Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (?-1543) flagship San Salvador - Ships Nostalgia

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Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (?-1543) flagship San Salvador

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Old 25th November 2011, 18:48
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Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (?-1543) flagship San Salvador


The first European vessel to reach America's West Coast. The Maritime Museum of San Diego is building a full-sized, fully functional, and historically accurate replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s flagship, San Salvador.



In 1542, Cabrillo led the first European expedition to explore what is now the west coast of the United States. The Gulf of California had recently been explored by Francisco de Ulloa, Hernando de Alarcón and Domingo del Castillo, proving that California was not an island.

Cabrillo was commissioned by Pedro de Alvarado, Governor of Guatemala, for a voyage up the California coast under the flag of Spain. Cabrillo hoped to find the fabulously wealthy cities known as Cibola, believed to be somewhere on the Pacific coast beyond New Spain, and a route connecting the North Pacific to the North Atlantic -- the non-existent "Straits of Anian".

The Cabrillo expedition sailed out of the port of Navidad, near modern day Manzanillo, on June 24, 1542. Accompanying Cabrillo were a crew of sailors, soldiers, Indian and probably black slaves, merchants, a priest, livestock and provisions for two years. Three ships, the flagship San Salvador built by Cabrillo himself, were under his command.


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Being built by volunteers little seems to be done hour by hour but checking back on succeeding days one sees progress.

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