San Gabriel is a city in Los Angeles County, California. It is named after the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel (which in turn was named for Archangel Gabriel), founded by Saint Junípero Serra. The city grew outward from the mission and in 1852 became the original township of Los Angeles County. San Gabriel was incorporated in 1913. The city's motto is "A city with a Mission" and it is often called the "Birthplace" of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. At the 2010 census, the population was 39,718.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish to Alta California, the area that is now San Gabriel was inhabited by the Tongva Native Americans, whom the Spanish called the Gabrieleño. The Tongva name for the San Gabriel region has been reconstructed as Shevaa.
Today a center for culture and art, the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel (named for Archangel Gabriel), founded by Father Junipero Serra, is the fourth of twenty-one California Missions, and is known as the "Pride of the California Missions."
The Mission San Gabriel Arcángel served a pivotal role in the colonial Spanish society, with many of the area's first Mexican settlers being baptized at the mission, including future governor Pio Pico, who was born in 1801 at the mission and baptized there the same year. He was appointed as California's governor twice, serving briefly in 1832 and again from 1845 through the Mexican–American War. Later in life, he was elected as a Los Angeles City councilman. The city of Pico Rivera was named to honor him as the last governor of California to be born in Mexico.
In 1853, a company of Army Engineers, which included the geologist William P. Blake, passed by the mission in search of the best route for an intercontinental railroad.