County Seal

County Info

Area

  • Total 2,208 sq mi (5,720 km2)
  • Land 1,843 sq mi (4,770 km2)
  • Water 365 sq mi (950 km2)

Highest elevation[2]    8,835 ft (2,693 m)

Population (April 1, 2010)[3]

  • Total 823,318
  • Estimate (2016)[4] 849,738
  • Density 370/sq mi (140/km2)

History

Ventura County was historically inhabited by the Chumash people, who also settled much of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, with their presence dating back 10,000-12,000 years.[11][12] The Chumash were hunter-gatherers, fishermen, and also traders with the Mojave, Yokuts, and Tongva Indians.[13] The Chumash are also known for their rock paintings and for their great basketry. Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks has several reconstructed Chumash houses (‘apa) and there are several Chumash pictographs in the county, including the Burro Flats Painted Cave in Simi Valley. The plank canoe, called a tomol in Chumash, was important to their way of life. Canoe launching points on the mainland for trade with the Chumash of the Channel Islands were located at the mouth of the Ventura River, Mugu Lagoon and Point Hueneme.[14][15] This has led to speculations among archeologists of whether the Chumash could have had a pre-historic contact with Polynesians.[16][17] According to diachronic linguistics, certain words such as tomolo’o (canoe) could be related to Polynesian languages. The dialect of the Chumash language that was spoken in Ventura County was Ventureño.[18]

Several place names in the county has originated from Chumash, including Ojai, which means moon,[19] and Simi Valley, which originates from the word Shimiyi and refers to the stringy, thread-like clouds that typify the region.[20] Others include Point Mugu from the word Muwu (meaning “beach”), Saticoy from the word Sa’aqtiko’y (meaning “sheltered for the wind”), and Sespe Creek from the word S’eqp’e (meaning “kneecap”).[21]