“QUICK HISTORY OF THE CALIFORNIA MISSIONS”
By: Dr. Francisco J. Collazo
July 28, 2004
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page Number
“Quick History of the California Missions” 4
Spanish Rule 4-5
Mexican Rule 5-6
Mexican War and Annexation Dynamic Timeline of California 6
Gold Rush 6-7
California Historical Events 7
Reverend Junipero Serra 7
Overview of the California Missions 7-8
Mission Grounds 8
Decline of Missions 8
California Mission Description 8
Mission San Diego de Alcala 10-11
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia 11
Mission San Juan Capistrano 11
Mission San Gabriel Archangel 11-12
Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana 12
Mission San Buenaventura 12
Mission Santa Barbara 12-13
Mission La Purisima Concepcion 13-14
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa 14-15
Mission San Miguel Archangel 15
Mission San Antonio de Padua 15
Mission Nuestra Senora de La Soledad 16
Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo 16
Mission Santa Cruz 16-17
Mission San Juan Bautista 17
Mission San Jose de Guadalupe 17
Mission Santa Clara de Assisi 17-18
Mission San Francisco de Assisi 18
Mission San Rafael Archangel 18-19
Mission San Francisco Solano 19
Spanish Governors of Alta California 19
Mexican Governors of Alta California 19
Mexican-American War 20-21
Chronology of the California Missions 22-31
I wish to fully acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Peter Vander Haeghen and the sources used to help implement the ideas presented in this report on California Missions. I especially wish to express my gratitude to Reverend Junispero Serra, Founder of the California Missions.
Other sources that are included in the work-cited are Hoover and Rensch of the Stanford University Press, the journals and drawings of Mr. Henry Miller, the University of Nebraska Press, and Microsoft’s Encarta Encyclopedia. I also wish to acknowledge the assistance of Ms. Billie H. Foster and Ms. Kimberly Hopkins for their dedication and hard work in helping produce such a satisfactory document on California Missions.
Reverend Junipero Serra was responsible for building the missions of the California mission chain. Reverend Serra’s dedication to the missions and the Native Americans was filled with passion. The intent of the missions was to convert all Native Americans to Christianity. The Mexican Rule released the Native Americans from the control of the missions and opened the mission lands for settlement by Californians.
This report will provide background of the California Missions under Spanish Rule and Mexican Rule. This report will also give an overview of the Mexican-American War, how the Gold Rush impacted California, an overview of the different California Missions, and a Chronology of the California Missions.
“QUICK HISTORY OF THE CALIFORNIA MISSIONS”
Introduction: The purpose of this report is to link the Spanish rule to the Mexican rule transition. This was a movement to simultaneously support building the missions in order to win over the native Indians and provide them with a place where would be fed and taught survival skills. Under Spanish rule, there were three Spanish Governors of Alta, California in contrast to Mexican rule where there were fifteen.
The Spanish government blocked the Russians from gaining or claiming territory in Northern California. Most of all, the primary intent of the mission was to convert them to Christianity. The report provides the background and the birth of the mission under Spanish rule and the development of the missions under Mexican rule. Reverend Junipero Serra was responsible for building the missions for the California mission chain. Mexican rule released Native Americans from the control of the missions and opened mission lands for settlement by Californians.
This report provides an overview of the Mexican American War, and the annexation of California after the Mexican War settlement by the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty. On February 2, 1848, California was ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which formally ended the Mexican War. The Gold Rush impacted the growth of California as a state, but it had minimal impact on the development of the California missions. The population of California tripled from 1848 to 1852.
In summary, the development of the California missions was influenced by the Spanish culture on the inhabitants of the state. Reverend Serra had the passion and dedication to start the mission chain. The distance between missions was calculated by the time a traveler needed to travel one day by horse. He devoted his life to the success of the mission, principally providing medical and personal care for the Indians.
Spanish Rule: In the 1740s and 1750s, Russian traders in search of seal and sea otter pelts began hunting along the Pacific coastline north of California. As Spain wanted to prevent any Russian claims to the area, in 1769 Governor Gaspar de Portolá of Lower California (now Baja California, Mexico) led an expedition to settle California.
Accompanied by the Reverend Junípero Serra, a Franciscan missionary, they reached the site of San Diego in July. There they set up a presidio, or military post, as well as a mission where the native inhabitants were brought to be taught Christianity and to be prepared to become subjects of the Spanish king. Between 1769 and 1823 the Franciscans, a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church, built 20 more missions near the coast of California. Before long the missions controlled so much land that they formed a continuous chain from San Diego to north of San Francisco Bay.
Most of the natives in the coastal region were taken to the missions and forced to work as farm laborers under the direction of the missionaries. The Spanish built a number of presidios in addition to their first one at San Diego and created small farming settlements known as pueblos.
The first pueblo was established as early as 1777. The pueblos were inhabited for the most part by poor settlers from Mexico whom the Spanish had induced to go to the California region. Spain, however, could not prevent foreigners from entering California. British, French, and United States ships traded with the Spanish coastal settlements in violation of Spanish regulations prohibiting such trade. In 1812 Russian fur traders built an outpost, now known as Fort Ross, less than 160 km (100 miles) north of San Francisco. They also built several settlements in the vicinity of Bodega Bay and refused to withdraw from California until 1824 when the region was no longer under Spanish control.
