When most people think of Malibu they think of warm sunny beaches, celebrity mansions, and scenic mountain ranges. But what most people do not know is that Malibu has a rich and ancient history that is overshadowed by their wealth.



    When looking into the history of Malibu, it can be traced back to 2500 BC. The Malibu area we know today was once part of the Chumash Tribe, this was a Native American group that occupied most areas of Southern California during this time-period. Some records even indicate that some artifacts from the Chumash tribe could date as early as 7,000 BC. More specifically, Humaliwo was the name of the Chumash Village, located in present-day Malibu. The word “Humaliwo” translates to “where the surf sounds loudly.” The village of Humaliwo occupied a hill across from the lagoon in Malibu Lagoon State Beach.



    Transitioning from prehistoric California, the Spanish were the first European settlers in California during the 1500s. The first Spanish conquistador to discover California was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542. It is even rumored that Cabrillo moored at Malibu Lagoon, at the mouth of Malibu Creek, to obtain fresh water in 1542. Later on Malibu played an important role in the in Spanish Mission system beginning in 1769. This system was a series of 21 religious outposts founded by Catholic Priests of the Franciscan order to  evangelize the Native Americans. Malibu back then was part of the Rancho Topanga Malibu Seguit, which was used specifically for the Spanish Missions. This was a was a 13,316-acre Spanish Land grant in the Santa Monica Mountains and adjacent coast, within present day Los Angeles County.


    MALIBU DURING THE early 1900S

    Not many roads entered the Malibu area before 1929, then the state won a court case which allowed for the construction of the Pacific Coast Highway. Then in 1926, a small ceramic tile factory opened in Malibu by Mary K. Rindge. This factory employed over 100 workers and it kickstarted the Malibu economy because Malibu tile was very valuable and sought after at the time. This tile factory paved the way for business and Los Angeles locals to move into the Malibu area. The Adamson House, also known as the “Taj Mahal of Tile”, is an early 19th century Spanish house that was built in 1929 within Malibu Lagoon State Beach park. Inside the Adamson House it is fully decorated in all of early Malibu tile, today the Adamson House displays beautiful tile designs and it is considered a California Historical Landmark. In 1932, Malibu suffered heavily from the Great Depression, which caused the destruction of many Malibu businesses including the tile factory. The affects of the depression caused many tycoons to come in and buy most of the Malibu real-estate. Wealthy Businessmen such as William Randolph Hearst bought a large percentage of Malibu real-estate and sold it after the Great Depression, establish the current Malibu neighborhoods we know today.



    Due to the success of LA’s Entertainment industry, Malibu has gained great publicity over the past century. Malibu sparked a movement of wealthy individuals and movie stars to move to the beautiful city, after the creation of Hollywood in the early 1900s. This is why everyone in the world knows about Malibu, even though it is a super small beach town. During the 1900s and into the 2000s, Malibu has been a universal symbol of wealth and prestige.



    Today Malibu is still the same cute beach town located off of the Pacific Coast Highway. Malibu is home to beautiful beach front properties, long haired surfers, and world class shopping/dining. Malibu is home to about 12,000 residents and gets an average of 13 million visitors per year. Malibu has an area of about 20 square miles, and has 21 miles of scenic coastline.


    History Provided by Eddie Scherder

  • Events