The life-size statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo at the Cabrillo Monument at Point Loma in San Diego, California. The statue is an “idealization,” since no authentic depictions of Cabrillo exist. In 1542 Cabrillo led the first European exploration of the California coast. For years historians believed that Cabrillo was Portuguese, so the inscription beneath his feet on the statue is the Portuguese version of his name, “João Rodrigues Cabrilho.” Recent scholarship has established with reasonable certainty that he was born in Spain.
Cabrillo is shown looking across the bay at Coronado. On a clear day, the view from the monument includes all of San Diego Bay and the coast stretching south into Mexico.