September 28, 1542
European discovery of San Diego Bay by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailing under the flag of Spain.
November 10, 1602
Arrival of Sebastian Vizcaino sailing for Spain; he named the bay and port San Diego de Alcalá to honor the saint whose day is celebrated November 12. Some three to five thousand Indians called Diegueños by the Spanish lived in the surrounding area.
April 11 – July 1, 1769
Arrival of maritime and land expeditions for colonization and conversion of natives of Alta California. Establishment of a military camp on Presidio Hill; exploration of Mission Valley.
Departure of overland expedition commanded by Gaspar de Portola in search of Monterey Bay; this led to discovery of San Francisco Bay on November 1, 1769.
July 16, 1769
Blessing of Presidio Hill as Mission San Diego de Alcalá; establishment of a brush chapel on the site by fathers Junipero Serra, Juan Vizcaino, Fernando Parrón, and Francisco Gómez. Within a short time construction began for a small adobe church.
June 3, 1770
Founding of the Presidio of Monterey and capital of Alta California; founding of Mission San Carlos Borromeo under Father Serra.
May 12, 1772
Decree dividing the missions of Baja California and Alta California between the Franciscan and Dominican Orders at a point south of the present boundary between the United States and Mexico. The Franciscans under Serra remained in charge of the five Alta California missions: San Diego (1769), San Carlos [Carmel] (1770), San Antonio de Padua (1771), San Gabriel Archangel (1771), and San Luis Obispo (1772).
March 4, 1774
Felipe de Neve, a native of Bailen, Spain, became Governor of the Californias with headquarters at Loreto, Baja California, until February, 1777, when Monterey became the official capital of both provinces.
March 22, 1774
Arrival of Juan Bautista de Anza, a native of Sonora, at San Gabriel Mission with an overland exploring party from the Presidio of Tubac, Arizona. This opened a 2,000 mile long trail to California via Yuma.
Foundations for Mission Nuestra Senora del Rosario in Baja California laid by Dominicans.
May 25, 1774
Fernando de Rivera y Moncada, born in New Spain and Commander of the Presidio of Loreto, became Lieutenant Governor of the Californias with headquarters at Monterey until February, 1777.
July 18, 1774
Father Serra reported that Royal Regulations allowed the Presidio of San Diego twenty-six soldiers and the Mission six; he believed this to be a total of six more than necessary.
Mission San Diego de Alcalá established on the San Diego River at its present site near the Diegueño village of Nipaguay. During its first five years over 100 Indians were baptized and some 97 made their home at the mission.
Juan Pérez, in command of the Santiago, sailed to 54° 40′ north latitude to claim the Pacific Northwest for Spain. This claim assumed by the United States in 1819 and later used against the British.
September 26, 1774
First colonists for San Diego, escorted from Baja California Mission San Fernando Velicata by Sergeant Jose Ortega of the Presidio, arrived in San Diego.
July 25, 1775
Bruno de Hezeta, commanding the Santiago for Spain, discovered the mouth of the Columbia River.
August 5, 1775
The first European ship — the San Carlos commanded by Juan de Ayala of Spain — entered the Golden Gate to explore San Francisco Bay. He bestowed the names Angel Island (Isla de los Angeles) and Alcatraz Island (Isla de los Alcatraces [Pelicans]).
August 30, 1775
Mission Santo Domingo founded by Fathers Manuel Garcia and Miguel Hidalgo of the Dominican Order near present-day Hamilton Ranch some 100 miles south of Ensenada.
August – October, 1775
Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, a native of Peru, sailed the tiny thirty-six foot schooner Sonora to Alaska, claiming territory for Spain.
October 22, 1775
The expedition of Juan Bautista de Anza with 240 settlers and soldiers departed from Tubac, Arizona, for California.
November 5, 1775
Attack upon and burning of the San Diego Mission by some 600 Diegueno Indians; death of Father Luis Jayme, California’s first martyr, as a result.
November 5, 1775 – October, 1776
Construction resumed on the presidio chapel at the entrance to Mission Valley. It was completed in 1782 and used until about 1820.
Father Vicente Fuster, surviving missionary of the November Indian attack, was joined in San Diego by father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen and Gregorio Amurrio. Plans were temporarily abandoned for a mission at San Juan Capistrano.
January 4, 1776
Juan Bautista de Anza arrived at San Gabriel Mission with colonists destined for Monterey and San Francisco; eight babies were born on the trail.
January 7-11, 1776
Lt. Col. Anza reached San Diego to assist with Indian control; Anza was joined by Lt. Governor Rivera y Moncada in an investigation of the 1775 attack upon the mission.
Anza, in the company of Sgt. Jose Ortega of the San Diego presidio, examined the back country area and then departed for Monterey.
March 19-24, 1776
Lt. Governor Rivera y Moncada and Sgt. Carrillo of the San Diego presidio made a tour of the Diegueno Indian villages.
March 26-27, 1776
Sanctuary of Carlos, an Indian who had joined in the uprising, in the presidio chapel; conflict between the governor and missionaries over the right of asylum.
Governor Felipe de Neve moved the capital of the Californias from Loreto to Monterey under a new system of government for the Provincias Internas of New Spain; Lt. Governor Rivera y Moncada subsequently established his office at Loreto.
July 11, 1776
Father Junipero Serra arrived in San Diego aboard the San Antonio commanded by Diego Choquet.
July 23, 1776
Missionaries began to rebuild the mission at the valley site with the help of Indians and sailors from the San Antonio who made adobe, dug trenches, and gathered stone.
July 29, 1776
Fathers Silvestre Velez de Escalante and Atanasio Dominguez left Santa Fe, New Mexico to explore westward; they reached southern Utah and returned to New Mexico in November.
Serra reported that the work done by Father Luis Jayme and the Franciscans at the mission included translation of the catechism, training of boys to say Mass, formation of a soprano choir, and planting of grains.
September – October, 1776
Presidio of San Francisco de Asis founded on September 17, and Mission San Francisco de Asis dedicated on October 9, 1776.
September – October, 1776
New Mission buildings were completed and ready for occupancy at the present site in Mission Valley.
November 1, 1776
Mission San Juan Capistrano founded.
December 8, 1776
First baptism at rebuilt Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
Iris Wilson Engstrand, Professor of History at the University of San Diego and editorial consultant for the Journal of San Diego History, specializes in the field of early California. Dr. Engstrand is the author of William Wolfskill, Frontier Trapper to California Ranchero (1965), a contributor to the Mountain Men Series published by the Arthur H. Clark Company and the Baja California Travel Series published by Dawson’s Book Shop, Los Angeles. She has translated from Spanish and edited Noticias de Nutka: An Account of Nootka Sound in 1792 (1970), by José Mariano Moziño, and has written articles on the wine industry in California and Spanish exploration in colonial Mexico. Her article entitled “Rancho Guajome: A California Legacy Preserved,” was published in this journal in the Winter, 1974, issue. She also edited and translated “Pedro Fages and Miguel Costansó: Two Early Letters From San Diego in 1769,” which appeared in this journal in the Spring, 1975, issue.