Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact File: Lifespan: 1499 – 1543 *** Full Name: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo *** Occupation: Portuguese Explorer *** Date of Birth: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was born 1499, an exact date is not known *** Place of Birth: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was born in either Spain or Portugal *** Family background: There are no records regarding his family, his early life or where he grew up or any information regarding his education, although it can be assumed he received or he was self-taught ***
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 1: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was born in 1499 and during the 15th century period in history when Portugal and Spain were exploring the oceans of the world and colonizing new lands and was also described as the late middle ages to early Renaissance and early modern period.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 2: One of his first voyages was to Havana as a young man when he joined up with Hernán Cortés.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 3: He would also become successful at mining gold in Guatemala and this made him one of the wealthiest conquistadores in Mexico.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 4: Although he did not marry, he did however settle with a Mexican woman who would become his common law wife and together they had several children of which were three daughters.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 5: On a trip to Seville in Spain, he married Beatriz Sanchez de Ortega with whom he had two sons and who also travelled to Guatemala with him.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 6: With Francisco de Ulloa they discovered the Gulf of California in 1539.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 7: Next he was commissioned by the Antonio de Mendoza, the new Viceroy of New Spain, to head an expedition in search of trade opportunities up the Pacific coast.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 8: There was also a chance that further exploration of the Pacific region which was largely still unexplored, would reveal a passage to China.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 9: In June of 1542 he set sail from Navidad in Mexico with three ships.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 10: On August 1st the encountered Cedros island which they anchored close to.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 11: By the end of August they had passed Baja Point and thereafter they were travelling unchartered waters.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 12: Towards the end of September they had made land on what would become known as San Diego Bay.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 13: Their next stop would be in early October and they had reached Santa Catalina Island where they encountered hostile Indians.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 14: Further on the reached San Clemente Island and on the 8th October they arrived at San Pedro Bay.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 15: On October 9th the anchored off of Santa Monica Bay where the spent the night.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 16: Travelling further the following day they came upon Anacapa Island which they were told by the Indians was uninhibited and so they spent the next week there.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 17: By October the 18th the party reached Point Conception.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 18: Having overlooked the entry to San Francisco Bay, something that would continue to happened for the next two hundred years, they arrived at the Russian River, the furthest northern point they could reach when autumn weather and storms forced them to make their return South.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 19: They reached San Salvador towards the end of November and they set about making much needed repairs and preparing for winter.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 20: Encountering his men having difficulties with the natives, in an attempt to assist them, as Cabrillo alighted from his boat he stumbled and cracked his shin on a jagged rock. The injury became infectious and eventually gangrenous.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 21: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo died on January 3rd 1543. He body was laid to rest on nearby land thought to be San Miguel Island.
Influence & Legacy: Unfortunately most of his written accounts of his discoveries were lost and very little evidence remained. The only evidence was written second hand but is largely accurate.
Important Events of the era and during the life of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo include: Christopher Columbus makes his final journey to the Caribbean, Michael Michelangelo completes the Sistine Chapel and King Henry VIII breaks from Catholicism and affirms himself head of the newly created English Church.