Riverside was first founded during the 19th century and is best known for its role within the California citrus industry. The Serranos and the Cahuillas inhabited for the first time the site of what is now Riverside. The first official record of the area was recorded in the 1770s, after the exploration of Juan Bautista De Anza. However, it was officially founded much later, in 1869, although some sources claim that it was not founded until the 1870s.
It was in 1873 when seedless oranges were planted from Brazil, and Riverside's mild climate and other conditions were found to be favorable for orange cultivation, leading to a thriving citrus industry. Less than ten years later, nearly half of the state's 500,000 citrus trees were located in Riverside. Riverside County is included in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Metropolitan Statistical Area, also known as the Inland Empire. The county is also included in the Los Angeles-Long Beach Combined Statistical Area.
Roughly rectangular, Riverside County covers 7,208 square miles (18,670 km) in Southern California, stretching from the Los Angeles metropolitan area to the Arizona border. Geographically, the county is mostly desert in the central and eastern parts, but has a Mediterranean climate in the western part. Most of Joshua Tree National Park is located in the county. The resort towns of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and Desert Hot Springs are located in the Coachella Valley region, in the center of Riverside County.
When Riverside County was formed in 1893, it was named after the city of Riverside, the county seat. The city, founded in 1870, received its name because of its location next to the Santa Ana River. The indigenous peoples of what is now Riverside County are the Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla Indians. The Luiseño territory includes the Aguanga and Temecula basins, the Elsinore Depression and the eastern Santa Ana Mountains and south to San Diego County.
The territory of Cahuilla is located east and north of Luiseño, in the interior valleys, in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains and the Salton Sink Desert. The first European settlement in the county was a ranch or farm of the Saint Louis King Mission of France in the Luiseño village of Temescal. In 1819, the Mission granted Leandro Serrano permission to occupy the land for grazing and agriculture purposes, and Serrano established Rancho Temescal. Serrano was butler of San Antonio de Pala Assistance for the San Luis Rey Mission.
The new county was created out of parts of San Bernardino County and San Diego County. In, seventy percent of voters approved the formation of Riverside County. Voters chose the city of Riverside as the county seat, also by a wide margin. Riverside County was officially formed on, when the Board of Commissioners presented the final ballot count.
Riverside County was an important focal point of civil rights movements in the United States, especially the African-American sections of Riverside and the heavily Mexican-American communities of the Coachella Valley, visited by Cesar Chavez of the agricultural union struggle. There is a diversity of flora and fauna within Riverside County. Vegetative plant associations have a lot of desert flora, but there are also wooded areas within the county. California's endemic blue oak, Quercus douglasii, is found in the southernmost part of its range in Riverside County.
In the county, the population was dispersed, with 30.3 per cent under 18, 9.2 per cent from 18 to 24, 28.9 per cent from 25 to 44, 18.9 per cent from 45 to 64 and 12.7 per cent aged 65 and over. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 women, there were 99.1 men. For every 100 females age 18 and older, there were 96.8 men.
The municipal departments within the county are Banning, Beaumont, Blythe, Calimesa, Cathedral City, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, Hemet, Indio, Menifee, Murrieta, Palm Springs, Riverside, Riverside Community College. The table below includes the number of reported incidents and the rate per 1,000 people for each type of crime. Amtrak trains stop at Riverside and Palm Springs, and Amtrak California offers bus connections to San Joaquins at Riverside, Beaumont, Palm Springs, Thousand Palms, Indio, Moreno Valley, Perris, Sun City and Hemet. Riverside County has 12 federally recognized Indian reservations, linking it to Sandoval County, New Mexico, by the second county in the United States.
However, Sandoval County has two additional co-use areas, shared between reserves. San Diego County, California has the most, with 18 reservations. When California's initial 27 counties were established in 1850, the area now known as Riverside County was divided between Los Angeles County and San Diego County. Riverside County voted 64.8% in favor of Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages.
The Riverside County Sheriff provides judicial protection, prison administration, and forensic services for all of Riverside County. Riverside County is organized as a general law county under the provision of the California Government Code. . .