Martín de Aguilar

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Martín de Aguilar (fl. 1603) was a Spanish explorer whose log contains one of the first written descriptions of the coast of the U.S. state of Oregon.[1]

Aguilar was the commander of the ship Tres Reyes in an expedition led by Sebastián Vizcaíno.[2] Vizcaíno set out from Mexico in 1602 in search of usable harbors and the mythical city of Quivira. While exploring along the northern California coast, a storm separated Vizcaíno and Aguilar's ships.[2] While Vizcaíno may have reached the present Oregon-California border, Aguilar continued up the coast. Aguilar is thought to have sighted and named Cape Blanco, and he may have sailed as far as Coos Bay.[2][3][4]

Aguilar reported sighting a "rapid and abundant" river that he did not enter because of the current.[2] He then turned back to Mexico because of scurvy among his crew.[2] It is unknown what river he sighted, but maps referred to the "Rio d'Aguilar" in the 18th century.[2] No deliberate exploration of the Northwest Coast occurred again until some 150 years after Aguilar, though accidental sightings and shipwrecks were possible.[2]

Aguilar and most of his crew died on the way to Acapulco.[4]


  1. Historia general de América: Período colonial. Angloamérica II Academia Nacional de la Historia (Venezuela), Guillermo Morón, Louis B. Wright - 1986- p90 "A tal mar daban acceso dos pasos: uno, que se señalaba a los 43°, que fue el que supuso Aguilar en 1603. ... También dedujo el marino español que los rusos no habían encontrado el estrecho de Anian, que comenzó a pensarse no podía ser un amplio ... Vicente Doz, a la vista de los datos reunidos en Madrid, y según lo supuso ya Martín de Aguilar en 1603, en la expedición de Sebastián Vizcaíno."
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