Casino Guide | Kumeyaay Reservations | History | Research | About .mobi | Music

KUMEYAAY: 12,000-year history in San Diego, California

HARD ARCHEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE clearly suggests the Kumeyaay Indians have lived in the greater San Diego and northern Baja California Mexico area for some 12,000 years!

That's 7,500 years BEFORE the Great Pyramid of Giza was built!

That's 600 generations in San Diego!

FIRST EUROPEAN EXPEDITION known to visit San Diego, in 1542, was a Spanish sailing expedition led by the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.

Historical accounts record that Juan Cabrillo passed by Point Loma as he sailed his 16th century ship into what is now called San Diego Bay. Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma is named after him.

Historical accounts reflect the Pre-Contact Kumeyaay were thriving populations of indigenous Americans who, by archeological criteria, were still living in the Stone Age with no use of metals and no cloth fabrics.

FIRST EUROPEAN IMMIGRANT SETTLERS arrived in California, 1769, and first settled in the ancient Kumeyaay village of Kosa'aay (Cosoy), known today as Old Town in San Diego, CA, at the base of Presideo Hill.

SPANISH ARRIVAL 1776, it is estimated the California Indian population was over 150,000 strong — up until which time the Kumeyaay were living off the land in harmony with nature, developing their unique North American tribal culture over THOUSANDS of years, including their native Yuman (Hokan) languages.

One of the most famous Spanish explorers of this period was Gaspar de Portolà i Rovira, the founder of San Diego and Monterey, Calif.

By 1798 the SPANISH MISSIONS (map), immigrants and military had expanded into Kumeyaay territory causing continual friction and bloody, murderous fighting between the Kumeyaay and the non-native invaders which continued well beyond the Mexican War of Independence (1810-1821).

By 1822 the Kumeyaay had lost control of all their COASTAL TRIBAL LANDS to the Spanish; the Spanish had been defeated by the Mexicans in the Mexican revolutionary war; and San Diego had officially come under Mexican rule.

KUMEYAAY ATTACKS 1836-1842 on the now Mexican San Diego territory were to put down the abusive Mexican domination in the greater San Diego area and reclaim ancient Kumeyaay coastal lands and water rights.

In 1846 the United States Government declared war against Mexico, the Mexican American War (1846-1848).

The US-Mexico Border cut through the heart of Kumeyaay ancestral lands and to this day the 'border situation' effectively alienates the southern Kumeyaay in Mexico from their northern Kumeyaay relatives in the United States.

By many credible historical accounts, the ensuing U.S. Government and California state and local militia control over the Kumeyaay were blatantly genocidal to the California Indian peoples.

Likewise, the CALIFORNIA SPANISH MISSION SYSTEM was also disastrous to the ageless California Indian spirit and timeless culture — similar to the national Indian Boarding Schools in government attempts to assimilate Native American Indians into "civilized society" during this dark, bloody chapter in early American history.

"In California, the genocide of Native tribes was done in the name of the church."

- Source and more info:


Of the 16,000 surviving California Indians in 1900 — only around 1,000 Kumeyaay Indians are believed to have survived the turn of the 20th century in San Diego County — and all but their least desirable tribal lands had been taken by settlers, state and federal officials.



SEE OUR .mobi RESEARCH BRIEF for information about Kumeyaay Language, Sovereignty, Tribe.

SEE OUR .mobi KUMEYAAY MAPPING for the locations of Kumeyaay reservations, websites and contact info.

Terms of UsePrivacy StatementSite Map
Kumeyaay Indians HomeAbout UsMission StatementPress KitContact Us