is a seaside city in Orange County in southern California, United States. As of the 2006 census, the city population was 194,436. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the southwest, by Seal Beach on the northwest, by Costa Mesa on the east, by Newport Beach on the southeast, by Westminster on the north, and by Fountain Valley on the northeast.
It is known for its long beach, mild climate, and excellent surfing. The waves are a unique natural effect caused by edge-diffraction of ocean swells by the island of Catalina, and waves from distant hurricanes.
The area was originally occupied by the Tongva people. European settlement can be traced to a Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto, who in 1784 received a Spanish land grant of , Rancho Los Nietos, as a reward for his military service and to encourage settlement in Alta California. Nieto's western area was reduced in 1790 because of a dispute with the Mission San Gabriel, but he retained thousands of acres stretching from the hills north of Whittier, Fullerton and Brea, south to the Pacific Ocean, and from today's Los Angeles River on the west, to the Santa Ana River on the east.
The main thoroughfare of Huntington Beach, Beach Boulevard, was originally a cattle route for the main industry of the Rancho. Since its time as a parcel of the enormous Spanish land grant, Huntington Beach has undergone many incarnations. One time it was known as Gospel Swamp for the revival meetings that were held in the marshland where the community college Golden West College can currently be found. Later it became known as Pacific City as it developed into a tourist destination. In order to secure access to the Red Car lines that used to criss-cross Los Angeles and ended in Long Beach, Pacific City ceded enormous power to railroad magnate Henry Huntington, and thus became a city whose name has been written into corporate sponsorship, and like much of the history of Southern California, boosterism.
Huntington Beach incorporated in 1909 under its first mayor, Ed Manning. Its original developer was the Huntington Beach Company, a real-estate development firm owned by Henry Huntington. The Huntington Beach Company is still a major land-owner in the city, and still owns most of the local mineral rights.
An interesting hiccup in the settlement of the district occurred when an encyclopedia company gave away free parcels of land, with the purchase of a whole set, in the Huntington Beach area that it had acquired cheaply. The lucky buyers got more than they had bargained for when oil was discovered in the area, and enormous development of the oil reserves followed. Though many of the old wells are empty, and the price of land for housing has pushed many of the rigs off the landscape, oil pumps can still be found to dot the city.
The city's first high school, Huntington Beach High School was built in 1906. The school's team, the Oilers, are named after the city's original natural resource.