Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo
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Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (Portuguese: João Rodrigues Cabrilho; ca. March 13, 1499 – January 3, 1543) was a Portuguese explorer noted for his exploration of the west coast of North America on behalf of Spain. Cabrillo was the first European explorer to navigate the coast of present day California in the United States. He accompanied Francisco de Orozco to subdue the indigenous Mixtec people at what would eventually become the city of Oaxaca, in Mexico. Little is known of what he did there.
Early life 
His nationality was first addressed by contemporary Spanish chronicler Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas, who, in his Historia General de los hechos de los Castellanos en las Islas y tierra firme del Mar Oceano, referred to Cabrillo as Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Português, Still, historian Harry Kelsey, in his exhaustive 1986 biography Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, writes that Cabrillo probably was born in Seville, Spain.
Lapela, in the parish of Cabril and a municipality of Montalegre (Portugal), is the region where allegedly the nickname Cabrilha originated. It became the surname Cabrilho and was pronounced at the time Cabrilhe in Galician and Cabrillo in Spanish, according to the historian João Soares Tavares, biographer of João Rodrigues Cabrilho. The name still exists in Portugal as a surname, and several localities named Cabril in Beira Alta and neighboring regions as Castro Daire, Viseu or Pampilhosa da Serra have also claimed as Cabrillo's birthplace. In Lapela stands an ancient house called today by local people and alleged local descendants of branches of his ancient family with the same surname (Rodrigues Cabrilho), Casa do "Galego" (House of the "Galician") and Casa do "Americano" (House of the "American") where local tradition claims that he was born, as stated on a plaque on a statue of Cabrillo.
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Cabrillo shipped for Havana as a young man and joined forces with Hernán Cortés in Mexico (then called New Spain). Later, his success in mining gold in Guatemala made him one of the richest of the conquistadores in Mexico. According to his biographer Harry Kelsey, he took an indigenous woman as his common-law wife and sired several children, including at least three daughters. Later he married Beatriz Sanchez de Ortega in Seville during a hiatus in Spain. She returned to Guatemala with him and bore him two sons.
In 1539, Francisco de Ulloa, who had been commissioned by Hernán Cortés, discovered the Gulf of California and reached nearly as far north as the 30th parallel. Cabrillo was then commissioned by the new Viceroy of New Spain, Antonio de Mendoza, to lead an expedition up the Pacific coast in search of trade opportunities, perhaps to find a way to China (for the full extent of the northern Pacific was unknown) or to find the mythical Strait of Anián (or Northwest Passage) connecting the Pacific Ocean with Hudson Bay. Cabrillo built and owned the flagship of his venture (two or three ships), and stood to profit from any trade or treasure.
In 1540 the fleet sailed from Acajutla, El Salvador, and reached Navidad, Mexico, on Christmas Day. While it was in Mexico, Pedro de Alvarado went to the assistance of the town of Jalisco, which was under siege by hostile Indians, and was killed when his horse fell on him, crushing his chest. Following Alvarado's death the viceroy of Mexico took possession of Alvarado's fleet. Part of the fleet was sent off to the Philippine Islands under Ruy Lopez de Villalobos and two of the ships were sent north under the command of Cabrillo.
On 27 June 1542, Cabrillo set out from Navidad (in Jalisco) in New Spain with three ships: the 200-ton galleon and flagship San Salvador, the ship La Victoria (c. 100 tons), and the lateen-rigged, twenty-six oared "fragata" or "bergantin" San Miguel. On 1 August Cabrillo anchored within sight of Cedros Island. Before the end of the month they had passed Baja Point (named "Cabo del Engaño" by de Ulloa in 1539) and entered "uncharted waters, where no Spanish ships had been before". On 28 September, he landed in what is now San Diego Bay and named it "San Miguel". A little over a week later he reached Santa Catalina Island (7 October), which he named "San Salvador", after his flagship. On sending a boat to the island "a great crowd of armed Indians appeared" — whom, however, they later "befriended". Nearby San Clemente was named "Victoria", in honor of the third ship of the fleet. The next morning, October 8, Cabrillo came to San Pedro Bay, which was named "Baya de los Fumos" (English: Smoke Bay), after the burning chaparral that raised thick clouds of smoke. The following day they anchored overnight in Santa Monica Bay. Going up the coast Cabrillo saw Anacapa Island, which they learned from the Indians was uninhabited. On 18 October the expedition saw Point Conception, which they named "Cabo de Galera". The fleet spent the next week in the northern islands, mostly anchored in Cuyler Harbor, a bay on the northeastern coast of San Miguel Island.
