2023 marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of Mission San Francisco Solano. Nestled in the Valley of the Moon, in the heart of California’s wine country, the mission is an unmistakable landmark. The simple 2,400-square-foot church stands along Sonoma’s main square, across the street from the barracks that General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo built to house the […]
All articles related to the Spanish Missions in California.
Vaqueros were the most important workers in the mission and rancho eras. And some of the first vaqueros were Native American. Learn more about these unique figures on the California frontier. What Does “Vaquero” Mean? The word vaquero is usually translated as “cowboy” in English, and literally means “someone in charge of cows.” It also […]
What was daily life like for Native Americans at Mission Santa Cruz? What did they eat? What jobs did they do? An introduction to life at Alta California’s 12th Spanish Mission. Where is Mission Santa Cruz Located? Mission Santa Cruz is located near the northern coast of Monterey Bay, on the west side of the […]
The California frontier is full of reports of the marvelous or miraculous events that defy scientific explanation. Historian Skyler Reidy has been investigating curious stories of the mission era, and he helps us make sense of them. Skyler Reidy Skyler Reidy is a PhD candidate in the history department at the University of Southern California. […]
The California missions are home to fascinating stories and interesting facts. The following is a list 50 things you might not know about the missions– but there are many more to discover. Pirate Raid In 1818, a French privateer named Hippolyte Bouchard (known in Spanish as Hipólito Bouchard), led a series of raids along the coast of Alta California. Bouchard […]
The story of the Spanish missions in California has its roots in 16th century Mexico. There, Franciscan friars and their native partners sought to record the memories of Aztec elders before their culture was changed forever. The information they collected is contained in the Florentine Codex. Ezekiel Stear Dr. Ezekiel Stear is Assistant Professor of […]
What was daily life like for Native Americans at Mission San Gabriel Arcángel? What did they eat? What jobs did they do? An introduction to life at Alta California’s 4th Spanish Mission. Who Founded Mission San Gabriel? Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was the 4th mission established in Alta California. The mission was founded on September […]
In this second part of the interview we learn about what studying economic history can reveal about the past. In particular, we learn about California’s early connections to the Far East, and how competition over the fur trade created some unusual rivalries and alliances. Highlights of Part 2: Franciscan views of money and morality. The […]
The story of the Spanish missions in California isn’t always what it seems. By delving into Mexico’s National Archives, Dr. Marie Christine Duggan uncovered facts that provide a unique inside view of mission life. From murder trials to Indian militias, we talk about some of the lesser-known aspects of California mission history. Marie Christine Duggan […]
How did the Missions Affect California? Much of the culture of California has its roots in the history of the Spanish missions. And although the missions were only fully active for about 60 years, their presence had a major impact on many areas of life in California. In this article we’ll talk about some of […]
What was daily life like for Native Americans at Mission San Diego de Alcalá? What did they eat? What jobs did they do? An introduction to life at Alta California’s 1st Spanish Mission. Who Founded Mission San Diego de Alcalá and When Was It Founded? Mission San Diego de Alcalá was founded by Fr. Junípero […]
Native Americans came to the California missions for a variety of reasons. Some of these were: protection from their enemies, access to stable food sources, attraction to Spanish culture and religion, fear of Spanish weapons and a desire to stay together with their clans and kin. Were Native Americans Forced to Enter the California Missions? […]
The California missions ended after Mexico became independent of Spain. The newly independent Mexican government eventually passed laws that called for an end to the mission system through a process called “secularization.” Secularization: The end of the Spanish missions in California To visit the California missions today is an impressive experience. The church buildings, gardens […]
Originally built as a hospital outpost for Mission Dolores, Mission San Rafael Arcángel grew to become a successful mission in its own right. Nearby China Camp State Park offers a complementary glimpse into California’s unique history.
Fr. José Altimira was a Spanish Franciscan priest who founded Mission San Francisco Solano, the last — and most controversial — of the Alta California missions.
Between 1769 and 1823 Spanish missionaries founded 21 missions up and down the coast of Alta California (today’s state of California). These missions were meant to continue the chain of missions extending north from the southern tip of Baja California. Below is a list of mission facts:
How was a mission site chosen? What factors went into the location of a mission? Who decided where to build a mission? When was Mission San Miguel Founded? Mission San Miguel Arcángel was founded on July 25, 1797 by Fr. Fermín de Lasuén and Fr. Buenaventura Sitjar. Important Steps Before establishing a Spanish mission in […]
How did native people live at Mission Santa Inés? What was daily life like? What languages did they speak? What foods did they eat? How did they dress?
How did native people live at the Spanish missions in Alta California? What were their jobs? What did they eat? An in-depth look at Native American life in the California missions.