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The San Francisco Bay was first inhabited by...

Later, European explorers frequented the waters near San Francisco Bay.

Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo 1542-43

Francis Drake nearby in 1578. Repaired the Golden Hind in 1579 at Drake's Bay.

Wreck at Drake's Bay, 1595

Sebastián Vizcaíno sailed past Golden Gate in 1602


Finally discovered by a land expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá in 1769. Russian expansion southward from Alaska provoked the Spaniards to settle the region.

first settlement: 1776

supply ships from San Blas, Mexico. Other ships kept away despite Russian persistence.


Russian outpost at Fort Ross from 1812-1841.

Spanish rule ended in 1820, passed to mexico: more outside contact, commerce

Everything was mostly quiet until 1846, when gold was discovered in California.



  1. San Francisco Bay - A Pictorial Maritime History by John Haskell Kemble. Oakland History Room.