The Explorers, 1492-1774
1492 Columbus discovers the New World and establishes colony at Hispaniola (Haiti).
1497 John Cabot discovers coast of North America, probably at Cape Breton Island, under patent from Henry VII of England.
1497 Amerigo Vespucci, Italian navigator living in Seville, explores the mouth of the Amazon and the northeast coast of South America.
1513 Ponce de Leon discovers Florida and lands near St. Augustine.
1513 Vasco Nunez de Balboa is the first to “gaze on the Pacific.”
1518 Juan de Grijalva explores the Mexican coast from Yucatan to near Veracruz and is the first to hear of Moctezuma and his empire.
1519 Cortes reaches Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) and interviews Moctezuma.
1520 Cortes returns to the coast and defeats Narvaez at Cempoala.
1521 The fall of Tenochtitlan.
1523-1524 Pedro de Alvarado conquers Guatemala and becomes its Captain General.
1532 Francisco Pizarro completes the conquest of Peru.
1533 Fortun Jimenez lands at La Paz, the first white man in Lower California.
1535 Cortes lands at La Paz and establishes temporary colony.
1539 De Soto lands near Tampa Bay and explores the Mississippi and west to Oklahoma.
1539 Fr. Marcos de Niza expedition goes north to New Mexico to find seven cities of Cibola.
1539 Francisco de Ulloa, sent by Cortes, explores up the Gulf of California, lands at La Paz, and sails up the west coast at least as far as Cedros Island.
1540 Hernando Alarcon ascends the Colorado River in small boats.
1540 Melchior Diaz reaches the Colorado River overland.
1540-1542 Coronado leads a land expedition to New Mexico and Arizona.
1542 Sent by the Viceroy Mendoza, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sets sail from Navidad and discovers California. (Sept. 28).
1565 Urdaneta sails from the Philippines to Acapulco on first eastern voyage of a galleon. Arellano sights Cape Mendocino.
1579 Drake sails up the California coast to 42o or 43o.
1586 Tomas Cavendish loots the Santa Ana off tip of Baja California.
1595 Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, sailing from Philippines to Acapulco, explores the California coast from Eureka to San Martin Island looking for ports.
1596 Sebastian Vizcaino lands at La Paz, seeking pearls.
1602-1603 Vizcaino surveys the coast from Cape San Lucas to Cape Blanco and back.
1607 The establishment of the Jamestown Colony on Chesapeake Bay.
1620 The Pilgrims land at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
1682 William Penn establishes Pennsylvania.
1697 Fr. Juan Maria Salvatierra establishes a colony and mission at Loreto, the first permanent settlement in the Californias.
1701-1702 Father Kino, at Yuma, proves that California is not an island.
1697-1767 The Jesuits found 23 missions in Lower California, of which about 15 are permanent.
1767 Capt. Gaspar de Portola becomes Governor of the Californias, with headquarters at the capital, Loreto.
1768 The Jesuits are banished from New Spain.
1768 The Franciscans, led by Fr. Junipero Serra, arrive at La Paz to take over the missions.
1769 The ships San Carlos and San Antonio arrive at San Diego. (April 11 and 29).
1769 Capt. Rivera y Moncada and his overland party arrive at San Diego, accompanied by Fr. Juan Crespi. (May 14).
1769 Capt. Portola and the main party arrive at San Diego. (June 29).
1769 Fr. Junipero Serra arrives at San Diego. (July 1).
1769 Founding of the Mission of San Diego. (July 16).
1774 Juan Bautista de Anza opens land route from Mexico to California.
Return to Books.
Ch. 1. Before the Explorers
Ch. 2. The Early Explorers
Ch. 3. The Story of Cabrillo
Ch. 4. The First to Arrive
Ch. 5. Sebastian Vizcaino
Ch. 6. Padres Lead the Way
Ch. 7. Fray Junipero Serra
Ch. 8. Expeditions by Sea
Ch. 9. Expeditions by Land
Ch. 10. Portola Goes North
Ch. 11. The Cross is Raised
Ch. 12. Anza Finds the Way
Ch. 13. Settlement at Last
1. Historiae Verdadera of Bernal Diaz del Castillo
2. Relation of the Voyage of Cabrillo
3. Informacion of 1560
4. Father Ascension’s Account of the Voyage of Sebastian Vizcaino
5. Diary of Sebastian Vizcaino
6. Palou’s Historical Memoirs of New California
7. Costanso’s Narrative of the Portola Expedition
8. Diary of Vicente Vila
9. Diary of Junipero Serra, Loreto to San Diego, March 28-July 1, 1769
10. Diary of Don Gaspar de Portola
11. De Anza Diary
12. Father Garces’ Diary
13. Record of Voyage by Francisco de Ulloa