Whittier is a city in Southern California located within Los Angeles County. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 85,331, reflecting an increase of 1,631 from the 83,680 counted in the 2000 Census, and encompasses 14.7 square miles. Like nearby Pico Rivera, the city constitutes part of the Gateway Cities. Whittier was incorporated in February 1898 and became a charter city in 1955. The city is named for the poet John Greenleaf Whittier and is home to Whittier College.
Whittier's roots can be traced to Spanish soldier Manuel Nieto. In 1784, Nieto received a Spnish land grant of 300,000 acres, Rancho Los Nietos, as a reward for his military service and to encourage settlement in California. The area of Nieto's land grant was reduced in 1790 as the result of a dispute with Mission San Gabriel. Nonetheless, Nieto still had claim to 167,000 acres stretching from the hills north of Whittier, Fullerton and Brea, south to the Pacific Ocean, and from what is known today as the Los Angeles River east to the Santa Ana River. Nieto built a ranch for his family near Whittier, and purchased cattle, horses and planted cornfields. When Nieto died in 1804, his children inherited their father's property.