1533: Spanish ships reach the tip of Baja California.
1535: Hernán Cortez reaches Baja California.
1539: Francisco de Ulloa confirms that Baja California is a peninsula.
1542: Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo arrives in San Diego Bay. He later sails as far as the Oregon coast.
1579: Francis Drake lands near San Francisco.
1602: Sebastián Vizcaíno sails into Monterey Bay.
1741: Vitus Bering arrives in Alaska.
1768: James Cook rounds Cape Horn.
1769: Gaspar de Portolá and company arrive in San Diego, establish first Alta California presidio and mission. Portolá later reaches Monterey by land. Cook arrives in Tahiti.
1770: First presidio and mission established at Monterey.
1774: Juan Bautista de Anza leads first expedition overland to Monterey from Tubac.
1776: Second Anza expedition brings settlers to northern Alta California.
1777: Pueblo of San José founded – first Spanish town in Alta California.
1781: Founding of the Pueblo of Los Ángeles (Nuestra Señora, Reina de los Ángeles de la Porciúncula)