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San Pedro is a port district of the city of Los Angeles, California, United States. It was annexed in 1909 and is a major seaport of the area. The district has grown from being dominated by the fishing industry to become primarily a working class community within the city of Los Angeles.
Ethnically diverse, San Pedro was a magnet for European immigrants from various countries for years, reflected in the number of restaurants representing diverse cuisines, especially Croatian, Portuguese, Mexican, Italian, and Greek. San Pedro is home to the largest Italian-American community in Southern California, centered on the “Via Italia” (South Cabrillo Avenue). Estimates state that the community numbers about 45,000 Italian-Americans. San Pedro is also considered the heart of the Croatian and Norwegian communities in Los Angeles.
A large portion of San Pedro is also composed of Mexican-Americans, Hispanic immigrants and African-Americans with long-time roots in the community. Much of their populations are based in the older, east side of the community surrounding the downtown area and bordering the Port of Los Angeles.
Until February 1942, San Pedro was home to a vibrant Japanese immigrant community of about 3,000 people who lived in what had been described as a ” typical Japanese Fishing Village” on Terminal Island (East San Pedro). These Japanese immigrants pioneered albacore fishing out of San Pedro Bay and harvesting abalone off of White Point, thus leading the way in establishing a viable fishing industry in San Pedro. The 48-hour forced expulsion of these San Pedro residents and the razing of their homes and shops, as part of the Japanese-American internment during World War II, is described in Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston’s memoir Farewell to Manzanar.