Moreno Valley is a city in Riverside County, California, and is part of the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Metropolitan Area. A relatively young city, its rapid growth from the late 1980s to the early 2000s made it the second-largest city in Riverside County by population, and one of the Inland Empire's population centers. As of the 2010 census, the population was 193,365. The city is closely tied to Riverside, California, the county seat and largest city in the county, which borders Moreno Valley directly to the west. Moreno Valley is also part of the Greater Los Angeles area.
The city derived its name from the small community of Moreno, which became part of the city of Moreno Valley when the city was incorporated in 1984. Frank E. Brown, one of the founders of Moreno in 1882, declined to have the town named after him, so to honor him instead, the town was named Moreno, Spanish for brown.
The Moreno Valley area was first inhabited 2,300 years ago. There are at least 200 prehistoric archaeological locations within the city. The majority of the sites are milling stations - where chaparral seed was the dominant milling activity. Rock art, consisting of pictographs, and petroglyphs are present - though most of the petroglyphs in Moreno Valley consist of boulders with "cupules", or cup-shaped holes pecked into them.
Spanish scouts initially came across descendants of the Shoshone, and Luiseño tribes; although other groups, such as the Serrano and Cahuilla were in the area.