Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portugese explorer sailing under the
flag of Spain, leaves Navidad, Mexico and sails into San Diego Bay
three months later. The ships sail farther north and then returns
Spain launches a second expedition lead by Sebastian Vizcaino, who
names the area "San Diego."
Another Spanish expedition, including Father Junipero Serra, comes
to San Diego, and July 16, 1769 is now considered the formal birthday
of San Diego.
Spanish rule ends, and a Mexican flag flies over San Diego for about
The first American flag is raised.
California becomes a state, and entrepreneurs begin arriving, who
forever make their mark on the thriving new city.
Alonzo Horton, the father of new San Diego, sells parcels of land
south of Old Town, to which settlers and businesses migrate following
an 1872 fire that destroys Old Town.
Entrepreneurs Elisha Babcock and H.L. Story build the world-famous
Hotel del Coronado, which today remains the largest wooden oceanside
structure in the world.
The U.S. Navy makes San Diego its home and San Diego currently contains
one of the largest military complexes in the world. Its residents
have become accustomed to the military presence - from powerful
Navy jets thundering in low over the surf to the massive Navy ships
anchored in the bay.
San Francisco earthquake changes the course of the Colorado River to empty into the Bay of Cortez instead of the San Diego River.
The world-famous San Diego Zoo came into being when animals imported
for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition were quarantined and not
allowed to leave.
Once a sleepy mission town, the city of San Diego now is home to more
than 2.7 million people and has become a rich, vibrant, cultural center,
as well as California's second-largest city after Los Angeles. The San
Diego Tijuana Border Crossing is the worlds busiest ports of entry.
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