RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA
Native Americans once lived where schools, shopping centers, and residential neighborhoods now stand. On July 23, 1769, they were visited by a Spanish expedition under Captain Gaspar de Portola, who camped near the site of Tijeras Creek Golf Course in Rancho Santa Margarita.
The Spaniards ruled the region until 1821, when California became part of Mexico. The Mexican governors carved the area around the mission San Juan Capistrano into 3 large ranchos, one of which was Rancho Santa Margarita. The area remained fairly remote until 1986, when the 1st homes in the new master planned community of Rancho Santa Margarita were sold. The economic boom of the 1980s also fueled home construction in nearby Dove Canyon, Robinson Ranch, Wagon Wheel, and a handful of smaller developments. The area became better linked to the rest of the county in 1992, when extensions of Oso, Antonio and Alicia Parkways were completed. Rancho Santa Margarita was planned to be an urban village, offering the best of 2 worlds: all the elements and advantages of a small city plus the quality of life of a small village. The City of Rancho Santa Margarita was incorporated on January 1, 2000 and became the 33rd City in the County of Orange.