CaliforniaFrontier.net is a resource for those interested, passionate or just curious about the early history of California, especially the Spanish missions and the people, places and events associated with them.
Much has been written about the “mission era” — not all of it factual or well-researched. CaliforniaFrontier.net is a place to find information that is accessible, helpful and accurate.
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, soldiers and settlers centuries ago. It was a time when California was truly a frontier, a place of encounter and adaptation, struggle and conflict.
So in addition to information on the missions, you will find stories and facts about ranchos, rancherias, pueblos and the people who lived in them during the years between 1769 and 1853. You will also learn about places you can visit to understand more about this fascinating frontier legacy and resources to help you learn more.
My name is Damian Bacich and I am the creator of CaliforniaFrontier.net. I am a husband, father and educator who is passionate about early California, especially its Native, Spanish and Mexican legacies.
In college I studied history, and later completed a Ph.D in Hispanic languages and literatures. Now I make my living as a university professor, and I teach and do research about the Colonial Latin America, including California before statehood.
Why I Started This Site
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.
As I’ve researched more and more over the last several years I’ve learned some fascinating things and met some extraordinary people. My goal is to share what I am learning with as many people as possible.
Second, I am a father of elementary school-aged children. I know so many people who either learned about the missions and early California for their fourth grade history project — something students in California are required to do — or whose children have done so. Most people I talk to don’t actually learn much about the missions or the California frontier, or else they have trouble finding good resources. As a parent and educator I want to do my part to help California third and fourth graders, their parents and teachers find the best resources for understanding a fascinating and complex era.
If you are a history buff, a teacher or a parent whose child is working on a mission project, I hope you’ll find CaliforniaFrontier.net interesting and 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.
You can do me a big favor by dropping me a line and letting me know what you would like to see or learn about on this site. I look forward to hearing from you!
Damian Bacich, Ph.D.