September 9, 2008
Contact: John Cunnane
Join San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in celebrating West Coast Hispanic Heritage with a presentation entitled Spanish Explorers in Early California. This special program will be offered aboard the park’s 1886 square-rigged ship Balclutha on Sunday, September 21 at 3pm. Additionally, the program will be offered on Saturday October 26, and Saturday November 1 at 3pm.
“Many people believe that California’s ‘European’ history started with the Gold Rush in the late 1840s, or the Spanish mission system in the late 1700s,” said interpretive park ranger Chris Edwards. ” In reality, the European California experience began much sooner, with the Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542.”
Spanish Explorers in Early California will set the story straight, and explore the challenges and dangers that Cabrillo and his crew faced when charting unknown lands with a small sailing ship and fickle winds.
The program will also detail the voyages made by Hispanics on board the Balclutha itself during the vessel’s career in the Alaska salmon trade.
“Many people employed in the salmon canneries were Hispanic,” said Edwards, who, along with Ranger Tom Jares, will be leading the history presentation, “and in addition to the hard cannery work, they made long, uncomfortable sea voyages from the Bay Area to the Alaskan fishing grounds.”
Spanish Explorers in Early California is free with park admission (boarding pass $5 adults; free for those under 16 years old, and National Park pass holders).
For more information please call 415-447-5000 or visit http://www.nps.gov/safr.