By:  Dr. Francisco J. Collazo


July 28, 2004
















Title                                                                                 Page Number


Acknowledgement                                                                                            2                     

Abstract                                                                                                           3

“Quick History of the California Missions”                                                4

Introduction                                                                                                      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

Introduction                                                                                                      8-9

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                         

Bibliography                                                                                                     32                                                                                           





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.



















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

Reverand Junipero Serra: Serra, Junípero, full name Miguel José Serra (1713-84), Spanish Roman Catholic missionary to North America, was born on the island of Mallorca.  He joined the Franciscans in 1730 and a year later began teaching philosophy under his Franciscan name of Junípero.  In 1749 he was sent as a missionary to Mexico, where he worked among the Native Americans of the Sierra Gorda region and taught at San Fernando College, Mexico City.  In 1767, he was appointed superior of the California missions, and in 1769, on an expedition to Upper California, founded San Diego, the first mission in the present-day state.  Over a period of years Serra founded many missions that later became settlements and cities in California, including San Carlos Borromeo (Carmel, 1770), San Gabriel (1771), San Luis Obispo (1772), San Francisco (1776), Santa Clara (1777), Los Angeles (1781), and San Buenaventura (Ventura, 1782).  He was beatified in 1988.

Overview of the California Missions: California Missions, a group of 21 ecclesiastical and residential establishments, was organized in California between 1769 and 1823 by Franciscan monks for the religious conversion and education of Native Americans.  The first mission was established in San Diego by Junípero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan missionary.  Other missions were built and the system expanded into a continuous chain of estates that reached from San Diego in the south to Sonoma, near San Francisco, in the north.  Most of the Native Americans in the coastal region were taken to the missions and forced to live and work there as farm laborers under the direction of the monks.  The monks became spiritual leaders, farm managers, merchants, and practically ruled over the Native Americans.

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.


Introduction: Although Alta or Upper California was left relatively unscathed by the Spanish until 1769, the founding of the first Franciscan Mission there, it was not the first influence in the California’s.  The Jesuits had built a flourishing Mission and Pueblo system in Baja California during the 1600's, paralleling the initial English colonization of the East coast.  Juan Carlos III of Spain decided in 1767 to remove the Jesuits in the south and to begin colonization of Alta California due to the perceived threat of an encroaching Imperial Russian settlement on the Pacific Coast coming down from Alaska.  Colonel Gaspar de Portola and Fr. Junipera Serra were then authorized to found a new Mission chain beginning with the first Alta California Mission and Presidio on July 16, 1769 in San Diego.

The second mission site, San Carlos and the Presidio in Monterey, were founded in 1770 after considerable effort in finding the Bay.  In 1542, both San Diego and Monterey Bays were first "discovered" by the explorer Juan Cabrillo.  Sebastian Vizcaino also landed at both natural harbors in 1602 and wrote so euphemistically about Monterey that Portola and his soldiers weren't sure they found it until their second visit there.

The California Missions represent to many, a religious and cultural oppression and economic exploitation of the native population, yet they still stand as a permanent reminder of the first European interaction in California with the Indians.  The main focus of American history at this time is centered on the Revolutionary War with the British in the East and the settlement of Kentucky.  There was a marked difference in the 18th century however between the Spanish approach of conquering through conversion and that of Anglo-American removal or elimination of native tribes.

Comprised of 21 Missions, four Presidios, Pueblos, Asistencias, and several Rancherias, with cattle, crops, granaries, orchards and vineyards; the Mission chain extends from San Diego in the South to Sonoma in the North.  The road which links them all is called El Camino Real, or "The King's Highway."  The last Mission, San Francisco de Solano in Sonoma, (not to be confused with Mission San Francisco de Asis), was founded in 1823, the only mission established during the Mexican period in California.

Intended also to be havens for travelers, the Missions were located one-day's journey apart from each other.  Hispanic hospitality was always extended to all as food and lodging was provided to those weary from their journey.  The impacted Indians did not necessarily fare as well, since they were the major source of cheap labor, performing their "neophyte" Christian duties as builders, farmers, vaqueros, artists and general laborers.  The only advantage was their exposure to European ranching and agricultural skills, which may have helped them "adapt" in white men's eyes, to the coming Assimilation.

