May 30, 2012 7:54 PM by Associated Press

GQ: When was the first contact between local Chumash Indians and Europeans?

Our Good Question tonight is about the original inhabitants of much of California. Elizabeth Pascual of Santa Maria wants to know, when was the earliest contact between the Chumash Indians and Europeans?" Good Question.

Many groups speaking Chumash languages once stretched along coastal California. Spanish explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo first encountered Island Chumash in 1542 when he sailed into the Santa Barbara Channel. Hhe made stops along the mainland near Ventura and then Santa Barbara. Other Spanish explorers later made contact with Chumash in 1595 on the Channel Islands and in 1602 at Santa Barbara.

But ongoing contact didn't start until a century and a half later in 1769. That's when the first Spanish land expedition led by Gaspar de Portola left Baha California and reached the Chumash at the Santa Barbara Channel.

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