A resource for those interested, passionate or just curious about the culture of Alta California, including its Spanish missions, native peoples, settlers and explorers.
My name is Damian Bacich and I am the creator of the California Frontier Project. I am an Associate Professor of Spanish at San José State University in California, where I teach courses on the culture and literature of Colonial Latin America, including Alta California.
I have a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from UCLA and a B.A. in History from the University of San Francisco. In my research, I focus on the Hispanic world from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and I am especially interested in translating texts from that period. I also do translation of more modern works, from both Spanish and Italian to English.
Why “California Frontier”?
The heritage and imagery of what we know today as “California” owes a great deal to the encounter between native peoples and the missionaries, explorers, and immigrants centuries ago. It was a time when California was truly a frontier, a place of encounter and adaptation, struggle and conflict. Today, California continues to be a frontier: between north and south, east and west, the past and the present.
So in addition to information on the missions, this project is dedicated to the ranchos, rancherias, pueblos and the people who lived in them between 1542 and 1850. It is also a resource for finding places to visit in order to understand more about California’s frontier legacy.
Why I Started This Project
First, I’ve spent a good deal of time reading primary documents from the California frontier era, along with scholarly books and articles. I also participate in conferences dealing with the missions and their context. I’ve come to know that the California missions and related sites are not just buildings or relics of the past, but windows into a rich cultural and spiritual legacy. They are places where the study of anthropology, archaeology, art, history, music and many other fields meet.
If you are a teacher, or a parent whose child is working on a 3rd or 4th grade project, I hope you’ll find CaliforniaFrontier.net helpful. And although what you will find on this site is my personal take on all things related to the California missions and related topics, my promise is to provide well-researched and useful information.
Please be sure and offer your thoughts. Your feedback is very important and will help to keep improving this site.
Damian Bacich, Ph.D.