Ironically, the Missions were officially secularized in 1834, and the Indians who were indoctrinated by this ecclesiastical labor system were then allowed to return to their native villages, or continue to work as ranch workers.  At least one of the Asistencias on the outposts was raided and even burned by the more resentful unconverted Indians during the 1830's and 40's.  This was especially true of Estancias, such as the intended Asistencia of Mission San Gabriel in present day Redlands.  The Mission San Diego de Alcala was even attacked and destroyed as early as 1775 by the local "Diegueno" (Yuma) Indians, which also culminated in the martyrdom of a Fr. Jayme and other Spanish colonists.  It was rebuilt in 1776, the same year the Capistrano Mission was officially established after being initially founded in 1775 and then temporarily abandoned due to fear of a larger Indian uprising.
Although much of the native population was impacted greatly by the Spanish Colonial Mission system in California, they may not have been traumatized as severely as the Anglo-American intrusion effected them.  It was in Northern California during the Gold Rush and in the1850's that the Indians actually experienced wholesale genocide of some tribal villages, as documented in Kroeber's book Ishi.  Added to this is the fact that the American settlers began the illegal homesteading of Indian reservation lands.  It is now that we may begin to see the Spanish Missions, which attempted to at least educate and train the California native population in a slightly more favorable light.  This does not negate the harsher realities of the master-slave relationship between the padres and the neophyte Indians.  There is also evidence of the usual introduction of European diseases, which decimated many during this time.

In spite of these negative influences, the Missions themselves still serve as an enduring sculpture, molded in native adobe, clay, stone, timber and plaster.  They are an epithet of a religious and architectural culture unique in the New World.  In fact, many of the chapels at the Missions still function as churches today as an enduring witness of their original intent.

Mission San Diego de Alcala: Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcal was founded on July 16, 1769.in what is now the city of  San Diego, California.  The mission was founded by Reverand  Junipero Serra.  It was the first mission in the 21-mission chain in Alta California, and known as the "Mother of the Alta California Missions."  It was named for Saint Didacus of Alcal due to the mistreatment of the local Yuma Indians.  The locals rebelled against Spanish rule, and attacked the mission on November 5, 1775.  Reverand Luis Jayme, who had been left behind to run the mission while Reverand Serra moved on to found other missions was killed.  

Peace eventually settled over the area, and by 1797, there were approximately 1400 Native Americans living in the vicinity of the mission.  Reverand Jupinero had a self sustained program that each mission planted the major staples on the farm adjacent to the mission.  The major crops were wheat, corn, wine grapes, barley, beans, cattle, horses, and sheep.  In 1795, a system of aqueducts was designed by Reverand Serra to irrigate the crop and to bring water to the fields and the mission. 

After Mexico gained its independence from Spain, it was decided that it was not profitable to maintain the missions.  The missions were offered for sale to the natives who were unable to come up with the price.  The mission's property was broken up into ranchos and sold to Mexican citizens.  In 1846, the Mission San Diego de Alcal was given to Santiago Arguello.  When the United States took over California, the mission was used by the military from 1846 to 1862. 

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act declaring that all of the 21 missions would become the property of the Catholic Church and have remained so since that time. When the Mission San Diego de Alcal was granted back to the Church, it was in ruins.  In the 1880’s Reverand Anthony Ubach began to restore the old mission buildings.  He died in 1907, however, and the restoration stopped until 1931.  In 1941, the mission once again became a parish church.  In 1976, Papoe Paul VI designated the mission church as a Minor Basilica.  The mission is still an active parish serving San Diego.

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia: Mission San Luis Rey de Francia was founded on June 13, 1798 by Reverand Lasuen’s chain in California.  It was named for St Louis, King of France.  It is located in Oceanside, California, in the northern San Diego County.  No services were held at the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia for 46 years.  It was not until 1892 when two Mexican priests were given permission to restore the mission as a monastery.  Reverand Joseph O'Keefe was assigned to the mission as an interpreter for the monks.  It was he who began to restore the old mission in 1895.  The quadrangle and church were completed in 1905.  Today Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is a working mission.  It is cared for by the people who belong to the parish, and is still being restored.  There is a museum and visitors center at the mission, as well as a small cemetery.

Mission San Juan Capistrano: Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in November 1776 by Reverand Junipero Serra,the seventh mission in the California mission chain.  It was named for St. John of Capistrano, Italy, a theologian.  Actually, the mission was founded twice; originally it was founded by Reverand Lasuen on October 30, 1775, but eight days after the founding the Mission San diego de Alcala came under attack.  The padres, soldiers and others returned to San Diego, and Padre Lasuen buried the San Juan Capistrano mission bells.  Reverand Serra returned to uncover the bells and once again began the mission at San Juan Capistrano. 