Mexican Rule: In 1821 Mexico gained its independence from Spain. In 1825 after several years of local provisional government, Alta California, as the region was then called, formally became a territory of the Republic of Mexico. A number of influential Californians had disliked the wealth and power of the missions under Spanish rule, and after Mexican independence protested to the Mexican authorities against the missions. Eventually the new republic agreed to reduce the power of the missions, and in 1833 the Mexican congress released Native Americans from the control of the missions and opened mission lands for settlement by Californians.
Most of the former mission lands were given as grants to several hundred long time established families. Huge semi feudal estates, known as ranchos, replaced the missions as the dominant institutions in California. Cattle raising, developed during the mission days, was the main economic activity on the ranchos. Ranchos traded cattle hides, tallow, horns, and pickled beef for processed food and manufactured goods from foreign ships, including some from the United States.
During the period of Mexican rule, which lasted into the 1840s, a series of largely bloodless uprisings broke out in California. Sometimes these pitted the rancheros, or ranch owners, against the Mexican authorities. At other times they involved feuds between rancheros themselves, who fought over land or issues of pride.
In the United States settlement, most U.S. citizens who went to California before 1840 were sailors, fur trappers, and adventurers. A number of trappers, including James Ohio Pattie and Jedediah Smith, arrived by overland routes from the East. In 1840 several hundred settlers from the United States lived in California, in addition to several thousand Hispanic, or Spanish-speaking settlers. United States settlers sent out exaggerated reports of the easy life in California.
In the 1840s emigrant parties in the Midwest began to organize for the overland trip to California and other regions along the Pacific Coast. John Bidwell and John Bartleson led the first group of settlers overland in 1841. For the next five years, about 800 settlers traveled to California over the western portion of the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, and the California Trail. These travelers endured a long, arduous trek across plains, deserts, and mountains, and often faced hostile natives and bad weather. One group, the Donner party, became stranded in the Sierra Nevada during the winter of 1846 and 1847; some ate dead members of their party to survive.
Most of the new Californians, many of them farmers, settled in the fertile Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, rather than along the coast. The Mexican government regarded the United States settlers with hostility and suspicion. They feared that they would encourage the United States to attempt to annex California, but the Mexican government was too weak and divided to expel them.
Mexican War and Annexation Dynamic Timeline of California: In 1845 Mexico ruled vast areas of what became the western and southwestern United States, including California. U.S. President James K. Polk was committed to the expansion of the United States and favored the annexation of Texas, which occurred in December 1845. The month before, Polk had sent an envoy to Mexico City in an attempt to purchase California and other parts of the Southwest. In May 1846, Mexico refused the offer. This refusal was one factor, along with the Texas annexation and lawsuits against the Mexican government by U.S. citizens. This led to the Mexican War (1846-1848) between Mexico and the United States.
United States settlers in California had become increasingly uncomfortable with Mexican rule. On June 14, 1846, they captured the presidio at Sonoma, north of San Francisco, and proclaimed the independence of the settlements. The uprising is known as the Bear Flag Revolt because the rebels raised a homemade flag that carried the figure of a grizzly bear as well as a star and the words “California Republic.”
John Charles Frémont, an explorer and future Republican candidate for U.S. president, lent support to these rebels, but the republic was short-lived. On July 7, 1846, Commodore John D. Sloat, commander of U.S. naval forces along the Pacific Coast, ordered the U.S. flag raised at Monterey and formally claimed California for the United States. In August of 1846, Sloat’s replacement, Commodore Robert F. Stockton, set up a new government in California with himself as governor.
However, in September 1846, Mexicans led by Captain José Maria Flores attacked the new republic and gained control over much of California south of San Luis Obispo. Several months later, in December 1846, a U.S. force under Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny arrived in California. They were defeated at the Battle of San Pasqual, near what is now Escondido. Kearny’s men, in cooperation with Stockton’s troops, captured Los Angeles on January 10, 1847. At Los Angeles, the Mexicans, under the so-called Cahuenga Capitulation, agreed to accept United States rule. On February 2, 1848, California was ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which formally ended the Mexican War.
Gold Rush: On January 24, 1848, scarcely more than a week before signing the treaty, New Jersey-born carpenter James W. Marshall inspected a sawmill that he was building with his partner, John A. Sutter, on the South Fork of the American River, 56 km (35 mi) northeast of Sacramento. Marshall noticed flakes of yellow metal that later proved to be gold. By the end of that year, Marshall’s discovery had set off the greatest gold rush in United States history. In 1849 gold seekers, known as Forty-Niners, came to California from every part of the United States and from all over the world.
The search for gold was concentrated on the Mother Lode country, in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. California’s population rose to more than 90,000 by the end of 1849 and to 220,000 by 1852, the year in which gold production reached its peak. In the next two years, the gold rush ended almost as quickly as it began. Gold mining became a fairly stable and more organized enterprise. Most prospectors either became farmers, merchants, or left the state, as large mining companies took their place.
Statehood: The flood of settlers following the discovery of gold created a need for effective civil government in California. The Congress of the United States had failed to organize California as a territory because of a deadlock over whether slavery would be permitted in the new states. Finally, Californians acted on their own. In September 1849 a convention met at Monterey and adopted a state constitution, including a clause prohibiting slavery. The constitution was approved by popular vote on November 13, and on December 15 the first legislature met at San Jose to create an unofficial state government. The Compromise Measures of 1850, a series of congressional acts passed during August and September 1850, admitted California as a free, or non-slave, state. On September 9, 1850, California became the 31st state in the Union. Peter H. Burnett, a Democrat, was its first governor. The state capital was moved successively from San Jose to Monterey, Vallejo, and Benicia. It was located permanently at Sacramento in 1854.
