September 3, 1558
Guido Lavazares and Bernaldo Peloso sailed three vessels from the Mexican port of Veracruz to Mobile Bay. Authorized by Spanish king Philip II, the exploration was the first to reach Alabama since Hernando de Soto’s inland expedition in 1540. The Spanish sought potential settlement sites along the Gulf of Mexico to provide a haven for ships in distress and named the bay Bahía Filipina, or Philip’s Bay. Lavazares described the bay’s deep anchorage as “the largest and most commodious” yet seen and noted that the area offered the necessary resources for livestock production, building construction and brickmaking. A second expedition to Mobile and Pensacola bays followed later that year.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
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