The history of San Diego began when the European Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived in this area for the first time. Since it was the first place in California to be "discovered", San Diego has been described as the birthplace of California.
The bay by the city of San Diego was given the name about sixty years later by the merchant Sebastian Vizcaino when he was mapping the coastline of Alta California for Spain. His goal was to help establish a prosperous colony. When he was ready to share his enthusiasm with other natives, the Spanish were not convinced. It took 167 years until the colonization began.
Gaspar de Portalà, accompanied by his expedition, founded the Presidio of San Diego (military post) and the Franciscan friars Junípero Serra, Juan Vizcaino and Fernando Parron established the Mission of San Diego de Alcala in 1769. Colonists started to arrive in 1774 but the indigenous people Kumeyaay rebelled against the Spanish. The priest was killed. Serra organized the rebuilding and built a more completed structure. In 1797, the mission became the largest in California, reaching a number of 1,400 people. An earthquake in 1803 destroyed the structure.
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