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Permanent colonization of California and of San Diego began in 1769 with the arrival of four contingents of Spaniards from New Spain and the Baja California peninsula.Two seaborne parties reached San Diego Bay: the San Carlos, under Vicente Vila and including as notable members the engineer and cartographer Miguel Costansó and the soldier and future governor Pedro Fages, and the San Antonio, under Juan Pérez.An initial overland expedition to San Diego from the south was led by the soldier Fernando Rivera and included the Franciscan missionary, explorer, and chronicler Juan Crespí, followed by a second party led by the designated governor Gaspar de Portolà and including the mission president (and now saint) Junípero Serra.In May 1769, Portolà established the Fort Presidio of San Diego on a hill near the San Diego River.
With an estimated population of 1,406,630 as of July 1, 2016, San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest in California.
In 1821, San Diego became part of the newly independent Mexico, which reformed as the First Mexican Republic two years later.
California became part of the United States in 1848 following the Mexican–American War and was admitted to the union as a state in 1850.
Upon landing in San Diego Bay in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area for Spain, forming the basis for the settlement of Alta California 200 years later.
The Presidio and Mission San Diego de Alcalá, founded in 1769, formed the first European settlement in what is now California.
Arriving on his flagship San Diego, Vizcaíno surveyed the harbor and what are now Mission Bay and Point Loma and named the area for the Catholic Saint Didacus, a Spaniard more commonly known as San Diego de Alcalá.