||Vizcaíno, Sebastián, 1550?-1615
||Diary of Sebastian Vizcaino, 1602-1603
||Bolton, Herbert Eugene (editor). Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916). Pages 43-103.
||63 / 0
Sebastián Vizcaíno (1550?-1615) was an established merchant in
the trade between Mexico and Asia when he gained the royal license
to explore and settle the Gulf of California. In 1596, he led an
expedition to establish a colony at La Paz and explore the inner
coast of the Gulf. However, he abandoned the project before year’s
end because of severe weather, loss of equipment and supplies, low
morale among the settlers, and other difficulties.
Vizcaíno Expedition of 1602-1603
Spanish galleons engaged in trade between the Philippines and Mexico
returned to Mexico by sailing north to Japanese waters and capturing
westward currents that took the boats to the coast of northern California.
From there they turned south towards Acapulco. The Spanish sought
to establish a port of call on the California coast that would establish
Spanish claims to the area and provide a place where their ships
could stop for repairs and to allow sailors to rest after the voyage
across the Pacific. In 1599, the Viceroy of New Spain selected Vizcaíno
to lead an expedition to explore the California coast to find a
site that would meet these needs. He was to collect detailed information
about weather, shoreline features, water depth, and other resources,
information that would facilitate settlement. Vizcaíno mapped the
California coastline and assigned new names to coastal features
that replaced those Cabrillo had given sixty years before (see AJ-001).
The expedition began May 5, 1602, with two ships, a frigate, and
a long boat moored in the Bay of San Bernabe. They set sail from
Acapulco, Mexico. At Mazatlán, they crossed the Gulf to Cabo San
Lucas and proceeded north along the Baja California coast. On November
10, Vizcaíno reached the place that Juan Rodríquez Cabrillo had
named San Miguel and renamed it San Diego. After ten days charting
the bay, the expedition continued north. On December 14, Vizcaíno
discovered and named Monterrey. From there two of the three boats
proceeded further north. Although Vizcaíno tried to turn around
at Cape Mendocino, a storm blew the ships northward, with one going
as far as Cape Blanco in southern Oregon. On January 21, Vizcaíno
finally did head south, arriving back in Acapulco on March 21, 1603.
The author of this diary is not named, but the attestation at the
end and the descriptions in it suggest that the work was taken from
Vizcaíno’s original ship log. The diary was published in Spanish
in Carrasco and Francisco Guisasola, eds., Documentos referents
al Reconocimíento de las Costas de las Californias desde el Cabo
de San Lucas al de Mendocino recopilados en el Archivo de Indias
(Madrid, 1882). This English translation is 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.
Hughart, Kathy and Bill White. Early Exploration of San Diego,
1542 to 1769 (California History & Culture Conservancy,
San Diego Historical Society. “Sebastian Vizcaíno.” San Diego