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The Portola expedition, led by Gaspar de Portolà from July 14, 1769 to January 24, 1770, was the first known recorded attempt by Spainmarker to explore Alta Californiamarker by land. The purpose of the expedition was to secure bases in Upper California before the Russiansmarker. The plan was to establish a base in the Port of Monterey (now Monterey, Californiamarker) as described by Sebastián Vizcaíno. The expedition consisted of 64 men in all, and approximately 200 horses and mules. The expedition started at the Presidio of San Diegomarker on July 14 and returned on January 24, 1770 — failing to recognize Monterey Baymarker.

Official diaries were kept by Father Juan Crespí and Engineer Miguel Costansó.

The expedition is also famous for 'discovering' the Coastal Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) on October 14 1769; (first recorded October 15). They are also widely believed to be the first Europeans to see the San Francisco Baymarker.

File:PortolasExpeditionMarker.jpg|Point of Bay Area Discovery


Further reading

  • The Discovery of San Francisco Bay: The Portolà Expedition of 1769-1770 (The Diary of Miguel Costansó) Edited by Peter Browning, ISBN 0-944220-06-1

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