Cardiff-by-the-Sea, usually referred to as Cardiff, is a beach community in the incorporated city of Encinitas in San Diego County, California. The Pacific Ocean is to the west of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the rest of incorporated Encinitas is to the east and north, and a beach and lagoon to the south. With a population of under 12,000, Cardiff-by-the-Sea operates as part of the city of Encinitas, but unlike the other communities that comprise Encinitas, has its own ZIP code (92007). Cardiff is home to a few well-known surf spots, such as Swami's and Cardiff Reef.
The first inhabitants were the Native Kumeyaay Indians, referred to as the Diegueño by the Spanish. In 1769 the Spanish started colonizing this area with the construction of the Spanish Missions. The First Settlement was by the Mackinnon family in 1875. In 1909 this farming community began to be developed when Boston developer J. Frank Cullen purchased land from the MacKinnons. For $30 a lot, one could buy land and build new homes. Frank Cullen's wife, a native of Cardiff, Wales, persuaded him to name the community "Cardiff-by-the Sea", as well as many streets, such as "Birmingham", "Oxford", "Chesterfield" and "Manchester", despite heavy Spanish influence in the area. In 1986, "Cardiff" joined with the nearby communities of Leucadia, Olivenhain, and Encinitas to form the incorporated city of Encinitas.
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