Why Famous: The first explorer to navigate the coast of what would become California, he also explored much of the West Coast of the United States on behalf of the Spanish Empire.
Birthplace: Disputed, Portugal or Spain
- 1542-06-27 Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sets sail from the Mexican port of Navidad to explore the west coast of North America on behalf of the Spanish Empire
- 1542-09-28 Explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo discovers California, at San Diego Bay, naming it San Miguel and claims it for Spain
- 1542-10-07 Explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo discovers Catalina Island off the coast of California