Description[edit | edit source]
Inhabiting the Santa Barbara Channel Islands and the southern California coastline between Malibu and Paso Robles inland towards the San Joaquin valley, the Chumash lived in large permanent villages and maintained a semi-monetised economy. These villages came to be ruled by hereditary chiefs, who could be male or female. At time of contact, the population was likely 8-18,000 people, though perhaps as high as 22,000. The Spanish established five missions in Chumash land. As a result of disease and other byproducts of colonial rule, the population fell to less than 3,000 in 1831.