It may well surprise you to know that the celebrated city of Los Angeles in California, nowadays known as the mecca of cinema and residence of the great Hollywood stars, was founded in 1781 by a man hailing from Bailén, by the name of Felipe de Neve Padilla. Felipe founded The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels (‘los ángeles’) of the River of Portiuncula: a name which has been shortened over the years to Los Angeles.
De Neve was born in 1728 in Bailén, beginning his military career in the Cantabria Infantry Regiment at the age of 20.
After honing his skills in multiple battles, and demonstrating his remarkable impetus and courage, he left for Mexico to defend the New Spain by order of Carlos III, thus beginning a new stage that dictate the course of the rest of his life.
In 1774, he was appointed Governor of the Californias, carrying out wide-ranging duties in the service of colonisation.
His political career reached its pinnacle when he was placed at the head of the General Command of the Internal Provinces, rising to the rank of brigadier of the Royal Armies in 1783. Only a year later, Felipe de Neve died. History has come to view his disappearance as one of the main factors to provoke the crisis that would quickly affect the internal provinces and expansion projects of Spain through the American west.