a basin in Southern California, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, with mountains as high as 10,000 feet (3,000 m), and deserts. The city, which covers about 469 square miles (1,210 km2), is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States. The Los Angeles metropolitan area (MSA) is home to a population of 13.1 million, making it the second-largest metropolitan area in the nation after that of New York. Greater Los Angeles includes metro Los Angeles as well as the Inland Empire and Ventura County. It is the second most populous U.S. combined statistical area, also after New York, with a 2015 estimate of 18.7 million people.
Home to the Chumash and Tongva, the area that became Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542. The city was founded on September 4, 1781, under Spanish governor Felipe de Neve, on the village of Yaanga. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and thus became part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood. The discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The city was further expanded with the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, which delivers water from Eastern California.
Los Angeles has a diverse and robust economy, and hosts businesses in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. It also has the busiest container port in the Americas. In 2018, the Los Angeles metropolitan area had a gross metropolitan product of over $1.0 trillion, making it the city with the third-largest GDP in the world, after Tokyo and New York City. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the 2028 Summer Olympics.
The economy of Los Angeles is driven by international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, video games, music recording, and production), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. Other significant industries include finance, telecommunications, law, healthcare, and transportation. In the 2017 Global Financial Centres Index, Los Angeles was ranked as having the 19th most competitive financial center in the world, and sixth most competitive in the United States (after New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C.).
One of the five major film studios, Paramount Pictures, is within the city limits, its location being part of the so-called “Thirty-Mile Zone” of entertainment headquarters in Southern California.
Los Angeles is the largest manufacturing center in the United States. The contiguous ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together comprise the busiest port in the United States by some measures and the fifth-busiest port in the world, vital to trade within the Pacific Rim and vital to Los Angeles escorts.
The Los Angeles metropolitan area has a gross metropolitan product of over $1.0 trillion (as of 2018), making it the third-largest economic metropolitan area in the world, after Tokyo and New York. Los Angeles has been classified an “alpha world city” according to a 2012 study by a group at Loughborough University.
The Department of Cannabis Regulation enforces cannabis legislation after the legalization of the sale and distribution of cannabis in 2016. As of October 2019, more than 300 existing cannabis businesses (both retailers and their suppliers) have been granted approval to operate in what is considered the nation’s largest market.