California Historical Events: TBD
Mission Grounds: At times the Native American population at a single mission reached 2000 people. Therefore, missions required extensive lands for grain fields, orchards, and pastures. On the mission grounds were buildings, such as a church, priest’s quarters, shops, and storehouses, as well as a cemetery and water supply system. The mission buildings were generally situated near the center of the estate and were fortified in case of attack.
In general, the arrangement of the mission grounds followed that of monastic institutions in Mexico and Spain. The mission featured a central patio surrounded by buildings and guarded by a double gate. The patio, which usually had a fountain at its center, was the focal point of day-to-day mission activities and was large enough to accommodate the mission population. The church building stood away from the courtyard but dominated the group of mission buildings. Usually a plaza with arcaded walkways fronted the road.
Decline of Missions: The prosperity of the missions led to dissatisfaction among settlers in California and officials in Mexico and Spain. They regarded the missions as part of an antiquated feudal system, with the priest as the lord and the Native Americans as serfs (see Feudalism). In 1813 officials in Spain ordered that all lands in California that had been held by the priests for ten years or more be returned to the Native Americans. However, King Ferdinand VII of Spain revoked the law the following year, allowing the missions to retain possession of their lands.
In 1821 Mexico gained its independence from Spain. In 1833 the Mexican congress released the Native Americans from the control of the missions and opened mission lands for settlement by Californians. Ten of the missions were secularized in 1834 and six more followed the next year. By 1836 few Native Americans remained on the missions and, with less care, the mission properties rapidly deteriorated. Many mission lands and buildings were sold to defray the expenses of their administration. The properties passed into private hands except for the churches and small adjacent lands, which were returned to the ecclesiastical authorities by United States courts. Today many of the original missions have been restored and are open for tours.
Mission San Gabriel Archangel: Mission San Gabriel Arcangel was founded on September 8,1771 by Reverand Junipero Serra. It was named for the Archangel Gabriel. The mission was designed by Reverand Antonio Cruzado. The economy at Mission San Gabriel Arcangel was similar to the other missions in that they planted the same staple as a crop as the other missions. It was also well known for its fine wines, and most of the soap and candles used at the other missions were made at the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. Mission San Gabriel is located near the city of Los Angeles, California.
The mission's church was used as a parish church for the city of San Gabriel from 1862 until 1908. In 1908, the Claretian Missionary Reverands came to San Gabriel and began the job of rebuilding and restoring the mission. On October 1,1987, the Whittier-Narrows earthquake damaged the mission. It took many years to repair the buildings from the earthquake and the restoration continues today.
Mission Santa Barbara: It is known as "The Queen of the Missions." Mission Santa Barbara was founded on December 4, 1786 upon the death of Reverand Junipero Serra. It was the tenth mission founded, and was named for Barbara. The mission sits high on a hill overlooking both the city of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean. During the first few years, there were three churches built, each larger than the previous one. The final and remaining church is has two matching bell towers that stand 87 feet tall. The towers sustained considerable damage in a 1925 earthquake, but were subsequently rebuilt. The appearance of the inside of the church has not changed since 1820.
Mission Santa Barbara is the only mission to remain under the leadership of the Franciscan Friars since the day of its founding until today. The Mission also has the oldest unbroken tradition of choral singing among the California Missions and, indeed, of any California institution. The weekly Catholic liturgy is serviced by two choirs, the California Mission School and the Cappella Barbara, both under the direction of composer Keith Paulson-Thorp. The Mission archives contain one of the richest collections of colonial Franciscan music manuscripts known today. These manuscripts remain closely guarded and most have not yet been subjected to scholarly analysis. The city of Santa Barbara built up near the mission. The Mission Santa Barbara today continues to serve the city as a parish church.
Mission La Purisima Concepcion: Mission La Purisima Concepcion was founded on December 8, 1787, by Reverand Lasuen’s California mission chain. It was named for "The Immaculate Conception of Mary." It is located near the city of Lompoc, California, between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The city of Lompoc was so small that the Church made an exception to the rule that no mission is to be established within seven miles from any city. The original site of Mission La Purisima Concepcion was only one mile from the tiny town. It was moved four miles east of the town in 1812 when a large earthquake hit most of Alta, California and severely damaged the mission buildings.
In 1824, there was a major revolt at the mission. Spain stopped funding the missions after Mexico won its independence. There were many soldiers at the mission, who were no longer being paid and took out their frustrations on the local Chumash Indians. A soldier beat an Indian at the Mission Santa Ines and a revolt spread to the Mission La Purisima Concepcion. The Indians took over the mission for one month until more soldiers arrived from Monterrey. After a three hour battle the Indians lost. Many of the Indians left the mission after that battle. The Indians who did not fight and were hiding in the mountains during the revolt came back to the mission, but there were not enough of them to keep the mission going as it once had.
Following secularization, the Mission La Purisima Concepcion was abandoned. In 1934 only nine of the buildings remained. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) promised to restore the mission if enough land could be given back to make the mission into a historical monument. The Church and the Union Oil Company donated enough land for the restoration. The buildings were all reinforced and the mission is one of the most fully rebuilt of all of the missions. The Dedication Day for the newly restored Mission La Purisima Conception was December 7, 1941, the day of infamy that Japan attached Pearl Harbor by surprise. This was the day that the United States declared war on Japan and Germany, the day that World War II began for the United States.
The mission grounds are part of a historic park and are well cared for by the State of California Department of Parks. The mission is no longer used as a parish church. It has a visitors center and a museum on the grounds in the old infirmary buildings.
