The history of Vista begins with the dinosaurs. In ancient times, Vista was an inland sea with prehistoric fish. The evidence of this sea was found when the freeway and the business park were developed.
Historically, the Vista area was settled by a series of Indian groups over a period of several hundred years. Several archeological sites still exist, including a pictograph known as the “Indian Rock.” Also in the 1500’s, Spanish explorers passed through future Vista.
The area changed completely in 1798 with the founding of the San Luis Rey Mission. The local Native Americans were forced to live and work at and for the Mission. What is now Vista was used mostly for grazing land.
The age of the Missions lasted until the independence of Mexico from Spain, the secularization of the Missions and the subsequent granting of land ownership by the Mexican Government to a variety of residents, starting about 1835. This became the time of the “Ranchos.”