Military History Building Closed until March 10, 2014
The Military History Building is undergoing a Seismic Retrofit (Earthquake Safety) and will be closed through 3/10/14. We apologize for this inconvenience.
Interior of Lighthouse Will Be Closed for Seismic Retrofit
The Lighthouse is undergoing a Seismic retrofit (earthquake safety). It is still open to the public, while the basement is worked on. The interior of the lighthouse will be closed once the basement is completed. Please call (619) 557-5450 for info.
The Fifth Nation
As Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed north, he knew that the land he was to claim for Spain was already occupied by people called Indians. When he entered the harbor here, he saw several Kumeyaay Indians waiting on shore and was greeted by three of them. They had long hair, some in braids and adorned with feathers or shells. Some men wore capes made from the skin of sea otter, seal, or deer. By mimicking men with lances on horseback and demonstrating armor and the slashed sleeves worn by Spanish soldiers, the Kumeyaay indicated that other Spanish were several days’ journey inland and that they had killed many Indians. “They showed that they (the bearded men) had crossbows, and made gestures with their right arm as if they were spearing,” Cabrillo wrote. “They went running as if they were on a horse, and for that reason they were afraid.” Cabrillo, however, gave the Kumeyaay gifts and said he would not harm them. He noted that they looked prosperous and sailed far out to sea fishing in reed canoes. The Kumeyaay lived well by understanding their environment. They made pottery, baskets, and abalone and other shell jewelry that they traded to neighbors.
Today, descendants of the Kumeyaay people that Cabrillo encountered still live in San Diego County on thirteen reservations. Tribal members are an integral part of the annual Cabrillo Festival Open House, along with representatives from the United States, Spain, Mexico, and Portugal. Known as The Fifth Nation, the Kumeyaay share their traditions and stories with thousands of Festival visitors. To learn more about Kumeyaay history and culture, click on the link to the right.
Did You Know?
Did you know that Cabrillo National Monument boasts one of the best harbor views in the world? On clear winter days, you can experience a panorama that stretches from Mexico to the snow-capped mountains east of Los Angeles.