First West Coast Settlement: Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue in fourteen hundred ninety-two. Just 40 years later in 1533 Hernan Cortez made an exploration of the east coast of the Baja including Loreto Bay. Then, in 1684, Jesuit Padre Kino attempted to found a settlement a bit north of present Loreto, at San Bruno. It failed due to lack of fresh water, but in 1697 his friend Padre Juan Maria Salvatierra was able to found the first successful Spanish settlement in the Californias, at Loreto.
Spain needed supply ports for its gold trade route, and the Spanish church was at the height of its militancy, inspired by the work of Father Francis Xavier in the Pacific and China. Thus it is not surprising that the small group of founders of the city included a detachment of about 17 Spanish soldiers – under the command of Padre Salvatierra.