Mission Santa Ines: Mission Santa Ines was founded on September 17, 1804 by Reverand Estevan Tapis. This was the date that the Constitution was adopted. It was the nineteenth mission founded, and is named for St. Agnes. It is located in Solvang, I California in Santa Barbara County. It was a midway point between Mission Santa Barbara and Mission La purisima Concepcion, and was designed to relieve overcrowding at those two missions.
On February 21, 1824, a soldier beat a young Indian and sparked a revolt. Some of the Indians went to get the Indians from Missions Santa Barbara and La Purisima to help in the fight. When the fighting was over, the Indians themselves put out the fire that had started at the mission. Many of the Indians left to join the Tulare Indian Tribe in the mountains. Only a few Indians remained at the mission. Major restoration was not begun until 1947, when the Hearst Foundation donated money to pay the for project. The restoration continues to this day, and the mission is an active parish. There is a museum, gift shop and information for visitors available at the mission. The Danish town of Solvang was built up around the Mission Santa Ines in the early 1900’s. The restoration continues and the Capuchin Franciscan Reverands take excellent care of the mission.
Mission San Antonio de Padua: Mission San Antonio de Padua was founded on July 4, 1771, the third mision founded in California by Reverand Junipero Serra. The mission is named for Saint Anthony de Padua. He was born in Lisbon, Portugal from a wealthy family and became a Franciscan priest. Franciscan is the common name used to designate a variety of mendicant religious orders of men or women tracing their origin to Francis of Assisi and following the Rule of St. Francis. The official Latin name is the Ordo Fratrum Minorum.
St Anthony de Padua was pronounced a Doctor of the Church in 1946. Reverand Serra left Reverand Miguel Pieras and Reverand Buenaventura Sitjar behind to continue the buildings. The building of the church did not actually begin until 1810. By that time, there were 178 Indians living at the mission. By 1805, the number had increased to 1,300, but in 1834, after the secularization laws went into effect, the total number of Indians at the mission was only 150.
No town grew up around the mission, as many did at other missions. Today the nearest city is King City, nearly 29 miles away. Jolon, a small town, is 6 miles from the mission. In 1845, Mexican Governor Poio Pico declared mission buildings for sale, but no one bid for Mission San Antonio. After nearly 30 years, the mission was returned to the Catholic Church. The first attempt at rebuilding the mission came in 1903 when the California Landmark League rebuilt the church's walls. In 1928, Franciscan Friars held services at San Antonio de Padua. It took nearly 50 years to completely restore the mission. In 1940, the Hearst Foundation gave the church $50,000 for repairs. The mission is surrounded by the Fort Hunter Liggett Military Reservation, which was acquired by the U. S. Army from the Hearst family during World War II to train troops. Additional land was acquired from the Army in 1950 to bring the total mission acreage to over 85 acres. This fort still actively trains troops today.
Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad: Nuestra Senora de la Soledad was founded on October 9, 1791 by Reverand Lasuen’s mission chain. It was named for Our Lady of Solitude, and is located in the small town of Soledad, California. For 90 years after secularization the mission sat crumbling in the wind and rain. In 1954, when restoration was begun, only piles of adobe dirt were remaining. All that was left was the front part of the chapel. It is still being rebuilt and restored, and archeologists are still at work. The ruins of the quadrangle, cemetery and some of the rooms can still be seen. Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad today serves as a mission of the parish of Soledad. It is open for visitors, but is not used as a parish church.
The Mission Santa Cruz is a museum open to visitors. The Holy Cross Church on the site of the original church is an active and busy parish. The half size chapel has weekday masses and is available for weddings and funerals.
Mission San Juan Bautista: Mission San Juan Bautista was founded on June 24, 1797 by Reverand Lasuen’s in the California mission chain. It is named for St John the Baptist. It is located in the town of San Juan Bautista, in San Benito County. The town grew up around the mission. Barracks for soldiers, a nunnery, the Castro House and other buildings were constructed around a large grassy plaza in front of the church and can be seen today in their original form. The town of San Juan Bautista grew rapidly during the California Gold Rush and continues to be a thriving community today. Mission San Juan Bautista has served mass daily since 1797, so there never was much of a rebirth. The mission was restored once in 1884. In 1949, the mission was restored with financing by the Hearst foundation.
Mission San Jose de Guadalupe: Mission San Jose de Guadalupe was founded on June 11,1797 by Reverand Lasuen’s California mission chain. It is named for St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. It is located in the Mission San Jose district of Fremont, California. Mexican Governor Pio Pico sold the mission in 1845 for $12,000. Pío Pico was the last Mexican Governor of Alta California, now the US State of California. Among other accomplishments, he successfully survived the Mexican-American transition. After the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe hidalgo, he returned to Los Angeles and was elected to the Los Angeles City Council.
Pico is buried at the El Campo Santo Cemetery at the Homestead Museum in the City of Industry. During the 1848 California Gold Rush, the mission became a general store, saloon and hotel. In 1853, the it became the local parish church. On October 21, 1868, an earthquake destroyed the mission. A small wooden church was built on the site and used for over 100 years. In 1985, restoration of the church was completed by the Committee for the Restoration of the Mission San Jose and the Diocese of Oakland. It is a near perfect replica of the original church. The padre's quarters are now a small museum. Saint Joseph's Church at the Mission San Jose is today a local parish church. The church has regular services and also has a visitors' center, museum and slide show telling the history of the mission.
Mission San Francisco de Assisi: Mission Basilica San Francisco de Assisi, also known as Mission Dolores, was founded on October 9, 1776. It was the sixth California Mission, founded by Reverand Francisco Palou. It is located in San Francisco and received the name Mission Dolores from the Arroyo de los Dolores, a nearby stream. It was named for St Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Oder. The buildings have remained relatively unchanged since their construction in 1782.
