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In the late 18th century, when the area was associated with a large amount of land situated along the lower basin of the Rio Hondo area in Los Angeles County, Bell Gardens was once a bustling agricultural center for Californios during the Spanish Empire, 1509–1823, the Mexican government, 1823–1848, and the United States, after the Mexican-American war concluded in 1848.
Among those early Spanish settlers was one of California’s first families, the Lugos.
While stationed at Mission San Antonio de Padua near Salinas, California, Francisco Lugo’s son Antonio Maria Lugo was born in 1783.
In 1810 Antonio Lugo, a 35-year-old corporal in the Spanish army, was given the 29,514-acre (119.44 km) Rancho San Antonio land grant.
The population was 42,072 at the 2010 census, down from 44,054 at the 2000 census.