California boasts an ancient Spanish heritage forgotten, too often, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Two and a half centuries before the U.S. incorporated California into its territory, an Extremaduran, Sebastián Vizcaíno, had already taken possession of these lands on behalf of the Spanish Crown. One hundred sixty-seven years later, Gaspar de Portolà from Lleida, was the first European to see the San Francisco Bay. Another Spaniard, Seville's Juan Manuel de Ayala, navigated the bay for the first time in 1775 aboard the "San Carlos" and baptized Alcatraz Island. The founding of the city of San Francisco was a quiet event by a Basque descendant, Juan Bautista de Anza, one year later.