By the time that the California Gold Rush began in 1848, the city of San Francisco had grown tremendously. There were saloons and two race tracks on the mission property. During the 1906 earthquake, the basilica next to the mission church fell and was destroyed, but the Mission San Francisco de Assisi remained unharmed. The mission is still an active church in the city of San Francisco. Many people attend services in the mission church and even more attend mass in the basilica next door. The mission is open to visitors. The Mission is now the name of the San Francisco neighborhood surrounding the church.
Mission San Rafael Archangel was one of the first missions turned over to the Mexican government in 1833. In 1840, there were 150 Indians still at the mission. By 1844, Mission San Rafael Arcangel was left abandoned. What was left of the empty buildings was sold for $8,000 in 1846. The mission was used by John C. Fremont as his headquarters during the battles to make California a United States possession.
In 1847, a priest was once again living at the mission. A new parish church was built near the old chapel ruins in 1861. In 1870, the rest of the ruins were removed to make room for the city of San Rafael. All that was left of the mission was a single pear tree from the old mission's orchard. In 1949, Monsignor Thomas Kennedy rebuilt and restored the chapel. Today the Mission San Rafael Arcangel sits next to the parish church of St. Raphael. It is located on the site of the original hospital and is open to visitors and has a small museum and gift shop. Pablo Vicente Sol was the Governor of California during this period.
Spanish Governors of Alta California: The following is a summary of the Spanish Governors of Alta California during the development of the mission chain in California:
· 1804-1814: Joaquin de Arillaga
· 1814-1815: Jose Argon(?acting)
· 1815-1822: Pablo Vicente Sol
Mexican Governors of Alta California: The following is a summary of the Mexican Governors during the development of the mission chain in California:
· 1822-1825: Luis Antonio Argon
· 1825-1831: Jose Maria de Echeando
· 1831-1832: Manuel Victoria
· 1832: Pio Pico
· 1832-1833: August Zamorano and Jose Maria de Echeando
· 1833-1835: Jose Figueroa
· 1835-1836: Jose Castro (acting)
· 1836: Nicolas Gutierrez (acting)
· 1836: Mariano Chico
· 1836: Nicolas Gutierrez (acting)
· 1836-1842: Juan B. Alvarado
· 1842-1845: Manuel Micheltoreno
· 1845-1846: Pio Pico
· 1846-1847: Josar Flores (in opposition to the US in Los Angeles)
· 1847: Andres Pico (in opposition to the U.S. in Los Angeles)
President James K. Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to seize disputed Texan land settled by the Mexicans. Fighting began in April 24, 1846 when Mexican cavalry entered an area claimed by both the US and Mexico between the rivers Rio Grande and Nueces. They surrounded a US scouting party under General Taylor and several people were killed. After the border clash and battles at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, the US Congress declared war on May 13, 1846. Northern Whigs generally opposed the declaration of war while Southerners supported it. Mexico declared war on May 23.
After the United States declared war on Mexico, US forces took several cities in California including Los Angeles. The Battle of Monterey took place in September of 1846. February 22, 1847 saw the battle of Buena Vista where General Taylor defeated the Mexicans under Antonio Lopez de Santana, securing the conquest of California and New Mexico. The battles of Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, and the Battle of Chapultec (on the outskirts of Mexico City) followed as the U.S Army under General Windsfield Scott drove into the heart of Mexico (his invasion started in March 1847).
The Treaty of Cahuenga, signed on January 13,1847, ended the fighting in California. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848, ended the War and gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas as well as California and most of Arizona and New Mexico. An interesting side note of the war was the Saint Patrick Battalion (San Patricios), a group, approximately 500-strong, of (largely Irish-born) Americans who deserted the US Army in favor of the Mexican side. Many of them fought against what they alleged was brutal, racist discrimination received from the U.S. Many identified with Mexico as Catholics. They were hanged by the U.S. making sure that the last thing these Irish men saw was the lowering of the Mexican flag and the raising of the U.S. flag as the war was won. Some historians claim that these men were prisoners of war. Others argue that they were traitors and deserters. There are many monuments to these soldiers in present-day Mexico. According to data from the United States Department of Vetrans Affairs of the conflict, Owen Thomas Edgar died on September 3, 1929 at the age of 98. The war can be considered a result of the belief in the Manifest Destiny doctrine by the US political class.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE CALIFORNIA MISSIONS
Priests founded all of the California missions. The missions were founded and established in the upper and lower sections of California. Reverend Serra was president of all missions until his death in 1784. The chronology describes the sequence of events of the building process and reconstruction of the California mission chain. (Table 1 illustrates the missions founded by different priests from 1769 to 1823).
