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California Missions Notes Set up your piece of binder paper vertically like this (you may need to use the back too):. Notes:. BSQs:. Summary :. Junipero Serra.

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California Missions NotesSet up your piece of binder paper vertically like this (you may need to use the back too):





Junipero Serra

  • Junipero Serra from Spain was the first to arrive on California soil with the goal of spreading Christianity, specifically Catholicism, to the new world in the west through the building of missions.
  • After being forced out of Baja California, he ventured north in 1769, stopping first in San Diego, where he established the first of 21 Cal. Missions.
  • Mission San Diego is known as the “Mother Mission”
  • Junipero Serra was known as “Father Presidente” of the Alta California missions as he helped found 11 of the 21 missions.
  • BSQ: Why was Junipero Serra so significant in the creation of the California missions?

Mission Routes

  • The majority of missions lie along the famous El Camino Real that we all know so well.
  • The street you often take for granted and venture to for a Friday night dinner was used in the 1700s and 1800s for trade between missions.
  • BSQ: Why do you think the Spaniards decided to build their missions along the coast specifically?


1. How did the Native Americans greet the Spaniards when they first arrived in California?

2. Conversely, how did the Spaniards treat the Native Americans while in the missions?


Mission Santa Barbara, built in 1786

  • The Façade of each of the 21 California Missions is uniquely different, as they were built in different years and with the influence of different leaders.
  • The interior and exterior of the missions often had to do with the microclimate of the area.
  • The outside of the mission was built to protect it from invasion and to keep the natives from escaping.
  • The inside of the missions resembled a plantation, where the natives would perform slave labor to produce crops (their daily food) and often maintain vineyards to produce wine for the Spaniards.
  • BSQ: How do you think life was different for the Native Americans living in the missions compared to their tribal life? (think of positives and negatives)

Mission San Juan Bautista

  • Many people believe that the wine industry in California began in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
  • However, the wine was first brought by the Spaniards and produced anywhere there was fertile, coastal land.
  • BSQ: What do you think happened to the Native Americans when alcohol was introduced by the Spaniards?

Being Catholic and honoring their faith was the primary focus on the Spanish missionaries.

  • As the altar barely fit into the cathedral, these items of gold were shipped from Spain and were the most valuable pieces on the missions property
  • BSQ: Why would missionaries use precious metals and pieces on the missions if it was so difficult to get a hold of?

Much of the original structures of the missions still stand today, although some have been affected by earthquakes and harsh weather conditions.

  • Because of a lack of technology, the walls were made thick to keep the heat out in the summers and cold out in the winters – notice no windows?

“The Spanish colonization of California, starting in 1769, caused a social, economic and ecological upheaval that still sends aftershocks through the region today. With the subsequent Mexican era of the great ranchos, the flora, fauna and human life of Santa Barbara was altered dramatically and forever.”

“Gifts, such as beads, breads, metal goods like needles and knives, blankets, clothes and agricultural goods had originally lured these natives to the missions.”

“The Chumash social structure that evolved over thousands of years had endured famine induced by drought and other vagaries of nature that caused the native people hardship.”

“The Chumash tried to escape from this oppressive situation. Their labor was so important to the Spanish colonists that the soldiers even tracked the fleeing natives as far as the Central Valley of Ca. to bring them back, shackled and beaten to work in the missions as slaves.

* BSQ: How do you think the treatment of natives during this time has affected the relationship between NAs and anglos today? Should it still have an effect and why or why not?


Revolt of Native Americans at Mission San Diego 1824

  • The natives were not only stripped of their traditions but of their dignity too through forced conversion and control. Because of less advanced weaponry and an initial trust (by trickery), natives did not revolt until the Spanish had a great presence in California. This revolt began after a neophyte (newly converted) native woman was beaten by a missionary.

1890s Mission Revival Movement

BSQ: Why do you think the Native American stories were “lost”?