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
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 2:
One of his first voyages was to Havana as a
young man when he joined up with Hernán
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
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
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Fact 12:
Towards the end of September they had made
land on what would become known as San Diego
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
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
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
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