TABLE 1 MISSIONS
FOUNDED BY PRIESTS Date Founded Name of Mission Founded By 1697 Nuestra
Senora de Loreto Jesuits 1699 San
Francisco Xavier Jesuits 1705 Santa
Rosalia de Mulege Jesuits 1708 San
Jose de Comondu Jesuits 1720 La
Purisima Concepcion de Maria Jesuits Cadegomo 1720 Nuestra
Senora de Guadalupe Jesuits 1721 Santiago
de las Coras Jesuits 1721 Nuestra
Senora de los Dolores Jesuits 1728 San
Ignacio Jesuits 1730 San
Jose del Cabo Jesuits 1733 Todos
Santos Jesuits 1737 San
Luis Gonzaga Jesuits 1752 Santa
Gertrudis Jesuits 1762 San
Francisco de Borja Jesuits 1767 Santa
Maria de los Angeles Jesuits Jul 16, 1769 San
Diego de Alcala Reverend Serra June 3, 1770 San
Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Reverend
Serra Jul 14, 1771 San
Antonio de Reverend Serra Padua Sept, 1 1771 San
Gabriel Reverend Serra Arcangel Sept 8, 1772 San
Luis Obispo Reverend Serra June 29, 1776 San
Francisco de Asis
Arroyo de los (Mission Dolores)
(Our Lady of
Sorrows Creek) Nov 1, 1776 San
Juan Reverend Serra
Capistrano Jan 12,1777 Santa
Clara de Reverend Serra Asis Mar
31, 1782 San Buenaventura Reverend
4, 1786 Santa
TABLE 1 MISSIONS FOUNDED BY PRIESTS
Date Founded Name of Mission Founded By
1697 Nuestra Senora de Loreto Jesuits
1699 San Francisco Xavier Jesuits
1705 Santa Rosalia de Mulege Jesuits
1708 San Jose de Comondu Jesuits
1720 La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Jesuits
1720 Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Jesuits
1721 Santiago de las Coras Jesuits
1721 Nuestra Senora de los Dolores Jesuits
1728 San Ignacio Jesuits
1730 San Jose del Cabo Jesuits
1733 Todos Santos Jesuits
1737 San Luis Gonzaga Jesuits
1752 Santa Gertrudis Jesuits
1762 San Francisco de Borja Jesuits
1767 Santa Maria de los Angeles Jesuits
Jul 16, 1769 San Diego de Alcala Reverend Serra
June 3, 1770 San Carlos Borromeo
de Carmelo Reverend Serra
Jul 14, 1771 San Antonio de Reverend Serra
Sept, 1 1771 San Gabriel Reverend Serra
Sept 8, 1772 San Luis Obispo Reverend Serra
June 29, 1776 San Francisco de Asis Arroyo de los
(Mission Dolores) Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows Creek)
Nov 1, 1776 San Juan Reverend Serra
Jan 12,1777 Santa Clara de Reverend Serra
Mar 31, 1782 San Buenaventura Reverend Serra
Dec. 4, 1786 Santa Barbara Reverend Fermin
Lasuen Aug. 28, 1791 Santa
Lasuen Oct. 9, 1791 Nuestra
Senora de la Soledae Reverend
Lasuen June 11, 1797 San
Jose de Guadalupe Reverend
Lasuen June 24, 1797 San
Juan Bautista Reverend
Lasuen June 25, 1797 San
Miguel Arcangel Reverend
Lasuen Sept. 8, 1797 San
Fernando Rey de Espana Reverend
Lasuen 1798 San
Luis Rey de Francia Reverend
Lasuen Sept. 17, 1804 Santa
Ines Others 1817 San
Rafael Arcangel Others July 4, 1823 San
Francisco Solano de Sonoma Others
Dec. 8, 1787 La
Purisima Concepcion Reverend
Aug. 28, 1791 Santa Cruz Reverend Fermin
Oct. 9, 1791 Nuestra Senora de la Soledae Reverend Fermin
June 11, 1797 San Jose de Guadalupe Reverend Fermin
June 24, 1797 San Juan Bautista Reverend Fermin
June 25, 1797 San Miguel Arcangel Reverend Fermin
Sept. 8, 1797 San Fernando Rey de Espana Reverend Fermin
1798 San Luis Rey de Francia Reverend Fermin
Sept. 17, 1804 Santa Ines Others
1817 San Rafael Arcangel Others
July 4, 1823 San Francisco Solano de Sonoma Others
1697 – The establishment of Nuestra Senora de Loreto.
1699 – The establishment of San Francisco Xavier.
1705 – The establishment of Santa Rosalia de Mulege.
1708 – The establishment of San Jose de Comondu.
1713 - The birth of Junipero Serra on Majorca, Spain.
1720 – The establishment of La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Cadegomo.
1720 – The establishment of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe.
1721 – The establishment of Santiago de las Coras.
1721 – The establishment of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores.
1728 – The establishment of San Ignacio.
1730 – The establishment of San Jose del Cabo.
1733 – The establishment of Todos Santos.
1737 – The establishment of San Luis Gonzaga.
1749 - Reverend Serra is sent to Mexico as a missionary.
1752 – The establishment of Santa Gertrudis.
1762 – The establishment of San Francisco de Borja.
1767 – Santa Maria de los Angeles.
1769 - Reverend Serra is made president of the Baja California missions.
1769 - Sacred Expedition to Alta California; Serra goes along as religious leader.
1769 – The establishment of San Diego de Alcalá on July 16.
1770 - Reverend Serra sails up the coast to Monterey with Costansó and Fages.
1770 – The establishment of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (Carmel) at Monterey on July 3.
1771 - Reverend Serra moves San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo to Carmel to prevent liaisons between his female Indian converts and the soldiers at Monterey.
1771 – The establishment of the Mission San Antonio de Padua on July 14.
1771 – The establishment of the San Gabriel Arcángel on September 1.
1772 / 1773 - Reverend Serra travels to Mexico City to denounce Fages and ask for more support for his missions.
1772 – The establishment of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and it became a supply center for bear meat on September 8.
1774 - San Diego de Alcalá moved to present site.
1775 - Construction of the first San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Chapel.
1775 - San Gabriel Arcángel is moved to a new site five miles to the east of the original.
1775 - Mission revolt at San Diego de Alcalá and the chapel and outbuildings are burned.
