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Early Exploration of California

European interest in California stretches back over 400 years. Spanish mariners began exploring the Pacific coast of North America in the early 16th century.

It was a time when powers such as Spain, England, France and Ottoman Empire competed for control of land and trade in Europe, the Near East and Africa. Seeking to outflank her rivals in Europe,  Spain supported explorers and adventurers who could find areas of expansion in the Americas, where empires such as the Aztecs and Incas also expanded and conquered neighboring peoples.

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