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
Marie Christine Duggan is an economic historian and Professor of Global Economic History at Keene State University in New Hampshire. She studies how market forces shaped human lives in 18th century Spanish California and 19th century Mexican California.
Dr. Duggan grew up in Berkeley, California and finished her education at the New School for Social Research in New York. In 1995, Dr. Duggan located account books for nine California missions in Mexico’s National Archives, which were the basis for her 2000 PHD dissertation, Market and Church on the Mexican Frontier. She received in 1997 the Maynard Geiger Fellowship for research at the Santa Barbara Mission Archive Library and the Haynes Foundation Fellowship for Research at the Huntington Library.
In 2017 she received the Norman Neuerburg Award from the California Missions Foundation for her contributions to scholarship on California’s missions, presidios, pueblos, and ranchos.
Highlights of Part 1:
- Early research Into trials murder trials at the California Missions.
- How mission communities exerted pressure on their members.
- How were missionaries spending their money? Account books as a view from inside the missions:
- Native Americans as blacksmiths and cowboys.
- Franciscans and Indian militias
- Why missionaries resisted teaching Spanish to Native Americans.
- What constituted a missionary’s power? The case of Antonio Peyrí in San Luis Rey.
- The town in Catalonia that produced three California missionaries.
- The radical transformation of the missions after 1810.
- Conflicts between missionaries and the military over land grants.
- Misconceptions about the size of missions.
- Conflicts between mission communities over boundaries.
To Learn More
- Marie Christine Duggan at Keene State University
- Book: The Chumash and the Presidio of Santa Barbara by Marie Christine Duggan
- Mentioned in the interview: “With and Without an Empire: Financing for California Missions Before and After 1810” from the Pacific Historical Review (2016).
- Other articles by Marie Christine Duggan