Sir Francis Drake was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world. He discovered a number of sites on the west coasts of North and South America, including California, which he called "Nova Albion," or "New Britain."
No one is sure exactly where Drake landed in California, though evidence points to San Francisco Bay, Drakes Bay or Bodega Bay. The maps he made for his journey may have been altered to keep the location of the bay secret from the Spanish. Though the passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean bears the name Drake Passage, the waterway was actually discovered by a Flemish expedition in 1616, 20 years after Drake himself had died.