In 1797, work began on what was to become the largest church in the California mission chain.  It was finished in 1806.  In December of 1812, an earthquake hit the area and destroyed most of the church, killing 40 Indians.  In 1845, the mission was sold to Governor Pio Pico's brother-in-law for $710,000.  The Mission San Juan Capistrano was not kept up during the years following secularization.  By 1866, the mission was rotting and near ruin.  Several attempts were made to restore the mission, but it was not until when Reverand John O'Sullivan came to the mission that it was completely restored and rebuilt.  In 1918, Reverand O'Sullivan was given permission to make the mission into an active church once again.

Today, the mission is an active parish that continues to serve the people of the city of  San Juan Capistrano.  The mission and the grounds have been completely restored, with a complete quadrangle.  In some of the rooms at the mission are museums and displays from the mission period.  Visitors are welcomed.  The restoration and loving care given to Mission San Juan Capistrano has helped it to be known as "Jewel of the Missions." One of the most popular events is the return of the swallows each March 19.  These birds fly south for the winter on October 23 and return on March 19 every year like clockwork.  Crowds of people come to greet them each year.

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 San Fernando Rey de Espana: Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana, or San Fernando Rey, was founded on September 8, 1797 by Reverand Lasuen’s mission chain. It was named for St Ferdinand, King of Spain, and is located in the Mission Hills community of northern Los Angeles, California. In 1845, Governor Pio Pico declared the mission buildings for sale and in 1846, made Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana it’s headquarters. The mission was used for many things during the late 1800’s; it was a station for the Butterfield Stage Lines; it was used as storerooms for the Porter Land and Water Company; and in1896, the quadrangle was used as a hog farm. San Fernando's church became a working church again in 1923 when the Oblate priests arrived. Many attempts were made to restore the old mission from the early  1900’s, but it was not until the Hearst Foundation gave a large gift of money in the 1940, that the mission was finally restored. In 1971, a large  earthquake damaged the church, which had to completely rebuilt. The repairs were completed in 1974. Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana was a beautifully restored mission. It continues to be very well cared for and is still used as a parish church.

Mission San Buenaventura:  Mission San Buenaventura was founded on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1782 by Reverand Junipero Serra, the ninth mission in the California mission chain. It was named for St Bonaventure, and was the last of the missions founded by Reverand Serra.  It is located in  Ventura, Calfiornia.  In 1794, the first church burned down, and it took the Indians 15 years to rebuild.  That church still stands today. In 1893, Reverand Cyprian Rubio modernised the interior of the church, painting over the original artwork.  When he finished almost nothing remained of the old church.  In 1957, new priests restored the church to its original style.  Today all that is left of the mission is the church and its garden.  Services are still held in the parish church.  A small museum sits at the mission with displays of Chusmash (Native American Tribe) artifacts and mission period items.

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 Luis Obispo de Tolosa: The mission was founded on September 1, 1772.  It was the fifth mission founded by Reverand Junipero Serra, located on the central coast of  California in what is now the city of San Luis Obispo.  The location was chosen because it was halfway between San diego and Montgerey.  It was named for Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse.  Toulouse is a city in in southern France on the shores of the Garonne river. Mission San Luis Obispo is the only L-shaped mission of all 21 missions. 

In 1776, nearby Chumash Indians attacked the mission, setting it on fire with burning arrows.  The roof, made of tule reeds, burned readily, and the Reverands came up with the idea of tiling the roof with ceramic tiles, an idea which caught on with all of the other missions.  The Spanish soldiers who kept the mission's safety were successful in killing many of the bears that roamed the area, and thus Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa supplied many of the other missions with bear meat.

In 1845, Governor Pio Pico declared Mission buildings for sale and he sold everything except the church for a total of $510.  The mission fell into ruins during the period of secularization and the priests that were left would rent out rooms to help support the mission.  The Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa became the first courthouse and jail in San Luis Obispo Country, California.  In 1872, the year that the Yellowstone park was established, during the 100th anniversary of the mission, improvements began, but real restoration did not begin until 1933.  The San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission is still the center of the busy downtown area.  The mission functions as a parish church for the city of San Luis Obispo and although many changes have come to the mission, it remains the center of town.

