On June 17, 1579, English explorer Francis Drake came upon the Bay while trying to escape Spanish explorers along the California coast. Drake founded New Albion along the bay and colonized the area into a English territory. Bad Bay weather forced Drake and his crew out of the bay to explore the region. In fact, Drake and his expedition were the first explorers to find gold in northern California, but it was not until 1848 when James Marshall spotted gold pebbles in the river outside Sutter’s Mill. The rest is, as they say, history.


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