After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolá capitol of New Spain named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana
Mission San Juan Capistrano was established within this valley. This Santa Ana Valley comprised most of what is now called Orange County.
In 1810, year of the commencement of the war of Mexican Independence (1810–1821), Jose Antonio Yorba, a sergeant of the Spanish army, was granted land that he called Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.
Alta California became part of the United States
After the Mexican-American war ended in 1848, Alta California became part of the United States and American settlers arrived in this area.
Claimed in 1869
Claimed in 1869 by Kentuckian William H. Spurgeon on land obtained from the descendents of Jose Antonio Yorba, Santa Ana was incorporated as a city in 1886 with a population of 2000 and in 1889 became the seat of the newly formed Orange County.
Santa Ana Army Air Base
During World War II, the Santa Ana Army Air Base was built as a training center for the United States Army Air Forces. The base was responsible for continued population growth in Santa Ana and the rest of Orange County as many veterans moved to the area to raise families after the end of the war.
Revitalize the downtown
Since the 1980s, Santa Ana has been characterized by an effort to revitalize the downtown area which had declined in influence.