History of California

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1769 Jun 29 - 1770

Portolá Expedition

San Francisco Bay, California,

In May 1768, the Spanish Inspector General (Visitador) José de Gálvez planned a four-prong expedition to settle Alta California, two by sea and two by land, which Gaspar de Portolá volunteered to command. The Portolá land expedition arrived at the site of present-day San Diego on June 29, 1769, where it established the Presidio of San Diego and annexed the adjacent Kumeyaay village of Kosa'aay, making San Diego the first European settlement in the present state of California. Eager to press on to Monterey Bay, de Portolá and his group, consisting of Father Juan Crespí, 63 leather-jacket soldiers and a hundred mules, headed north on July 14. They reached the present-day site of Los Angeles on August 2, Santa Monica on August 3, Santa Barbara on August 19, San Simeon on September 13, and the mouth of the Salinas River on October 1. Although they were looking for Monterey Bay, the group failed to recognize it when they reached it. On October 31, de Portolá's explorers became the first Europeans known to view San Francisco Bay. Ironically, the Manila Galleons had sailed along this coast for almost 200 years by then, without noticing the bay. The group returned to San Diego in 1770. De Portolá was the first governor of Las Californias.


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Last Updated: : Tue Jan 31 2023