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The area was originally inhabited by the Luiseno and Pechanga Indian tribes. In the 18th century, the area fell under Spanish rule and was ceded by Mexico to the United States in 1850 as a result of the Mexican-American War.
Farming, which began in the mid-19th century, was concentrated in the Menifee area. Mining began in the early 1880s with the discovery of a significant quartz lode by miner Luther Menifee Wilson, from which Menifee derived its name.
Early development of the City of Menifee began with Sun City in the early 1960s as the concept of an active retirement community was envisioned by Del Webb, a building contractor from Phoenix, Arizona. Sun City is centrally located within the City of Menifee with a mix of residential and commercial activity.
The Menifee area later grew during the late 1980s and into the early 1990s as a master-planned community. However, due to lack of resources such as industry-oriented occupations, and high-density retail and commercial businesses; has made many residents drive longer distances such as Temecula or Murrieta, to shop, dine, and work. There has been substantial growth in Menifee with many new home construction with large lakes, and fine amenities have attracted a lot of residents from the Inland Empire and Los Angeles to live.