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San Carlos Spanish Galleon

San Carlos Spanish Galleon

Quilt design and images copyright by Susan Plack, 1999

In the 1600’s the Spanish Galleons were busy sailing the Pacific bringing treasures of the Philippines to Mexico by way of the Hawaiian Islands and the California coast. They were in need of a safe harbor. On December 16, 1602, Vizcaino discovered the bay of Monterey. This sparked the desire to settle the California coast by the Spanish. Several attempts were made to settle California by sea. When these failed, the Jesuits gained the right of complete control over the military commanders traveling with them, and a century later began to settle the missions

Three ships set sail from La Paz to settle the San Diego mission. The San Carlos sailed Jan 9, the San Antonio sailed Feb. 15, and the San Jose sailed June 16, 1769. All three ships carried a full crew, soldiers, and 4 missionaries. The San Jose was lost at sea. The San Antonio arrived first loosing 8 crew members to scurvy. The San Carlos arrived 20 days later, after being driven off course by storms. The San Carlos lost all but one crew member and the cook to scurvy.

Father Serra traveled up from Mexico by land with Portola. When they arrived in San Diego the San Carlos and the San Antonio were there to meet them. Portola arrived in San Diego on July 1, 1769 and the first mission in the chain was founded. Portola stayed in San Diego for two weeks to rest up and then set off to find Monterey. Father Serra stayed behind and built Mission San Diego.

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