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Brea (brāˈə) [key], city (1990 pop. 32,873), Orange co., S Calif.; inc. 1917. It is an industrial, commercial, and residential community in an oil and citrus-fruit area some 30 mi (48 km) east of downtown Los Angeles. Most industries are related to the production and processing of oil. Other manufactures include rubber products, tools, automobile parts, and chemicals. In recent years Brea has attracted insurance, banking, and other white-collar companies. The city developed after oil was discovered (1898), causing an oil boom in the early 1900s, and was an oil center and bedroom community for oil-industry employees into the 1960s. In the late 1990s, Brea undertook the development a new downtown section with apartments, retail stores, and entertainment sites. Of note is the campsite of the Spanish explorer Don Gaspar de Portolá, the first European to visit the area.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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