Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument might perceive an apparent contradiction.
There are three plaques along the walkway that approaches the statue of Cabrillo. They seem to recognize the explorer as being both Portuguese and Spanish!
In 1615, historian Antonio de Herrera listed Cabrillo’s name as Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Portuguese, giving him a third last name or apellido. This led many people to believe Cabrillo was Portuguese. In 2015 a researcher discovered evidence that Cabrillo said he was a native of Spain…
…(the) historian stumbled across Cabrillo’s name in this legal document dated February 12, 1532. In it, Cabrillo identifies himself as “a native of Palma de Micer Gilio,” now Palma del Rio in Cordoba, Spain.
A Viceroy of New Spain, Antonio de Mendoza, selected Cabrillo to lead an exploration of the Pacific coast. Cabrillo sailed into San Diego harbor under the Spanish flag aboard the San Salvador.
San Diego held the first Cabrillo Festival in 1892. Members of the Portuguese community in San Diego have been supporting Cabrillo National Monument since the 1930s…
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3 thoughts on “Why Portuguese and Spanish plaques at Cabrillo?”
The original documents found in 2015 do not explicitly say that Cabrilho was born in Spain, but that he was a natural of Palma del Río. The English translation to native is not proper, since very likely Cabrilho was naturalized Castilian instead of Spanish-born. New documents and evidence just came out showing that Alvar Nunes, another Portuguese pilot, was likely the owner of the second largest ship that discovered California in 1542-43, adding to the Portuguese Cabrilho and Antonio Correia. Furthermore Bartolome Ferrer, Cabrilho’s pilot major was not Spaniard either, but Genovese, as his 1547 discovered testament shows. Check out the following preprint https://preprints.scielo.org/index.php/scielo/preprint/view/5255
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Great info. Thanks!