For almost a century, it had been known that there was this great honking blob of land between Europe and China. The best of the 16th century navigators had tried everything they could think of to find a Northwest Passage, southern strait, or a navigable river through an istmus without success. Oh you could sail down and around, but that strait found by Magellen was a real ___________ (fill in your favorite Portuguese profanity) to navigate. If you are in California and ask for directions to Cabrillo, you just might get lost because on the 27th of September in 1542 Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was looking for a way to get through the North American continent and found a big bay that just might lead to a cross country passage. No such luck, he had just found San Diego. He continued up the coast hunting for the mythic strait without success before giving up and going home.
As a result there are lots of Cabrillos dotting the geography from South to North:
Cabrillo National Monument at Point Loma (nice Lighthouse) - San Diego County
Cabrillo Marina - Chula Vista, San Diego County
Cabrillo Beach - Los Angeles, Los Angeles County
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium - San Pedro, Los Angeles County
Cabrillo College - Santa Cruz County
Point Cabrillo - Mendocino County (another nice Lighthouse)
Many, many schools and social groups. One of the best is the Cabrillo Civic Clubs founded by Californians of Portuguese descent.
Over 450 years later, Juan might be a bit more successful. Thanks to global warming, the Northwest Passage soon may be navigable.