1542 Spanish Voyage Calls San Pedro Bay the ‘Bay of the Smoke’

In 1542, a tiny armada of two ships sailed up the California coast, flying the flag of Spain. On board were two-to-three-hundred men, including seamen, soldiers, merchants, and Indian and African slaves.

“At daybreak on Saturday, the 7th of the month of October, they were at the islands which they named San Salvador and La Victoria.

They anchored at one of them and went ashore with the boat to see if there were people; and when the boats came near, a great number of Indians emerged from the bushes and grass, shouting, dancing, and making signs that they should land.

As they saw that the women were fleeing, from the boats they made signs that they should not be afraid. Immediately they were reassured, and laid their bows and arrows on the ground and launched in the water a good canoe which held eight or ten Indians, and came to the ships. They gave them beads and other articles, with which they were pleased, and then they returned. Afterwards the Spaniards went ashore, and they, the Indian women, and all felt very secure.

Here an old Indian made signs to them that men like the Spaniards, clothed and bearded, were going about on the mainland. They remained on this island only until midday.”

Read more: http://www.kcet.org/updaily/socal_focus/history/la-as-subject/exploring-the-bay-of-the-smoke.html