Cabrillo, Juan Rodríguez

Ca·bri·llo (kə-brēʹlō, -yō, -brēlʹyō, kä-brēlʹyo͝o), Juan Rodríguez. Died 1543.
Portuguese-born explorer who discovered California (1542) while in the service of Spain.

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died Jan. 3, 1543?, off the coast of northern California

Explorer in the service of Spain and discoverer of California.

Little is known of his early life, though he may have been born in Portugal. In 1520 he accompanied Spanish explorers to Mexico. He was one of the conquerors of present-day Guatemala, where he may have served as governor. In 1542 he left Mexico and sailed along the California coast, entering San Diego and Monterey bays. He landed on several islands off the coast; he apparently died of complications from a broken leg suffered on one such landing.

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▪ Portuguese explorer
Portuguese  João Rodrigues Cabrilho  
died Jan. 3, 1543?, off the coast of northern California

      soldier and explorer in the service of Spain, chiefly known as the discoverer of California.

      Virtually nothing is known of Cabrillo's early life, though he might have been born in Portugal. As a young man, he appears to have accompanied the Spanish soldier Pánfilo de Narváez (1520) in his unsuccessful punitive expedition against Hernán Cortés, conqueror of the Aztecs of Mexico. He was evidently one of the conquerors of the region now comprising Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. He also may have served for a time as governor of Guatemala. It is thought that Cabrillo embarked from the Mexican port of Navidad in June 1542, explored most of the coast of what is now the state of California, entered San Diego and Monterey bays, and landed on several of the islands near the California coast. He apparently died of complications from a broken leg suffered on one such landing.

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Universalium. 2010.

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