A Pilgrimage West: How Italians Came to Personify the American Dream

Aug 08, 2018 285

Italians and Italian Americans have played an instrumental role in the development of Los Angeles as one of the world’s greatest metropolises, yet the history of Italians in the region is largely unknown. Though Los Angeles is home to the nation’s fifth-largest Italian population today, and the Italian presence in the American West predates the nation’s founding, seldom is the city included in dialogs surrounding contemporary or historic Italian American communities. An examination of the region’s Italian roots reveals both the complexity of the Italian Diaspora and the exceptionally diverse fabric of Southern California’s history.

Long before an Italian community was established in Southern California, Italians influenced the Western United States and stimulated international interest in region. In 1702, the Sicilian Jesuit priest and explorer Eusebio Kino declared that California was a peninsula, not an island as was believed at the time. Nicknamed the “Padre on Horseback,” Kino established twenty missions in present-day Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico. He is also credited with establishing the region’s first vineyard at the San Bruno Mission in 1683.

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SOURCE: https://www.orderisda.org

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