September 28, 1542 — Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sets foot on the sands of Pt. Loma. Witnessed by 3 Indians, Cabrillo names this new-found land San Miguel.
November 20, 1602 — Sebastian Vizcaino moors his ships behind Ballast Point and gives the area the name San Diego, after Saint Didacus of Alcala.
May 14, 1769 — Capt. Rivera y Moncada and Fr. Juan Crespi are the first white men to reach San Diego by land.
July 1, 1769 — Father Junipero Serra arrives on foot from Rosarito, Baja California.
July 16, 1769 — The Presidio at San Diego, the first mission in California, is founded. November 5, 1775 — Indians revolt at San Diego mission, destroying the mission and killing the first Catholic martyr, Fr. Luis Jayme.
November 27, 1793 — British explorer George Vancouver and his ships Discovery, Chatham, and Daedalus are the first foreign vessels to enter San Diego harbor.
August 25, 1800 — The first American ship, Betsy, commanded by Capt. Charles Winship, docks at harbor.
April 20, 1822 — San Diego comes under official Mexican rule.
January 1, 1835 — San Diego is declared a pueblo.
January 1, 1838 — The city becomes a part of the prefecture of Los Angeles, entitled only to a Justice of the Peace.
July 29, 1846 — Capt. S.F. du Pont, entering port on the USS Cyane, raises the first American flag.
February, 1849 — The Pacific Mail Steamship Co. begins the first passenger-ship service to San Diego.
February 18, 1850 — San Diego is named the first county in the newly admitted state of California.
June 16, 1850 — Incorporated as a city, San Diegans elect Joshua H. Bean as the first mayor. Official census figures show 650 residents of the city, 798 countywide, not including Indians.
May 29, 1851 — The Herald, the city’s first paper, is published.
May 26, 1862 — Already racked by economic depression- caused by the Civil War, San Diego is hit with a series of earthquakes that wash the river over its banks. November, 1862 — A smallpox epidemic attacks the city, and droughts that will eventually kill over 10.000 head of livestock begin.
April 15, 1867 — Alonzo E. Horton, the “Father of San Diego," establishes residence here.
February, 1868 — Horton begins construction of the Harbor Dr. wharf.
October 10, 1868 — The Union publishes its first edition.
February 20, 1870 — A.C. Bichers strikes gold in the Cuyamacas.
August 20, 1870 — The first telegraph message is received from Los Angeles. October 17, 1870 — The Horton Hotel on D Street (Broadway) between Third and Fourth is dedicated.
September, 1873 — The first municipal water company is founded.
June, 1876 — The Southern Pacific Railway joins Los Angeles and the city. June, 1882 — San Diego Telephone Co. begins service to its 13 subscribers. February, 1885 — E.S. Babcock and H.L. Story buy Coronado Island for $110,000; A. Jackson Myers builds the first house in Oceanside.
July 13, 1886 — Babcock and Story’s San Diego Street Car Co. begins running mule-drawn cars from D St. (Broadway) ferry landing to Fifth St.
July 18, 1886 — The first ferries cross Coronado Bay. Round-trip fare: 20 cents. January 29, 1888 — The Hotel del Coronado, built by Chinese labor, is opened.
February 33, 1897 — The U.S. Navy shows its first interest in establishing a base here.
January 1, 1900 — An official census claims 19,000 residents.
June, 1900 —- John D. Spreckels opens the first “tent city’’ on Coronado Island. December, 1902 — Samuel Parsons. Jr., president of the American Society of Land scape Architects, begins work on City (Balboa) Park.
June, 1909 — Automobile roads link San Diego with El Cajon valley, Santee. Ramona. Escondido and Los Angeles.
October 15, 1910—Louis Wilde opens the U.S. Grant Hotel.
July 19, 1911 — The Panama California Expo, opens in newly-built Balboa Park. January to May, 1912 — The free speech meetings held by the Industrial Workers of the World climax with the expulsion of feminist Emma Goldman from the city by police.
June 21, 1914 — Work is begun on Balboa Stadium.
February 13, 1915 — The first plank road connecting Imperial Valley with Yuma, Arizona is laid.
June 30, 1917 — World War One brings Camp Kearny, the Naval Hospital and the North Island Air Station to the city. September 19, 1919 — President Woodrow Wilson pleads for U.S. involvement in the League of Nations before 50,000 San Diegans.
November 15, 1919 — John D. Spreckels drives the golden spike completing the S 18,000.000 San Diego-Arizona Railroad. January 1, 1920 — The population of the city reaches 75,000; the county hits 110,000.
June I, 1923 — The Naval Training Station and Marine Corps base are established. September, 1924 — An electric railway extends to Mission Beach and La Jolla.
May 15, 1925 — J.D. Spreckels opens his S4,000,000 Mission Beach Resort (Belmont Park) that includes a bathhouse and casino. May 10, 1927 — Charles Lindbergh leaves North Island in his San Diego-built Spirit of St. Louis en route to Paris.
February, 1928 — Col Ira C. Copley of Aurora, 111. purchases the Union and Evening Tribune.
July 16, 1929 — Presidio Park and Museum are dedicated on the 160th anniversary of the mission's founding. November 8, 1929 — The new $1,000,000 Fox Theatre is opened.
December 21, 1930 — The famous “Hole in the Fence” at the border crossing is closed; no traffic can cross the border after 6 p.m.
May 1-3, 1931 —The new San Diego State College, moved from its original site on Normal St. to, its present location, is dedicated.
June, 1932 — At the height of the Great Depression, San Diego county has 16.000 unemployed and 4,000 families on relief. September 11, 1932 — The Star of India docks at the harbor.
July 3, 1937 — Financed by a $500,000 grant from the Works Progress Administration and with the help of Bing Crosby, the Del Mar Fairgrounds opens for racing.
July 16, 1938 — Franklin D. Roosevelt visits and dedicates the $2,000,000 Civic Center (County Administration Building).
October 10, 1957 — May Company announces plans for the first section of a proposed $80,000,000 shopping center in Mission Valley.
June, 1959 — The one millionth San Diegan.
March 21, 1964 — Sea World opens. September 16, 1964 — Community Concourse opens.
September 10, 1967 — The first football game is played in San Diego Stadium.
August 2, 1969 — The Crown City makes its final run across Coronado Bay ending 83 years of ferry service. At 12:01 a.m. on August 3rd, the new bridge is opened for autos.
January 6, 1970 — The Union lauds the construction of 9 multi-million-dollar shopping centers within the past 10 years.