Spanish Missions in California

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California was occupied by Native Americans during the early eighteenth century. They had no idea of the drastic change that was about to take place on their people. I will be informing you of the Spanish Mission systems the Europeans had instituted and established during the late eighteenth century throughout the coast of California. I will discuss the influence on the state of California along with information about how and what their fundamental purpose was. All across the coast of California the twenty-one missions are renowned memories or tokens of California and our state’s antiquity.

A small number of provinces of the world have such a solid idea of a state’s growth and development. During the year 1769 sea and land excursions departed from Mexico for California, stoping in San Diego where the initial fortress and mission were created to work as frontier outposts. King Charles III conferred military troops and Franciscan missionaries to the ‘brand-new land’ to conquer and subjugate the territory and convert it’s Indian natives to Christianity. Over almost 60 years, twenty-one missions, four forts, were founded along the California coast.

The California Mission Foundation wrote” Most of these sites ultimately resulted in the state’s major cities, including San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Jose, and San Francisco.” According to California Mission Foundation, ‘The Establishment of the California missions began seven years before the American Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, and ended 25 years before gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1848.’ The missions had a system of self-sufficient communities developed by Spain throughout the coast of California and the Southwest and intended to facilitate the ‘mission’ of converting people to Christianity.

The conquistadores who had beforehand settled in sections of Mexico strived to protect their colonies furthermore extending their influence northward. The Roman Catholic church wanted to baptize Native Americans and reform them to Christianity. The objective of the mission system assisted both intentions. As reported by teacher.scholastic.com ‘The preeminent Franciscan mission in California (Mission San Diego de Alcalá) was established by Father Junípero Serra in what is now San Diego.’ After a total of Fifty-four years in 1823, the Franciscans established their latest of twenty-one missions at San Francisco Solano. Sequentially each mission possessed a fortified and armed presidio to protect it.

Each ventured to teach the Native Americans both Christianity and European farming practices. A variety of the mission churches persevere today as living precedents of history. The missions were to be easily accessible by taking advantage of an overland road which succeeding became known as the Camino Real. Each station was expected to be self-supporting, as current means of supply were unable to maintain a community of any size. The Spanish Californians had never strayed from the coast when installing their establishments. To sustain a mission, the padres required converted Native Americans, called neophytes, to nurture crops and manage cattle in the volume needed to maintain a fair-sized institution.

California was not close to the nearest base in settled Mexico, and the freight ships of the day were too small to carry larger than a few months’ rations in their storages. There was a massive deficiency of supplies, mutually with a shortage of skillful workers, constrained the missionaries to choose simple construction materials and methods in the development of mission buildings. The initial precedence when establishing a settlement was the location and formation of the church. Once the point for the church had been decided, its site was noted and the rest of the mission complex was prepared.

The purpose of the missions held, above all, the ability to become efficient in a small order. Agriculture, therefore, was the most important business of each mission. Grain, maize, and corn were amidst the most traditional produce planted.The exclusive fruits native to the area, however, consisted of wild berries or grew on minute shrubs. Seed grains were dried and ground by stones into flour. Still today California is favorably identified for the affluence and various varieties of fruit trees that are grown throughout the land. It was popular to use grapes which were matured and fermented into wine. By 1832, the missions collectively owned livestock by the hundreds of thousands.

Ranching also became an important mission industry as cattle and sheep herds were raised. Livestock was raised, non exclusively for the idea of obtaining meat, but also for wool, leather, and tallow, and for developing the land. As we dive deeper into the history of the missions and now understand how the system that took place affected not only California but the world as well. I want to focus on a particular mission which is in San Juan Capistrano. It was established in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra, Mission San Juan Capistrano is famous for its swallows, birds that dwell on the eaves of the constructions when they return every year in March.

In current times upon entering the mission grounds, guests find garden trails that head to the remains of the Great Stone Church, as well as the bell-wall, assembled in 1813. Still whole stand the structures in which the periodic duties of mission development were once conducted, including the monastery and Father Serra’s small chapel. Passageways, arches, terraces, and trophies rank among the highlights.

Now, a pristine mission stands beside the historic site. In order to suit the mission’s growing population, the Great Stone Church was constructed between 1797 – 1806. www.nps.gov had an article about traveling which stated: ‘This cathedral-like building was 180 feet long by 40 feet wide and had a high-vaulted ceiling subdued by seven domes fronted by a 120-foot tall bell tower.’

In December 1812 a huge earthquake devastated the Great Stone Church, killing forty neophytes. The mission system incorporated departments in the chapel and the Great Stone Church. It featured workshops, granaries, residences, kitchens, and a hospital, and was finished in 1812. Now several of the constructions have remained refurbished including the fathers’ living quarters, pantry, storerooms, warehouse, soldiers’ barracks. I have mentioned the systems that the Spanish Europeans had initiated and organized throughout the eighteenth century from the coast of California. I have discussed the significance it had on the state of California along with knowledge about why and what their fundamental purpose was.


Cite this paper

Spanish Missions in California. (2021, Apr 28). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/spanish-missions-in-california/

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