quarta-feira, 8 de novembro de 2006

Cabrilho's "discovery" of California


Strange as it may seem, Portuguese navigators were also involved in the exploration of the west coast of North America.

"In 1542-3, Portuguese-born João Rodrigues Cabrilho and his chief pilot Bartolomé (Bartolomeu) Ferrelo, who may have been Portuguese, were the first Europeans to explore the coast of the present state of California.

Sailing for the King of Spain Charles I – better known as Emperor Charles V – as Columbus and Fernão de Magalhães (Magellan) had sailed before, Cabrilho left in June of 1542 from Navidad on the west coast of Mexico and proceeded north. He reached San Diego Bay in September, becoming the first European to set foot in what is today the state of California. He continued north along the California coast but died in January 1543 from an infection resulting from a broken arm. Ferrelo continued north, possibly reaching the Oregon coast in March 1543.

Curiously enough, Magalhães had suffered a similar fate twenty years before: on the first successful attempt to sail around the entire Earth – the first circumnavigation ever – he was killed during the battle of Mactan on Cebu Island (one of the Maluku or Moluccas Islands) in the Philippines, in April 1521, taking over command of the expedition the Spaniard Juan Sebastián Elcano, who reached Spain the following year.

Little is known about Cabrilho's early years. Even his nationality is uncertain; most biographies describe him as Portuguese, but in his exhaustive 1986 biography "João Rodrigues Cabrilho", historian Harry Kelsey writes that Cabrilho appears to have been born in Spain, "probably in Seville, but perhaps in Cuellar." His date of birth and parentage are also unknown, but events in Cabrilho's life lead Kelsey to believe he was born of poor parents "around 1498 or 1500," and then worked for his keep in the home of a prominent Seville merchant."

However, if his name is João Rodrigues Cabrilho, as it seems to be the case, and not Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, then the Portuguese hypothesis is a quite plausible one.

11 comentários:

Mariano disse...

Hello, Ric! Interesting article! Have you read "1421", by Gavin Menzies? It's a book that makes a very convincing argument for a chinese 'discovery' of the Americas in 1421. According to Menzies, California was one of the places they visited in their expedition.

Sounds preposterous, i know, and his theory might still be falsified, but the guy is no crackpot. He is being taken seriously by many historians. You can read more about this on http://www.1421.tv/, if you're interested...

RIC disse...

Hello, Mariano! Thank you so very much for that link!
I haven't read the book, but I did read something about it in «Der Spiegel» a few months ago.
Well, to be honest - and I think I owe this to my readers - I've never been much into the «peninsular golden century». Okay, Portuguese and Spaniards left this corner of Europe and navigated throughout the world. So what?... In «some» cases it would have been better if only they had stayed calmly home...
All I want with this post is to come closer to some blogger friends of the West Coast, I guess. Nothing more than that...
As to the Chinese in America in 1421, I'm all for it as long as it is really true... Not as that sad story of forged archaeological sites in Newfoundland just to try and prove the Vikings had really been in America before Columbus...
Muchas gracias! (Or should I say: Grazie mille!) You tell me!
Best wishes!

André disse...

Eu também não tenho especial amor pelos Descobrimentos. O orgulho com que alguns de nós falam do assunto sabe-me a um patriotismo fascista de escola primária, mas enfim...

RIC disse...

Gosto muito do teu radicalismo verbal, André! Sem qualquer paternalismo, fazes-me lembrar eu próprio com menos uns quantos anos... E continuo a gostar de um certo radicalismo.
Só me admira que tenhas essa ideia da escola primária: que eu saiba, a tua geração já não devia ter «levado com isso»... Como é que isso aconteceu?
E com alguma elegância podemos hoje distinguir entre patriotismo e patrioteirismo. São atitudes bem diferentes, acredita!
Obrigado pelo sorriso e pelo riso que provocaste! És uma delícia! :-)

Mariano disse...

Como você prefera: italiano ou espanhol... Ou português :-) Posso também o comprender, mas como você vê, para escrever uso o portunhol argentino-brasileiro, que é mas sofisticado :-D

RIC disse...