1776 - Mission revolt at San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and the raiders destroyed the log buildings by shooting flaming arrows into the thatched roofs.
1776 – The establishment of San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores) by the Arroyo de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows Creek) on July 29.
1776 – The establishment of San Juan Capistrano on November 1.
1777 – The establishment of Santa Clara de Asís on the banks of the Guadalupe River on January 12.
1777 - Construction of the first chapel at San Juan Capistrano.
1779 - Flooding of the Guadalupe River force the relocation of Santa Clara de Asís.
1780 - Reconstruction of San Diego de Alcalá.
1782 / 1791 - Construction of the present chapel at San Francisco de Asís.
1782 – The establishment of San Buena Ventura and it was also the last of the missions to be founded by Reverend Serra on March 31.
1784 - Death of Reverend Serra. Reverend Serra was buried at Carmel.
1784 - Construction of the new chapel at Santa Clara de Asís.
1786 – The establishment of Santa Barbara on December 4.
1787 – The first establishment of La Purísima de Concepcíon on December 8.
1789 – The establishment of San Luis Rey de Francia on June 13.
1791 – The establishment of Santa Cruz on August 28.
1791 – The first establishment of Nuestra Señora de Soledad on October 9.
1791 - 1805 Construction of San Gabriel Arcángel.
1792 - 1793 Construction of Belfry at San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.
1793 - 1797 Construction of the present sandstone church at San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.
1793 – On December 14, raiders from the village of Quiroste, near Point Año Nuevo, attack Mission Santa Cruz, wounding some of the guards and burning the guardhouse and lamb corral. It was the only attack ever made on a northern mission.
1794 January - Soldiers are dispatched to Santa Cruz from the San Francisco and Monterey presidios and eight Indians were taken captive. The leaders were shackled and eventually sent to the San Diego Presidio where they died in 1798.
1794 - Construction of the chapel at Santa Barbara.
1794 – The original chapel at San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo was replaced by a larger structure.
1795 – The completion of Quandrangle at Santa Cruz.
1796 - 1806 Construction of Quandrangle at San Juan Capistrano.
1797 – The establishment of San José de Guadalupe on June 11.
1797 – The establishment of San Juan Bautista on June 24.
1797 – The establishment of San Miguel Arcángel on June 25.
1797 - Completion of the chapel at Nuestra Señora de Soledad. It will be washed out several times by floods of the Salinas River.
1797 - Publication of Serra's biography by his friend, Reverend Francisco Palóu.
1797 – The establishment of San Fernando Rey de España on September 8.
1797 – The establishment of Branciforte Pueblo near Santa Cruz. Tensions between the mission community and the settlers mounted through the years.
1798 - Construction of the chapel at San Juan Bautista.
1800 - An earthquake destroyed San Diego de Alcalá.
1802 - Construction of the first chapel at San Luis Rey de Francia.
1803 - 1812 Construction of the present church at San Juan Bautista.
1804 – The establishment of Santa Inés September 17.
1805 – The enlargement of the chapel at Nuestra Señora de Soledad.
1805 / 1809 - Construction of quadrangle at San José de Guadalupe.
1806 - Measles spread through the northern missions.
1806 - Construction of the Quadrangle at San Fernando Rey de España.
1809 - Reconstruction of San Buena Ventura following a fire.
1810 / 1813 - Construction of Quandrangle at mission San Antonio de Padua.
1810 – The establishment of San Gabriel Asistencia at San Bernardino.
1811 / 1815 - Prosperity allowed the construction of the mission Quadrangle at San Luis Rey de Francia, the largest of the missions.
1812 - The Wrightwood Earthquake destroyed everything at San Fernando Rey de España except the Convento on December 8.
1812 -Forty Indians were killed in the collapse of the church at San Juan Capistrano December 8.
1812 - La Purísima de Concepcíon was destroyed by an earthquake and flood on December 21.
1812 - Santa Inés was destroyed in the Santa Barbara earthquake on December 21.
1812 - Adobe church at Santa Barbara was destroyed by an earthquake on December 21.
1812 - San Buenaventura was damaged in the Santa Barbara earthquake on December 21.
1813 - Construction of Quadrangle at San Diego de Alcalá.
1813 – 1817 - Reconstruction of Santa Inés.
1814 - Governor Arrillaga was buried at Nuestra Señora de Soledad.
1815 - 1818 - Reconstruction of La Purísima de Concepcíon.
1815 - 1833 - Reconstruction of Santa Barbara, a sandstone edifice, which will be known as the "Jewel of the Missions".
1815 - The establishment of San Luis Rey asistencia San Antonio de Pala.
1816 - Reconstruction of San Buenaventura.
1816 - 1821 - Construction of the mission Quandrangle at San Miguel Arcángel. Estévan Munras and his Indian assistants decorated the chapel with trompe l’oeil murals.
1817 – The establishment of San Rafael Arcángel. The missions originally served as a sanitarium for San Francisco de Asís where natives were made ill by new diseases brought by settlers and soldiers. It later serves as a monastery on December 14.
1818 - Branciforte settlers sack Santa Cruz during the temporary abandonment of the mission because of a threatened raid by the pirate Bouchard.
1818 – The establishment of San Diego de Alcalá asistencia San Ysabel.
1818 - Thomas Doak decorated the interior of San Juan Bautista.
1818 – 1819 - Construction of the new chapel at Santa Clara de Asís.
1823 – The establishment of San Francisco Solano, last of the missions July 4.
1824 - La Purísima de Concepcíon mission revolt. Santa Inés is also affected.
