A skull discovered in 1929 established human presence in San Diego about 12,000 years ago. The Kumeyaay tribe, present at the time of Cabrillo’s landing, lived in small, organized villages, and subsisted on wild fruits and nuts, game, and fish.
Cabrillo was the first European to land at San Diego Bay. The Spanish believed that Baja and Alta California were part of a larger island, “Isla California,” named for a legendary land in a Spanish 15th-century romance. California was part of the Spanish Empire for the next 279 years.