The Presidio has a rich history spanning back to the time of the native Ohlone people. The Spanish arrived in 1776 to establish the northernmost outpost of their empire in western North America. The Presidio fell under Mexican rule for 24 years before the U.S. Army took control in 1846. Over 148 years, the U.S. Army transformed the Presidio grounds from mostly windswept dunes and scrub to a verdant, preeminent military post. In 1962, the Presidio was designated a National Historic Landmark and the site has been part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area since 1994.