The Inland Empire is a particular metro region and area that is located within Southern California. The term Inland Empire may be used to refer to any city that is a part of Southwestern San Bernardino County and Riverside County. An even more broad definition would include the eastern part of Los Angeles County within the Pomona valley and sometimes the areas of Coachella Valley and Palm Springs. An even larger definition of this term would be Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
The Inland Empire is made up of over 27,000 square miles and has a population of over 4 million people. Most of the population in this area is located within the northwestern Riverside county and southwestern San Bernardino county. During the end of the 19th century, the Inland Empire was a central part of agriculture which included wine-making, citrus and dairy. However, the 20th century saw a decline of agriculture and since the 1970s there has been a rapidly growing population that was fed by families who were moving in search of more affordable housing which led to a more industrial, commercial and residential type of development.
Inland Empire was supposedly to have been used by the Riverside Enterprise newspaper around 1914. The developers within the area most likely introduced the term to help promote the region and highlight the unique features. Originally the area was called the Orange Empire because of the acres of citrus groves that had once extended from the Redlands to Pasadena during the first part of the 20th century.
The Inland Empire has been habited for thousands of years before the 18th century by the Cahuilla, Tongva and Serrano tribes of Native Americans. With the colonization of the Spanish and the Mexican area that was sparsely populated land grants for ranches, it was considered unsuitable for any missions. The first American settlers, who were a group of Mormon pioneers arrived in 1851 through the Cajon Pass. Unfortunately, the Mormons left 6 years later and begun to move to Salt Lake City when following Brigham Young during the war between United States government and the church. Soon, other settlers would follow.
The whole part of Southern California was then divided by Col. Henry Washington in 1852 when it was plotted as part of the Public Land Survey System. The Base Line road which is a major thoroughfare now runs from San Dimas to Highland along the baseline coordinates that were plotted by Col. Henry Washington. San Bernardino county was formed in 1853 out of parts of Los Angeles County. The original partition included what is most of Riverside County, and the region is not quite as monolithic as it sounds. In the 1890s, rivalries between Riverside, San Bernardino, Redlands and Colton over the county seat location caused each one to form a civic community, each with their own newspaper. Then in 1893, Riverside county was allowed to form with approval of the state senate out of land that was a part of San Diego County and San Bernardino county, after they had rejected a bill for Pomona to split from Los Angeles County and become the seat of what would have been San Antonio County.