Uau!!! Que maravilha, Mariano! Parabéns! Fico muito feliz por tu poderes ler os meus textos em Português: ou seja, podes ler todo o blog! Det är bra!!!
É sem dúvida sofisticado! À excepção de «prefira», o resto está perfeito! Que bom!
Sendo tu mais um poliglota aqui no meu «Happy Few Club», podes escolher a língua que quiseres! (lol!)
Obrigado!

Gray disse...

Hello, Dear Ric!

Thank you for this marvelous post! You did "...come closer to some blogger friends of the West Coast" with your historical review - and I thank you for it.

Living in Southern California, I am well aware of (as we know him - I guess because he was sailing for King Charles I of Spain) Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Nearby, in San Pedro, Cabrillo Beach is named after him. It is a lovely area and one of the few that one can go to the water's edge and view unspoiled sea urchins and other ocean creatures. It is also home of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

San Diego's Cabrillo National Monument Library is another wonderful place to visit (oh, what views!). It usually receives 4 to 5 stars on the website: http://www.insiderpages.com/
b/2531060805 (no spaces).

Another website, for your pleasure: http://www.sandiegohistory.org/bio/
cabrillo/cabrillo.htm (no spaces).

It mentions that he served "...in the army of famous conquistador Hernan Cortes, where he joined in the conquest of Mexico and Guatemala (in 1519)."

One disagreement (on that website) with your biographic depiction is that: "Cabrillo died January 3, 1543, on San Miguel Island, and may have been buried on Catalina Island. He died from complications of a broken leg incurred from a fall during a brief skirmish with natives."

Of course we know that historians often agree to disagree. But all-in-all, his travels are well documented. His life definitely left its mark on California history!

Thank you again. I enjoyed reading your post and looking up different websites to refresh my school memories of the brave man!

Gray disse...

BTW, when reading Andre's comment, I was a little surprised that he spoke of Portugal's explorations as "...patriotismo fascista..."

You responded that you can, "...today distinguish between patriotism and patrioteirismo."

Can you please explain this to me. What is the difference? I am missing something in the translation.

Thank you.

Knottyboy disse...

Muy interesante...
Speaking of explorers, have you seen the movie trailer for the Fountain? About the search for the fountain of youth and the relationship between the Queen and the explorer from 1500, 2000 and finally 2500. Hugh Jackman is the explorer. Hello hotness!
kb

RIC disse...

Well, Gray, as a matter of fact I did think of you when I decided to post on Cabrill/ho... But never thought you would comment on it so abundantly! Thank you so very much! And, just by the way, I had been thinking you have more to do with San Diego than LA. Why? Just a feeling...
As he sailed for Charles I of Spain, he's not so much known around here as, for instance, Vasco da Gama, Cabral (Brazil) or even Magalhães. And here it's the right place to tell you about the «fascist patriotism» or, as I call it, «patrioteirismo». During the dictatorship, that period of our History was used and abused by the regime «to sing the great wonders we Portuguese worked all around the world». Yeah, sure, while the people were kept analphabet, ignorant, and poor.
So this is why I cannot stand certain outbursts of imbecile patriotism. And, as you've read yourself, I'm not the only one...
As to Cabrillo's death I believe it must be somehow difficult to pinpoint all the details, since written documents from those days must not be abundant at all. The curious thing though is that he shared a similar fate with Magellan, don't you think?
Before I forget, thank you so very much for all the links you've been so kind to provide! I'm sure others will enjoy the «strolls» around the net...
(«Patrioteirismo» is no concept. The word just depicts a reproachable attitude, a kind of a faked patriotism.)
Have a wonderful Sunday!

RIC disse...

Hello Kb! Yes, as a matter of fact, I did see that trailer... As You say yourself, Hugh Jackman is somehow mandatory, is he not?...
And the subject is indeed both ancient (Egyptians, Greeks...) and quite modern (all the celebrities pretending they don't get old...).
That 1000 year period of time is also an attractive effect/feature.
Thank you!
Wish you a wonderful Sunday!