Cabrillo's expedition recorded the names of numerous Chumashan villages on the California coast and adjacent islands in October 1542 — then located in the two warring provinces of Xexo (ruled by an "old woman", now Santa Barbara County, California) and Xucu (now Ventura County, California).
On 13 November, they sighted and named "Cabo de Pinos" (Point Reyes), but missed the entrance to San Francisco Bay, a lapse that mariners would repeat for the next two centuries and more. The expedition reached as far north as the Russian River before autumn storms forced them to turn back. Coming back down the coast, Cabrillo entered Monterey Bay, naming it "Bahia de los Pinos".
On 23 November 1542, the little fleet arrived back in "San Salvador" (Santa Catalina Island) to overwinter and make repairs. There, around Christmas Eve, Cabrillo stepped out of his boat and splintered his shin when he stumbled onto a jagged rock while trying to rescue some of his men from Chumash attack. The injury became infected and developed gangrene, and he died on 3 January 1543 and was buried. A possible headstone was later found on San Miguel Island. His second-in-command brought the remainder of the party back to Navidad, where they arrived 14 April 1543.
A notary's official report of Cabrillo's inconclusive expedition was lost; all that survives is a summary of it made by another investigator, Andrés de Urdaneta, who also had access to ships' logs and charts. No printed account of Cabrillo's voyage appeared before historian Antonio de Herrera's account early in the 17th century.
Namesakes and commemorations 
His discoveries went largely unnoticed at the time, so none of his place names were permanently adopted. Despite this Cabrillo is now remembered as the first European to travel the California coast, and many parks, schools, buildings and streets in California bear his name
Most notably, the National Park Service operates Cabrillo National Monument, overlooking the bay from Point Loma in San Diego, commemorating his first landing in California and offering views of San Diego and the Pacific Ocean. The monument features a larger-than-life statue of Cabrillo, donated by the government of Portugal. A museum in the park focuses on Cabrillo and his voyages of discovery. Every September the Monument hosts the Cabrillo Festival, an annual three-day celebration of his discovery of San Diego Bay, including a re-enactment of his landing.
Schools named for him include Cabrillo College in Aptos, California; Cabrillo High School (Lompoc, California); and Cabrillo High School (Long Beach, California). There are also middle schools in Ventura and Santa Clara and elementary schools in Hawthorne, Malibu, San Diego, and San Pedro.
The portion of California State Route 1 that runs from Las Cruces in Santa Barbara County north to San Francisco is called the Cabrillo Highway. The Cabrillo Bridge and Cabrillo Freeway (California State Route 163) running through San Diego's Balboa Park are also named for him. There are streets named for him in San Francisco, San Pedro, Santa Barbara, and Torrance.
The SS Cabrillo was a wooden steamer launched in 1914 to serve as a ferry across the San Pedro Channel to Santa Catalina Island. It was later requisitioned by the U.S. army and served as a troop transport in northern California during World War II.
In the state of California, September 28 is officially "Cabrillo Day".
- An Account of the Voyage of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. San Diego, CA: Cabrillo National Monument Foundation. 1999. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-941032-07-8.
- Kelsey, Harry, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, Huntington Library Press, San Marino, California (1986), pp. 11, 21
-  João Rodrigues Cabrilho : Um Homem do Barroso? / João Soares Tavares
-  Diário do Alto Tâmega e Barroso, João Soares Tavares (in Portuguese)
- "Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo". Spartacus Educational. Schoolnet.com. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (? - 1543)". San Diego History Center. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Engstrand, Iris, and Harry Kelsey, "Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo and the Building of the San Salvador," Mains'l Haul: A Journal of Pacific Maritime History, vol. 45, Winter/Spring 2009, pp. 36, 39-40
- Linder, Bruce, San Salvador: Cabrillo's Galleon of Discovery, Maritime Museum of San Diego, 2011, p. 51.
- Kelsey (1986), p. 123.
- Kelsey (1986), pp. 131-33.
- Kelsey (1986), p. 143.
- Kelsey (1986), pp. 144, 150. Catalina was also called "Capitana", "Juan Rodriquez", or "La Posesión".
- Kelsey (1986), pp. 145-55.
- Kelsey (1986), p. 159, p. 161.
- Crawford, Richard (August 3, 2008). "Cabrillo statue's journey to San Diego marked by legal twists". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "Cabrillo Festival". Cabrillo National Monument. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- Colnect, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Accessed 2009.09.28.
- California Government Code, Section 6708.
- Kelsey, Harry. 1986. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. The Huntington Library, San Marino
- Cabrillo National Monument Foundation. 1999 "An Account of the Voyage of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo."
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