Tarzana is an affluent neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of the city of Los Angeles, California. Tarzana is on the site of a former ranch owned by author Edgar Rice Burroughs. It is named after Burroughs' storybook jungle character hero, Tarzan.
The area now known as Tarzana was occupied in 1797 by Spanish settlers and missionaries who established the San Fernando Mission. Later absorbed by Mexico, the land was ceded to the United States in 1848 by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the Mexican-American War. Under US rule it evolved into a series of large cattle ranches owned by local elites. Investors took over in the 1870s, turning grazing into large-scale wheat farm operation.
The area was purchased in 1909 by the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company. LA Times founder and publisher General Harrison Gray Otis invested in the company and also personally acquired 550 acres (2.2 km2) in the center of modern-day Tarzana.
In February 1919, Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the popular Tarzan novels, arrived in California with his family, relocating from Oak Park, Illinois. He and his family had wintered in Southern California twice before, and he found the climate ideal. On March 1, Burroughs purchased Otis’s tract and established Tarzana Ranch. Burroughs subdivided and sold the land for residential development with neighboring small farms following suit.