Mission San Miguel Archangel:  Mission San Miguel Archangel was founded on July 25, 1797 by the Reverand Lasuen’s Califonia missions chain.  It was named for St. Michael the Archangel.  It is located in the town of San Miguel, California in San Luis Obispo County.  In 1846, Governor Pio Pico sold the mission for $600 to Petronillo Rios and William Reed. Reed used the mission as a family residence and a store. In 1848, Reed left to find gold as a participant in the California Gold Rush. The mission was a stopping place for miners coming from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The mission was used as a saloon, dance hall, storeroom and living quarters. In 1878, after 38 years without a resident padre, Reverand Philip Farrelly became the First Pastor of Mission San Miguel Arcangel. Through all the years the priests kept the church in condition and it is called the best-preserved church in the mission chain today. In 1928, Mission San Miguel Arcangel and Mission San Antonio de Padua were returned to the Franciscan order. Since then, the mission has been repaired and restored. Today the mission continues to serve the town as an active parish church. It has one of the best preserved interiors and gives one of the best examples of old mission life.

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.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo: Mission Basilica San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo was founded on June 3, 1770, the second mission of the 21 California missions.  It is located near the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.  The mission was named for Saint Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan.  "Mission Carmel," as it came to be known, was Reverand Junipero Serra's favorite mission, and being close to Montgerey, the capital of Alta California, became his headquarters.  When he died on August 28, he was buried on Carmel's grounds. 

The Eslenes Indians who lived near the mission were trained as plowmen, sheperds, cattle herders, blacksmiths, and carpenters.  They made adobe bricks, roof tiles and tools needed to build the mission.  In the beginning, the mission relied on bear meat from Mission San Antonio de Pauda and supplies brought by ship from Mission San diego de Alcala.  By 1794,  the population had reached its peak of 927, but in 1823 the total had dwindled to 381.  The mission was in ruins when the Catholic Church regained control of it in 1863.  In 1884, Reverand Angel Casanova undertook the work of restoration.  In 1931, Monsignor Philip Scher appointed Harry Downie to be curator in charge of mission restoration.  Two years later Carmel Mission became an independent parish.  The mission was designated as a Minor Basilica by Pope John XXII in 1961.  Today Mission San Carlos de Borromeo de Carmelo is one of the most popular tourist sites in all of California.  It is a place of pilgrimage for visitors from all over the world.  Pope John Paul visited the mission as part of his U.S. tour in 1987.  It is also a very busy and active parish church.

Mission Santa Cruz: Mission Santa Cruz was founded on September 25, 1791 by Reverand Lasuen’s California mission chain.  It was named for the Holy Cross, the name of the spanish Gaspar de Portola.  De Portolá, a Catalonian nobleman, served in the Spanish army before being appointed the governor of Baja California in 1767 in order to expel the Jesuist Missionaries.  In 1769, he lead an expedition to establish a Spanish colony at Monterey Bay.  The expedition's four parties met at San Diego Bay, where the colony, present day San Diego, was established.  De Portolá's land party initially didn't find the bay and returned to San Diego. 

A second expedition was launched, and Monterey Bay was finally reached on May 24, 1770.  De Portolá later became governor of Puebla, and he returned to Spain in 1784 after which nothing is known about him.  A series of earthquakes in 1857 destroyed the mission.  It was put up for sale, but no one wanted to buy it.  In 1858, a wood frame church was built on the old mission property.  In 1889, the current Gothic style Holy Cross Church was built on the original adobe mission site.  There is nothing left of the original mission except for a row of buildings which at one time housed local Yokut and Ohlone Indian families.  In 1931 Gladys Sullivan Doyle proposed to build a replica of the mission; she used her own money to build a half size replica of the original 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 Santa Clara de Assisi: Mission Santa Clara de Assisi was founded on January 12, 1777 by Reverand Junipero Serra, the eighth mission in the California mission chain.  It was named for St Clare de Assisi, the founder of the order of the Poor Clares, and the first mission named for a woman, Clare of Assisi.  Chiara Offreduccio (Saint Clare of Assisi) was one of the first followers of Francis of Assisi and founded the Ordser of Poor Ladies to organize the women who chose to take the Franciscan vow of poverty and celibacy.  It is located in the city of Santa Clara, California on the campus of Santa clara University. Initially, there was tension between the people of Mission Santa Clara de Assisi and those in the nearby Pueblo de San Jose over disputed ownership rights of land and water. The tension was relieved when a road was built by 200 Indians to link the communities together.

