Who has been here?
The lands around you have been inhabited by people for over 10,000 years. The rolling hills and canyons cradling the lagoon provided shelter and food with an abundance of native plants and trees.
For centuries, these people spent their winters where you stand, making salt and gathering shellfish for food, jewelry, tools, and trade. They spent their summers inland at higher, cooler elevations. To the Luise?o, this area was Palmai, or "place of big water."The Luise?o culture is noted for its mysticism and religious practices. As in many families today, their children were taught to respect their elders, bathe frequently, eat sparingly, and share their food with others. Their peaceful coexistence with natural forces created a culture whose openness and adaptability left them vulnerable to aggressive invaders.
The Luise?o greeted the Spanish expedition of Don Gaspar de Portola and Father Juan Crespi with curiosity and good will. While many resisted the authority of the Spanish, many did not. Whether by preference for the Franciscan ways or in submission to Spanish force, the Luise?o lost much of their ancient relationship with nature and drifted into a new pattern of life.
What's in a name?
"It was a hot and dusty afternoon when Don Gaspar de Portola and Father Juan Crespi called a halt by the banks of a tidal lagoon. According to the padre's journal for Monday, July 17, 1769, the party had left San Alejo to the south at three in the afternoon. They had traveled one league before descending into a valley where alders sheltered a deserted Indian village. ?We named this valley San Simon Lipnica', he wrote.
"...the tired troups (sic) bolstered lagging spirits with jokes about the miserable place their leaders had chosen for a rest stop. Taking special exception to the scent of decaying fish and other debris, it was the soldiers who unwittingly christened the lagoon for posterity: ?Agua Hedionda," the tinking waters'."
From "Seekers of the Spring - A History of Carlbad" by Marje Howard-Jones