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Estévan (Juan) Cabrillo

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A Portuguese in the naval service of Spain, date and place of birth unknown; died on the island of San Bernardo, 3 Jan., 1543. In 1541 Pedro de Alvarado gathered a fleet of twelve vessels on the coast of Western Mexico (Navidad) for an expedition to the Moluccas. Alvarado was soon after killed in the assault on the rock of Nochiztlan (Jalisco), defended by hostile Indians. The Viceroy Mendoza then sent most of the squadron under the command of Villalobos to the Moluccas, and two of the largest vessels to the north along the coast, appointing Cabrillo as commander. The latter sailed from Navidad in 1542, coasting slowly upwards owing to contrary winds. In the course of his voyage he discovered Santa Catalina, the Santa Barbara channel, Monterey, Cape Mendocino, and the Oregon coast as far as latitude 43°, thus being the discoverer of Oregon and of the entire California coast. Scurvy having broken out among the crew to a violent degree, Cabrillo could make but a short stay on the shores of Oregon and Northern California, and had to turn back.

His character was distinguished by many honourable features, and his treatment of the aborigines on the voyage was particularly kind and generous. Nothing else is known of him, except that he was brought up a Catholic and remained in the Faith to the time of his death. The report of Cabrillo has been printed in the "Colección de documentos para la historia de de España". To that collection and to the "Colección de documentos de Indias" (both printed at Madrid, and very volumnious) the reader must be referred for collateral information. The map of Cabrillo was published by Archbishop Lorenzana (1770). His voyage is mentioned more or less extensively in every work of importance on the early history of North America.

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