||Relation of the Voyage of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, 1542-1543
||Bolton, Herbert Eugene (editor). Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916). Pages 3-39.
||39 / 0
The authorship of this narrative of the Cabrillo Expedition is
uncertain, but modern scholars consider it likely that chief pilot
Bartolomé Ferrelo wrote it; the earlier editors of this English
translation ascribed it to Juan Páez. The expedition commander,
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo (died 1543), was born in Andalucia,
Spain, perhaps as early as 1500. He became an accomplished sailor
and a Spanish conquistador. In 1542, Spanish Viceroy Antonio de
Mendoza directed Cabrillo to explore the northwest coast of New
Spain, including Baja California and the modern state of California.
Their mission included claiming land for Spain, searching for resources,
gold, and other treasure, and investigating whether a Northwest
Passage existed between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Cabrillo Expedition, 1542-1543
Cabrillo and chief pilot Bartolomé Ferrelo sailed two ships from
the Port of Navidad, Mexico, on June 27, 1542, and crossed the Sea
of Cortes to the Baja California peninsula. Sailing north along
the west coast of Baja California, the ships arrived at the bay
of present-day San Diego, which Cabrillo named the bay of San Miguel,
on September 28, 1542. They established Spanish claim to the California
coast, naming various sites and occasionally going ashore to take
possession of the land in a formal ceremony. On November 14 the
ships arrived at Northwest Cape near Fort Ross just north of present-day
Santa Rosa. A storm forced them to turn back and return to San Miguel
Island in California, where they wintered until January 19, 1543.
Cabrillo was injured in a fall at their winter camp and died there
from gangrene in January 1543. Bartolomé Ferrelo, the chief pilot,
took command of the fleet and eventually led the expedition north
along the California coast to the border with Oregon. They probably
did not sail further north than Point Arena, California. Stormy
weather and low supplies forced the fleet to return to their home
in Port Natividad, Mexico, on April 14, 1543.
Manuscript copies of the diary are in the Archivo General de Indias
in Seville, Spain, and the Muñoz Collection. The diary was published
in Spanish in Buckingham Smith, Colección de Varios Documentos
para la Historia de la Florida y Tierras Adyacentes (London,
1857). An English translation was published in Richard Stuart Evans,
Report upon United States Geographical Surveys West of the One
Hundredth Meridian (Washington, 1879). This translation comes
from Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest,
1542-1706 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916).
Other Internet and Reference Sources
Douros, Basil S. “Early Uses of Resources.” Monterrey Bay National
Marine Sanctuary Site Characterization. http://bonita.mbnms.nos.noaa.gov/sitechar/rechist.html
Hughart, Kathy and Bill White. Early Exploration of San Diego,
1542 to 1769 (California History & Culture Conservancy,
National Park Service. “Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo — A Voyage
of Discovery.” Cabrillo National Monument (March 19, 2000).
San Diego Historical Society. “Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo.” San
Diego Biographies. http://www.sandiegohistory.org/bio/cabrillo/cabrillo.htm