The first residents of the area known a Rancho
Santa Margarita were Shoshonean Native Americans
called Acjachemen. This area was purchased in
1843 by Juan Forster who renamed it "La Victoria."
In 1864 Forster added Rancho Santa Margarita to
his already vast land holdings. The cost of managing
so much land left Forster in debt, and when he
died, his heirs sold much of the land that he
had worked so hard to acquire.
land was sold to James C. Flood and Richard O'Neill,
Sr. After acquiring all the property 'on a handshake',
O'Neill deeded his land holdings to his son, Jerome,
under whose leadership the ranch grew to 230,000
acres and spanned three counties. These holdings
were incorporated under the name of Rancho Santa
Margarity Company. After O'Neill's death in 1926,
the land was left to heirs who incorporated the
land into developed communities, including Mission
Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita.
to be an "Urban Village," Rancho Santa Margarita
offers the best of two worlds: all of the elements
and advantages of a small city plus the quality
of life of a small village. In 1996 the Celebrating
the Vision Committee developed Rancho Santa Margarita's
Vision Statement: "A Small City with the Soul
of a Small Village."
along the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains,
the city incorporated on January 1, 2000, and
became the 33rd city in the County of Orange.
The City has a population of over 49,000.