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Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo To Be Officially Recognized As Spanish

A sign for Cabrillo National Monument sits at the entrance of the park in Poi...

Photo by Susan Murphy

Above: A sign for Cabrillo National Monument sits at the entrance of the park in Point Loma, Aug. 10, 2017.

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo To Be Officially Recognized As Spanish


Iris Engstrand, San Diego historian


This is a big weekend for the legacy of Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo.

This Friday, 476 years after he sailed into San Diego Bay, Cabrillo officially becomes Spanish again.

As San Diego historian Iris Engstrand explains a mistake in a 17th-century history book set off a chain reaction that led some to believe Cabrillo was of Portuguese descent. The controversy has been going on for years, even affecting the spelling and pronunciation of his name.

But more recently a Canadian researcher uncovered a document that shows Cabrillo identified as a native of Spain.

Ahead of this weekend’s annual Cabrillo Festival, the Cabrillo National Monument will install plaques that recognize Spain, not Portugal, as the country where Cabrillo was born.

Engstrand discusses the mystery over Cabrillo's heritage Wednesday on Midday Edition.


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