Temėcula /təˈmɛkjʊlə/ is a city in southwestern Riverside County, California, United States, with a population of 100,097 during the 2010 census and an estimated 2013 population of 106,780. It was incorporated on December 1, 1989. Temecula is bordered by the City of Murrieta to the North and the Pechanga Indian Reservation and San Diego County to the south. The City of Temecula forms the southwestern anchor of the Inland Empire region.
The city is a tourist destination, with the Temecula Valley Wine Country, Old Town Temecula, the Temecula Valley Polo Club, the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, the Temecula Valley International Film Festival, championship golf courses, and resort accommodations for tourists which contributes to the city's economic profile.
The area was inhabited by the Temecula Native Americans for two years before their contact with the Spanishmissionaries (the people are now generally known as the Luiseños, after the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia). The Pechanga Band of Luiseño believe their ancestors have lived in the Temecula area for more than 10,000 years. In Pechanga mythology, life on earth began in the Temecula Valley. They call it, "Exva Temeeku", the place of the union of Sky-father, and Earth-mother ("Tuukumit'pi Tamaayowit"). The Temecula Indians ("Temeekuyam") lived at "Temeekunga" – "the place of the sun".
The first recorded Spanish visit occurred in October 1797, with a Franciscan padre, Father Juan Norberto de Santiago, and Captain Pedro Lisalde.Father Santiago kept a journal in which he noted seeing "Temecula ...an Indian village". The trip included the Lake Elsinore area and the Temecula Valley.
Today, over 1,000 Native Americans (this may mean tribal members, but includes those whose families were categorized "Spanish" and/or "Mexican" in the late 1800s/early 1900s) live in the Temecula Valley. The wine industry was founded by the Californios; colonial Spanish settlers planted grapes and vineyards well-suited for the climate. The vineyards were then adapted by Anglo-American settlers and European immigrants from Spain, Italy and France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.