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Spanish California and the Mission System. Questions. What are the Motives for the establishment of the Mission system, as opposed to the Justifications? What are the components of the Mission System and for what purposes did they function?

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Spanish California and the Mission System

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  • What are the Motives for the establishment of the Mission system, as opposed to the Justifications?
  • What are the components of the Mission System and for what purposes did they function?
  • What was the impact of the Mission System on Indian Peoples?
  • How did Indian peoples respond to the conditions of the Mission System?
  • Master and Alternative Mission Narrative
  • Mission’s 10 year Plan
  • Francis Guest
  • Components of the Mission system
  • First Pueblos
  • Junipero Serra
  • Jayuntes and Monjeros
  • 18th Century Perspectives of the system
  • Methods of Resistance
  • Chumash Revolt
  • Yuma Revolt
  • Population Decline
  • Mortality rates
master narrative
Master Narrative
  • Missions:
    • Protected Indian’s from exploitation
    • Relatively small original population
    • Greatest population decline began at Secularization in 1832
    • Taught them European Skills
    • Ensured a better and/or more consistent food supply
      • Teaching European style agriculture
      • Introducing wheat, corn & domestic animals such as cattle, sheep and horses
master narrative5
Master Narrative
  • Myths
    • Mission Indians were docile, passive
    • Did not revolt
    • Did not make war on the mendicant orders of the civil authorities
    • Especially in comparison to plains tribes during American westward expansion
alternative narrative
Alternative Narrative
  • Introduced crops and animals provide less food to populations
    • Yields failed & animals died during drought
    • Introduced diet: Less nutrients
    • Milk: lactose intolerant
  • Population
    • Population equal to other areas that depended on corn, beans and squash
    • Population decline began with the Missions
pre contact agriculture
Pre-contact Agriculture
  • Corns, beans, squash were native crops, not European
    • Corn agriculture by California people - Kumeyaay
    • Trade and contact between California and intensive irrigation agricultural Hohokam and Puebloan cultures dates to at least 900AD
    • Intensive Plant Husbandry, fishing & hunting
      • Yucca, cacti, sedums, sages, sumacs, Manzanita, oaks, pines, wild plums and grapes,
the spanish mission system
The Spanish Mission System
  • Mission – the crux of Conquest
  • Motives for Conquest
  • Colonization
  • Hispanic-ization
  • Origin of the System
the mission
The Mission
  • The Mission
    • The Franciscans and Other Mendicant Orders
    • Salvation in return for labor
    • Goals
      • 10 yr plan
        • Christianize
        • Self government
        • Secularize
        • Farmers

Mission San Diego de Alcala

est. 1769

wards of the friars
Wards of the Friars
  • Francis Guest
    • As is commonly known, Spanish law made the missionaries the legal guardians of their Indian converts.
    • In virtue of their conversion and baptism the neophytes became the wards of the friar
      • Lands confiscated
      • Neophytes became property of the friars
components of the mission system
Components of the Mission System
  • The Neophyte
    • Christians in Training
  • Pueblo
  • Presidio
  • Rancho
  • Mission
components of the mission system the pueblo
Components of the Mission System: the Pueblo
  • The Pueblo
    • Agricultural Towns
    • Two Originally Planned, Three Eventually Built
    • Indian Labor
    • Hope to Decrease Reliance on Mexico and Missions

Viceroy Antonio de Bucareli

the first pueblos
The First Pueblos
  • San Jose de Guadalupe
  • Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Rio de Porciuncula
  • Villa de Branciforte (Santa Cruz)
components of the mission system the pueblo14
Components of the Mission System: the Pueblo
  • Multiethnic Los Angeles, 1781
    • 2 families: African-Mulatto (Caucasian-African mix)
    • 2 families: Indian-Indian
    • 2 families: Mulatto-Mulatto
    • 2 families: Spanish-Indian
    • 1 family: Mulatto-Mestizo (Spanish-Indian mix)
    • 1 family: Indian-Mulatto
    • 1 family: Indian-Mestizo
the settlers the sacred expedition
The Settlers & “The Sacred” expedition
  • Direst of Poverty
  • Government promise of support
  • Change would offer some hope of improvement
components of the mission system the presidio
Components of the Mission System: the Presidio

The Presidio

  • Forts to Protect the Mission
  • Garrisons Return Fugitives
  • Garrisons Capture New Neophytes
  • Four Built
  • Weak Militarily

