The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913 Page: 65
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The Approaches to California
by "The Cape" presents no advantages over the South American
route to compensate for the greater length of the voyage it entails.
The route by Cape Horn was itself so long and hazardous that the
search for an available alternative was eagerly pursued. After
centuries of effort the only possible alternative-one first proposed
in 1523-is now being made ready by the government of the
The first explorations of the California coast were not depend-
ent, however, on the use of the long sea routes. They were the
inevitable sequel to the conquest of Mexico. The efforts of Cortes
disclosed no such wonders, however, as had been described by
Ordofiez de Montalvo, and can scarcely be called successful from
any point of view. The two ships he sent out in 1532 never re-
turned. In 1533 the Concepcion and San L6zaro discovered the
extremity of the peninsula, but were otherwise unfortunate. The
expedition of 1535, led by Cort6s himself, landed at the bay of
Santa Cruz, possibly La Paz, but failed in the purpose of estab-
lishing a colony. Finally, the expedition under Francisco de
Ulloa, in 1539, which was the supreme effort of Cortes, succeeded
in exploring the Gulf of California to its head and the outer coast
to about the latitude of 28.
The viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza, next took up the burden of
northward exploration. To co-operate with Coronado in the search
for the famous Seven Cities of Cib.ola he sent Hernando d'Alarc6n,
in 1540, by sea to the head of the gulf. Mendoza had no better
fortune than Cortes in discovering fabulous lands and cities, but
by his next venture, the expedition under Cabrillo and Ferrelo,
in 1542, the California coast was explored to 40 26'. The return
of Ferrelo marks the conclusion of the first period of California
exploration-when next the scene opens interests of quite another
character are disclosed.
In 1566 Urdaneta crossed the Pacific Ocean from the Philippine
Islands to Mexico and demonstrated the practicability of this voy-
age. The route thus marked out brought the returning galleons
to the American coast in the vicinity of Cape Mendocino, and fur-
ther examination of the coast thus became a matter of necessity.
It required, however, the stimulus of Francis Drake to bring the
Spanish government to the point of ordering this exploration to
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913, periodical, 1913; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101058/m1/71/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.