With our Portola Hotel & Spa renovation now complete and the Monterey Conference Center in its final phases, our beloved statue of famous Explorer and Spaniard Captain Don Gaspar de Portola has returned to the front of the hotel in the Portola Plaza. Buffed, polished and looking better than ever, we are thrilled to welcome this exquisite piece of public art back home for all to admire.
A bit more about Don Gaspar de Portola:
- It was not until 1770, that Spaniard Captain Don Gaspar de Portola, then a captain in King Carlos the Third's army and another famous Californian, Father Junipero Serra, arrived and founded a city, which they would call, Monterey. This was the same year that European settlers began to colonize this area of California.
- Portola led the first extensive exploration by land from San Diego to San Francisco, naming many points along the way. His party included the first Europeans to report on seeing San Francisco Bay (though they did not name it). Click here to learn more.
- Portola eventually went on to become Governor of Puebla, Mexico and ultimately returned to Spain in 1784.
- Longtime friend and ally to the United States, His Majesty, King Juan Carlos I of Spain presented this life-size bronze sculpture of Captain de Portola to the City of Monterey as a gift in 1987. The sculpture, created by Fausto Blazquez, depicted Portola during the founding of Monterey
For more fun and interesting facts about the history of Monterey. Click here to learn more.