First Contact

America began well before Jamestown, well before Plymouth Rock. An informative video introduces the 1542 Spanish expedition that explored the Channel Islands off the coast of southern California. The voyage started with the attempt to find a way to connect Europe to China, but became an expedition focused on the three G's — for God, gold, and glory. The first video in the four-part series details Cabrillo's journey and the reconstruction of the San Salvador, Cabrillo's ship.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Sailing tours on the San Salvador are available from the San Diego harbor
  • Have groups investigate the ocean currents and winds surrounding the Channel Island to understand the challenges Cabrillo and his sailors faced trying to sail up the California coast
  • Provide class members with maps of the California coast and the Channel Islands and have them compare these maps to the map images presented in the video
Classroom Considerations
  • While the videos may be of particular interest to southern California learners, the five-part series is appropriate for any study of California, American, or world history
  • The remaining lessons in the series are based on concepts presented in the video
Pros
  • The engaging video looks at the history of the voyage, Cabrillo's fate, and the reconstruction of the San Salvador by an all-volunteer crew
Cons
  • None