Escondido ( /ˌɛskəndiːdoʊ/ es-kən-dee-doh; Spanish for "hidden") is a city occupying a shallow valley ringed by rocky hills, just north of the city of San Diego, California. Founded in 1888, it is one of the oldest cities in San Diego County. The city had a population of 143,911 at the 2010 census. Its municipal government set itself an operating budget limit of $426,289,048 for the fiscal year 2010-2011. The city is known as Eskondiid in Diegueño. A 2005 nationwide study of the most conservative cities in America ranked Escondido #11 out of 25.
The Escondido area was first settled by the Luiseño, who established campsites and villages along the creek running through the area. They named the place "Mehel-om-pom-pavo." The Kumeyaay migrated from areas near the Colorado River, settling both in the San Pasqual Valley and near the San Dieguito River in the southwestern and western portions of what is now Escondido. Most of the villages and campsites today have been destroyed by development and agriculture.
Spain controlled the land from the late 18th century to the early 19th century, and established many missions in California to convert the indigenous people. When Mexico gained its independence from Spain, the local land was divided into large ranchos. Most of what is now Escondido occupies the former Rancho Rincon del Diablo("Devil's Corner"), a Mexican land grant given to Juan Bautista Alvarado (not the governor of the same name)in 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena. Alvarado was a Regidor of Los Angeles at the time, and the first Regidor of the pueblo of San Diego. The southern part of Escondido occupies the former Rancho San Bernardo, granted in 1842 and 1845.