West Coast Swing seems to have been born during the late 1930s through early 1950s, the same time-frame of many of the other forms of Swing: East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Balboa, Shag, DC Hand Dancing, TX Push etc). West Coast Swing, as the name implies, was the regional form of Swing dancing in California and the west coast of the United States.
There are many theories on people who influenced the development of West Coast Swing. Some say that Dean Collins, was influential when he arrived in CA in 1937 after learning and dancing Savoy style swing in New York City. Others indicate that Arthur Murray taught people the dance he had learned in California, even though he called it Western Swing (a name that is often misleading since West Coast Swing is not specifically done to country music). The term "Western Swing" remained in many ballroom/studio environments through the 1960s. By the 1970s, the dance was being called California Swing and took on the contemporary music of the time; in 1978, the dance was documented as West Coast Swing; and in 1988, West Coast Swing became the state dance of California.
From the late 1980s through present dance, West Coast Swing has become recognized as one of the most versatile dance forms. Dance events specifically featuring this dance from 1980 to 2000 helped to expose dancers around the country to a dance that can be enjoyed to traditional swing, blues, R&B, some cha-cha, some samba, and a lot of popular/contemporary music. Since 2000, the internet (YouTube) and variety shows such as "30 Seconds to Fame" and "So You Think You Can Dance" have propelled West Coast Swing into the forefront.
Today, West Coast Swing can be found throughout the United States and Internationally. There are instructors, dancers and events in the USA, Canada, France, England, Russia, and Australia.