Cabrillo’s Voyage

Relation of the voyage of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo 1542 – 1543

In: Spanish Exploration in the Southwest 1542 – 1706, edited by Herbert Eugene Bolton, Scribner’s Sons New York 1916

On the following Thursday they went about six leagues along the coast running north northwest, and discovered a port, closed and very good, which they named San Miguel. It is in thirty four and one third degrees. Having cast anchor in it, they went ashore where there were people. Three of them waited, but all the rest fled. To these three they gave some presents and they said by signs that in the interior men like the Spaniards had passed. They gave signs of great fear. On the night of this day they went ashore from the ships to fish with a net, and it appears that here there were some Indians, and they began to shoot at them with arrows and wounded three men.

Next day in the morning they went with the boat farther into the port, which is large, and brought two boys, who understood nothing by signs. They gave them both shirts and sent them away immediately.

Next day in the morning three adult Indians came to the ships and said by signs that in the interior men like us were traveling about, bearded, clothed, and armed like those of the ships. They made signs that they carried crossbows and swords; and they made gestures with the right arm as if they were throwing lances, and ran around as if they were on horseback. They made signs that they were killing many native Indians, and for this reason they were afraid. These people are comely and large. They go about covered with the skins of animals.

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At daybreak on Saturday, the seventh month of October, they were at the islands which they named San Salvador and La Victoria. They anchored at one of them and went ashore with the boat to see if there were people; and when the boat came near, a great number of Indians emerged from the bushes and grass, shouting, dancing, and making signs that they should land. As they saw that the women were fleeing, from the boats they made signs that they should not be afraid. Immediately they were reassured, and laid their bows and arrows on the ground and launched into the water a good canoe which held eight or 10 Indians, and came to the ships. They gave them beads and other articles, with which they were pleased, and then they returned. Afterward the Spaniards went ashore, and they, the Indian women, and all felt very secure. Here an old Indian made signs to them that men like the Spaniards, clothed and bearded, were going about on the mainland. They remained on this island until midday.

On the following Sunday, the eighth of said month, they drew near to the mainland in a large bay which they called the Bay of Los Fumos, (Bay of the Smokes), because of the many smokes which they saw on it. Here they held a colloquy with some Indians whom they captured in a canoe, and who made signs that toward the north there were Spaniards like them. This bay is in 35° and is a good port, and the country is good, with many valleys, plains, and groves.

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… We saw on the land a pueblo of Indians close to the sea, the houses being large like those of New Spain. They anchored in front of a very large valley on the coast. Here there came to the ships many very good canoes, each of which held 12 or 13 Indians; they told them of Christians who were going about in the interior. The coast runs from Northwest to Southeast. Here they gave them presents, with which they were greatly pleased. They indicated by signs that in seven days they would go to where the Spaniards were, and Juan Rodriguez decided to send two Spaniards into the interior. They also indicated that there was a great river. With these Indians they sent a letter at a venture to the Christians. They named this town the Pueblo of Los Canoas. The Indians dress in skins of animals; they are fishermen and eat raw fish; they were eating maguey also….

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… All this coast which they have passed is very thickly settled. The Indians brought for them many sardines, fresh and very good. They say that in the interior there are many pueblos and abundant food. They ate no maize. They were dressed in skins, and wore their hair very long and tied up with long strings interwoven with the hair, there being attached to the strings many gew gaws of flint, bone, and wood. The country appears to be very fine.

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