On Sundays, people from San Jose would come to the mission for services.  In 1850, California became a state and the Jesuit order of priests took over the Mission Santa Clara de Asis.  Reverand John Nobili was put in charge of the mission.  He began a college on the mission site, which grew into Santa Clara University.  It is the only mission to become part of a university, and it is also the oldest university in California.  Throughout the history of the mission, the bells have rung faithfully every evening.  This was a promise made to King Charles IV of Spain when he sent the original bells to the mission in 1777.  He asked that the bells ring each evening at 8:30 in memory of those who had died.  Mission Santa Clara de Assisi is on the campus of the Santa Clara University.  It is used as a church for the university and the community, is open to visitors and has a museum on the campus.

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: Mission San Rafael Archangel was founded on December 14, 1817 by Reverand Vicente de Sarria.  It was the twentieth mission in the California mission chain, and was named for the Archangel Raphael.  Raphael is a Hebrew word that means "God is healing," thus Raphael is an archangel who heals the wounded physically and psychologically.  He is the main character in the Book of Tobit, included in the Septuagint, but assigned an apocryphal status by Protestant churches.  It is located in San Rafael, California in Marin County.  The mission was started as a branch of the Mission San Francisco de Assisi as a hospital to treat sick Indians from the Mission San Francisco.  The weather was much better in the North Bay, and helped the ill to get better.  It was never intended to be a full mission, but it grew and was granted full mission status on October 19,1822.

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.

Mission San Francisco Solano: Mission San Francisco Solano was founded on July 4, 1823 by Reverand Jose Altimira, the twenty-first and last of the California mission chain.  It was named for St. Francis Solano, missionary to the Indians of Peru.  It is located in Sonoma, California.  During the years the mission was active, General Mariano Vallejo resided in the area.  His job was to keep an eye on the Russians at their settlement at nearby Fort Ross.  Vallejo helped to build the town of Sonoma and even paid for the rebuilding of the small mission chapel. 

There were always soldiers and settlers in the town of Sonoma during the Mexican period.  By 1839, the mission was in ruins and no one lived there.  Through the years the mission was used as a blacksmith's shop and later as a saloon.  It was also used as a barn and a storeroom.  In 1846, across from the mission, a group of American settlers raised a flag and claimed the land for the California Republic.  The settlers took over the town and put Mariano Vallejo in prison.  During this time no one wanted the mission; it was sold to a man who used the chapel entrance as a saloon and stored his liquor and hay in the chapel.  In 1903, the Historic Landmark League bought the remains of Mission San Fransico Solano.  Restoration was completed in 1913.  Today the mission is part of the Sonoma State Historic Park.  It is open to visitors and has a small museum located in the padres' quarters.  Luis Antonio Argon 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:


Mexican Governors of Alta California, 1822-1847:

·         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)

Mexican-American War: The Mexican-American War was fought between the United States and Mexico between 1846 and 1848.  In the USA, it is also known as the Mexican War; in Mexico it is known as the North American Invasion of Mexico, the United States War Against Mexico, and the War of Northern Aggression (this last name more commonly used in the Southern United States. to refer to the American Civil War).  The war grew out of the Mexican conflict with  Texas.  After having won its independence from Mexico in 1836, the Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845.  However, the Mexican government still considered Texas a part of their country.  That same year the United States government offended Mexico by offering to purchase California and Mexico from them.

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.








































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).



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

                                                                                                            Francisco Lasuen












































Dec. 8, 1787                           La Purisima Concepcion                    Reverend Fermin

                                                                                                            Francisco Lasuen

Aug. 28, 1791                         Santa Cruz                                          Reverend Fermin

                                                                                                            Francisco Lasuen

Oct. 9, 1791                            Nuestra Senora de la Soledae           Reverend Fermin

                                                                                                            Francisco Lasuen

June 11, 1797                         San Jose de Guadalupe                     Reverend Fermin

                                                                                                            Francisco Lasuen

June 24, 1797                         San Juan Bautista                              Reverend Fermin

                                                                                                            Francisco Lasuen

June 25, 1797                         San Miguel Arcangel                         Reverend Fermin

                                                                                                            Francisco Lasuen

Sept. 8, 1797                           San Fernando Rey de Espana           Reverend Fermin

                                                                                                            Francisco Lasuen

1798                                        San Luis Rey de Francia                   Reverend Fermin

                                                                                                            Francisco Lasuen

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.