Juan Rodriguez C Essay

This essay has a total of 1576 words and 9 pages.

Juan Rodriguez C

The reputation of California as being a place to "jettison assumptions and try different
things" appears to have originated from its earliest days. By reflecting on the
individual who discovered San Diego, we see stamina, determination, and the desire to
"continue on," "find success," and to maximize opportunities to their fullest.

Back in the 1540s there was a Portuguese explorer and soldier by the name of Juan
Rodriguez Cabrillo (?-1543). He was known as "a skilled mariner and navigator." Today,
Cabrillo famous for being the man who "discovered San Diego Bay" on September 28, 1542.

Within the definition of The California Dream, lay opportunities for success, however,
there are many ingredients that factor into achieving this Dream. Being willing to accept
opportunities, challenges, and ideas (such as Cabrillo accepted when given the command to
explore the northwestern most part of Mexico ), the utilization of man-made and natural
resources, and time and location, are just a few of the elements that are essential in
defining the California Dream. The combination of these ingredients along with the
determination for success and lack of fear-of-failure, can sometimes make The

Cabrillo possessed the necessary ingredients for success. Believed to have been born in
Portugal, though it is not certain where, he lived most of his life in the Spanish New
World colonies. Dr. Joan Jensen, a member of the Cabrillo Historical Society and former
professor of U.S. history at California Western University, visited Portugal twice to see
if she could learn something about the birthplace of Cabrillo. The result of her guided
two-week trek yielded some significant discoveries,

"No one knows exactly where Cabrillo came from or where he got his name—we’re not able to
find any other Cabrillo in Spain in the late 15th century or in Portugal either." Certain
places were eliminated simply because they were not in existence around the estimated time
1490s} of Cabrillo’s birth. Historians have long pondered the idea that the Portuguese
explorer-adventurer might have come from one of the tiny villages named Cabril, adopted
the name of the village, and slightly modified it. "It’s a very unusual name."

With this explanation, or lack there of, of who this man was, when he was actually born,
and where he was originally from, gives way to another aspect of the California Dream.
Many people leave their original homes and travel to California for the opportunity of
successes Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo did just this. His drive to fulfill his dream opened
the door for so many future "Dreamers" to attempt to achieve their Dream. Cabrillo
enjoyed what he accomplished in life, and as far as is known today, these accomplishments
were earned solely by his interpretation of The Dream.

Cabrillo entered the service of Spain in 1520. and under the command of Hern(n Cort(s
(1485-1547), participated in the conquest of Mexico. As Cabrillo worked diligently
earning his way up the ranks as a Spanish soldier, he continuously demonstrated to his
command his desire and willingness to explore. Though he had never commanded his own
expedition, he was anxious for the day to fulfill this dream. These ambitions would
eventually lead Cabrillo to be Chief Lieutenant of an expedition exploring the western
coast of Mexico. In 1541 during an Indian uprising, the commander of this expedition,
Pedro de Alvarado (1486-1541) was killed. At this time, being "well-versed in affairs of
the sea," Cabrillo was given the title "Commander" from Don Antonio Mendoza
(1490?-1552), The Viceroy of New Spain. Cabrillo, described as "a man of striking
individuality," was motivated even more with this new opportunity. The lure of gold and
a lust for power motivated Mendoza, while Cabrillo, who had many years prior, become
wealthy through gold-mining was motivated by the sheer thrill of having the opportunity to
explore. Upon assuming the command of the vessels Victoria and San Salvador, Cabrillo
and his crew continued on their northwestward journey. Research by such maritime
historians as Henry Culver and the top-flight marine artist, Gordon Grant, reveal these
caravels as longer and lower than a galleon, and having four masts that were

With two home-built caravels, neither of which were more than 100 feet long, Cabrillo’s
voyage continued, sailing dead to windward , up an unknown coast. "Light winds and heavy
winds, rainstorms and changes of weather followed the sailors on their somewhat primitive
ships . . . somehow that voyage was destined for history." From time to time they would
anchor sending the ships’ boats ashore with some of the crew to explore as well as
replenishing their stock of water and wood. Sailing past The Village of


Cedros, proceeding slowly up the coast, and passing many uninhabited islands while
anchoring at others, the commander proceeded to take possession in the name of the king
of Spain, according to the instructions which had been given him : Cabrillo and his crew
sailed on north and northwest along the coast. It was on the twenty-eighth of September
in 1452, over 450 years ago, that this undaunted explorer, along with his crew sailed the
San Salvador and Victoria into a calm, sparkling blue sanctuary, where they once again
anchored and rowed ashore.

Continues for 5 more pages >>

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