California was ruled by Spain until 1822 when Mexico assumed jurisdiction. One of the King's soldiers, Don Francisco Sepulveda, made a petition to the King for a grant through the Viceroy of Mexico City. In 1839, Sepulveda was granted a substantial amount of property - 30,000 acres of “mountains, mesa and shore land” by the Governor of the Californias, Juan Alvarado. The property was called the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica (the Ranch of Saint Vicente and Saint Monica). Sepulveda was granted use of the land only; he could use it in the name of the King for as long as he and the King had the arrangement. However, Sepulveda also petitioned the government of Mexico for confirmation to the title of his property. Mexico, as you might imagine, was happy to grant title to land that had been "loaned" by the Spanish king. Consequently, Sepulveda and his family became the first known non-sovereign owners of the land and inhabited the property for another 33 years.
To be continued...:)