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Carmel History

Well before Europeans settled the area in the 18th century, Carmel was populated first by Esselen, then Ohlone Native American tribes. In 1771, Father Junípero Serra established the Mission San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo, which he’d moved from its original location at the Presidio in nearby Monterey. The Ohlone were effectively decimated by European diseases and harsh conditions enforced by the friars. In 1848, when Mexico ceded California after the Mexican-American War, Carmel became part of the United States. In the late-1800s, various developers worked to subdivide the ranch occupying the land of the future Carmel-by-the-Sea, but it took until 1902 and the Carmel Development Company to establish success in drawing new residents. Many of the new settlers were San Francisco artists inspired by the Monterey Peninsula's stunning coastline. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, many more displaced artists moved to the village, adding to the community. Since then, many famous writers have lived in Carmel, including Jack London, Robinson Jeffers, Sinclair Lewis and Upton Sinclair. The renowned photographers Edward Weston and Ansel Adams lived and worked in Carmel.