Cerritos (formerly known as Dairy Valley because of the preponderance of dairy farms in the area) is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, and is one of several cities that constitute the Gateway Cities of southeast Los Angeles County. It was incorporated on April 24, 1956. The current OMB metropolitan designation for Cerritos is "Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA." According to the 2010 US Census, the population was 49,041.
Cerritos was originally inhabited by Native Americans belonging to the Tongva people (or "People of the Earth"). Later, the Tongva would be renamed the "Gabrieleños" by the Spanish settlers after the nearby Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. The Gabrieleños were the largest group of Southern California Indians as well as the most developed in the region. The Gabrieleños lived off the land, deriving food from the animals or plants that could be gathered, snared, or hunted, and grinding acorns as a staple.
Beginning in the late 15th century, Spanish explorers arrived in the New World and worked their way to the California coast in 1542. The colonization process included "civilizing" the native populations in California by means of establishing various missions. Soon afterwards, a town called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (Los Angeles today) would be founded and prosper with the aid of subjects from New Spain and Native American labor.