1825 - Construction of final adobe chapel at Santa Clara de Asís.
1832 - Construction of the new chapel at Nuestra Señora de Soledad.
1834 - Secularization of missions.
1836 - Santa Clara de Asís returned to the Catholic Church.
1840 - Construction of the parish church at San Francisco Solano.
1842 - Discovery of gold at Placerita Canyon, part of the lands owned by San Fernando Rey de España.
1842 - Mexican President Santa Anna sequesters the Pious Fund, the endowment established for the financing of mission activities in Baja and Alta California and Santa Anna promises to give the interest to the Church.
1848 – The interest payments from the Pious Fund cease with the American invasion of California.
1851 - Transfer of Santa Clara de Asís by the Franciscans to the Jesuits, when it becomes the center of the new University of Santa Clara.
1851 - Mormon settlers use San Bernardino asistencia as headquarters.
1857 - Bells at San Gabriel Arcángel were thrown to the ground by the massive Fort Tejon earthquake on January 9.
1862 - San Buenaventura and San Diego de Alcalá returned to the Catholic Church.
1865 - Construction of Belfry at San Juan Bautista.
1868 - San José de Guadalupe was destroyed in the Hayward Earthquake on October 21.
1870 - San Rafael Arcángel is razed.
1875 – 1876 - An international arbitration commission examines the question of the Pious Fund and rules that the Archdiocese of San Francisco is entitled to half the interest accumulated since 1848. The amount came to $43,000 in Mexican gold.
1879 - 1930 - Restoration of San Fernando Rey de España.
1884 - Reverend Casanova erringly restores San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.
1890 - After fulfilling its obligations to the Archdiocese of San Francisco up to the year 1869, Mexico refused to make further interest payments on the Pious Fund.
1893 - Reconstruction of San Luis Rey de Francia, now used as a seminary, began.
1901 - Renovation of San Miguel Arcángel.
1902 - The Hague Tribunal arranges for Mexico to pay a single lump sum to the Archdiocese of San Francisco as its share of the Pious Fund. ($1,427,682 in Mexican pesos.)
1903 - San Antonio de Pala was returned to the Catholic Church.
1904 -Restoration of Santa Inés begun.
1906 - April 18-21 - The Great Earthquake and Fire fails to damage San Francisco de Asís. The church, called a “fire-trap” worthy of demolition, marks the point at which fire fighters stop the further spread of the blaze. The Church decides not to raze the "old firetrap".
1906 - The Great Earthquake severely damaged San Juan Bautista on April 18.
1911 – 1913 - Restoration of San Francisco Solano for inclusion in a State Historic Park.
1912 – The first production of John McGroarty's, “The Mission Play”, in San Gabriel.
1912 - Annual payments against the Pious Fund debt to the Archdiocese of San Francisco cease with the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.
1913 - First publication of Reverend Francisco Palóu's biography of Reverend Serra in English.
1916 - Construction of Basilica at San Francisco de Asís.
1916 - Reconstruction of San José de Guadalupe.
1917 - Restoration of San Francisco de Asís by William Polk.
1918 - San Juan Capistrano was damaged in San Jacinto earthquake on April 21.
1924 - Reconstruction of Asistencia San Ysabel.
1925 – The Santa Barbara church was damaged in an earthquake on June 29.
1926 – Santa Clara de Asís was destroyed by fire.
1928 - Further renovation of San Miguel Arcángel.
1929 - Reconstruction of Santa Clara de Asís.
1929 - Restoration of San Buenaventura.
1929 - Remodeling of Belfry at San Juan Bautista.
1931 - Restoration of San Diego de Alcalá.
1931 - Reconstruction of Santa Cruz.
1932 - Reverend Serra's birthplace in Majorca, Spain, became the property of the City of San Francisco.
1933 - Reconstruction of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa began.
1935 – 1941 - Reconstruction of La Purísima de Concepcíon.
1935 - San Juan Bautista State Historic Park was established.
1936 - Proper restoration of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.
1949 - San Rafael Arcángel was rebuilt.
1950 - Further reconstruction of San José de Guadalupe.
1950 - Restoration of Santa Barbara facade.
1954 - Reconstruction of Nuestra Señora de Soledad.
1956 - 1958 - Construction of St. Anthony's Seminary at Santa Barbara.
1958 - Alfred Hitchcock's, “Vertigo” features scenes from the Mission Dolores and the mission San Juan Bautista.
1963 - Restoration of the residence wing at Nuestra Señora de Soledad.
1967 - Mexico's Pious Fund debt is settled with the payment of $719,546 to the Archdioceses of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
1988 - Santa Cruz was damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 18.
2000 - Insect damage threatened the wood statuary and frame of Mission Dolores.
Hoover and Rensch, Historic Spots in California, Stanford University Press, 1967.
Haun, California's Missions, Lowman, 1992.
All 21 California Missions, Lowman, n.d. Miller, Account of a Tour of the California Missions and Towns, 1856.
The Journal & Drawings of Henry Miller, Bellerophon Books, 1995. Kroeber, Ishi, U.C. Press, 1920.
Shipek, Pushed into the Rocks, Southern California Indian Land Tenure 1769-1986, Univ. Nebraska Press, 1987.
Kroeber, Handbook of the Indians of California, Calif. Book Co. 1967.
Campus Program.com: Hernado Cortes-Conquistador of Mexico
California Mission; Junispero Serra, Founder of the California Missions; History of California; Gold Rush; and Mexican American War (1846-1848).
Encarta Encyclopedia, Microsoft, Inc.