Long before Juan Cabrillo, the first European to explore California, landed in San Diego Bay, the future community of Jamul was home to the Kumeyaay (Iipai-Tipai-Diegueño) people for most of 12,000 years. With the arrival of Spanish missionaries and settlers to what is now San Diego County, many of them laid claim to land parcels for missions, mining, ranching and agriculture uses.
Rancho Jamul was one of those parcels. Granted to Pío Pico by the Spanish governor of California in 1833 (before it became a territory of the U.S.), the 562,622 acres of Rancho Jamul would eventually be acquired by Henry Stanton Burton in 1854 after marrying María Amparo Ruiz, a daughter of one of the most noted families of Baja, California. María was beautiful and remarkably forthright, making her a voice and force within the community. However, like many early Spanish colonial land grants, Rancho Jamul’s title was constantly in dispute and claimed by various parties. Just prior to her death in 1895, María Amparo Ruiz Burton saw the Rancho partitioned for the many claimants and squatters that simply took possession of a few acres.
Today, Jamul, California is a small rural community that is part of the Jamul/Dulzura Subregion of San Diego County. The Jamul/Dulzura Subregion is approximately 168 square miles and described as being south of Loveland Reservoir and the Sweetwater River, adjacent to and north of the Mexican border and east of the Rancho San Diego land development. Jamul is the largest city in the subregion, which also includes Steel Canyon, Dulzura and Barrett Junction. The population of the subregion is estimated to be approximately 5,000 residents, which includes residents of Jamul Indian Village, home to the Tipai Band of the Kumeyaay tribe.
Despite its quiet rural setting, Jamul is less than 20 minutes from San Diego and all its many attractions and events. Jamul has a number of local attractions as well, including the Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area. Jamul Creek runs through a landscape of tall, shady oaks, creating an excellent backcountry hike for birders and nature photographers. The McGinty Mountain area is also a hiking and natural paradise, and home to a number of rare and endangered plant species, such as California’s Dehesa beargrass.
As the population and development of the eastern suburbs of San Diego continue to increase, Jamul is poised to become one of the city’s new 21st century suburban communities. The citizens of Jamul and the surrounding area are working to manage the inevitable growth of their community so they can maintain their independence and rural character as well as benefit from increased services, commercial opportunities and more jobs.