Presidio of Mission San Diego

Est. 1769

the presidio
The Presidio
  • Give Spanish Limited Military Control
  • Unable to Subsist without the Missions
    • Colonial workforce - 1st peoples
  • Allow Control of Coastal Native People
convict lease system
Convict Lease system?
  • Presidio labor forces
    • Neophytes
  • Mission fathers sometimes leased or loaned Indian Laborers to the military
    • If there was payment for services, the padres were the recipients
development and growth
Development and Growth

Father-President Serra and His Legacy

Father-President Fermin Francisco de Lasuen

El Camino Real and 21 Missions of California

Pueblos and Ranchos

Mission San Carlos Borromeo

junipero serra
Junipero Serra
  • 1713 born on the Island of Majorca, Spain
    • Educated at the Catholic University
    • became a professor and librarian at the Monastery
    • Entered Franciscan order in 1730
    • Sent to Mexico in 1749
    • Back drop of the inquisition 15th – 19th Centuries
        • Tribunals brought to Americas
          • Originally functioned to obliterate Jewish and Moors who could not prove their genuine conversion
          • Functioned to destroy anyone sought to be a threat to the institution, or Catholic ideals
legacy of inquisition
Legacy of Inquisition?
  • Methods of repression continued by Totalitarian Regimes & Police States
    • Creation of racial & religious Ghettos
    • Forcible wearing of badges of shame
    • Formal state & religious propaganda
    • Spying
    • Seizure of property
    • Intimidation & torture
    • Sexual humiliation
    • Good cop/bad cop routine
    • Physical restraint
    • Separation of families
  • No recognition of natural or civil rights
  • Threat and repression of Humanity
  • 1767 send to Lower California, established 9 missions in Upper California in coastal areas
    • Led invasion and foreign occupation of California
    • Father President
    • Advisor to the civil and military authorities for the missions and colonies
    • Francisco Palou Biography of Serra describes him as the “ruler of the province”
fermin francisco lasuen
Fermin Francisco Lasuen
  • Wrote in 1800 his justification for coercion
    • It is evident that a nation which is barbarous, ferocious, and ignorant requires more frequent punishment than a nation which is cultured, educated, and of gentle and moderate customs
components of the mission system the rancho
Components of the Mission System: the Rancho

The Rancho

  • Mission Herds
  • Use Indian Labor
  • Major Source of Wealth in Mission System
  • Give Missions Power over Spanish Government
san diego san luis rey
San Diego & San Luis Rey
  • Lacked sufficient agricultural lands to support a congregated baptized population
    • Majority lived in their own villages, fed themselves, maintained their own crops
  • Brought to the missions on Feast days and as a rotating labor force
    • Death rate exceeded birth rate under these more favorable conditions compared to other missions
  • Indian threw a stone at a missionary
    • 25 lashes a day for 9 days
    • 35 – 45 lashes each Sunday for 9 Sundays
  • Soldier for Rape
    • Soldier would receive 8 days of sentry duty
    • Or
    • 16 days on graveyard shift
san diego mission
San Diego Mission
  • 1772 letter from Fr. Jayme
    • Worried about several attempted rebellions
    • Destruction of crops by soldiers
    • Sexual violence perpetrated by soldiers endemic
      • 4 villages in which the soldiers rape and murder
      • Evidence of 3 incidents of gang rape
      • Blind women carried screaming and beaten into the woods to be raped
        • Neophytes believed the fathers could have stopped this but allowed it to “keep the soldiers content”
sexual abuse
Sexual Abuse
  • Brutal attacks and Sexual violence previously unknown to Tongva or others
    • San Gabriel Mission - Tongva - Chasing, lassoing, raping, beating, killing
    • San Diego Mission - 3 Soldiers, 2 Kumeyaay girls, gang raped and one murdered
      • Sentenced to life as a California Citizen
    • Santa Barbara - Chumash - rape, mutilation and Murder
santa barbara mission
Santa Barbara Mission
  • Conditions terrifying & restraints unbearable
    • Study by John Johnson
      • 67% children born at mission died before 5 yrs
      • 75% died before puberty
      • Converts lived average of 12 years
      • 60% population decrease
      • Measles, cholera, diphtheria,
      • SYPHYLIS introduced by Spanish soldiers
san luis rey mission
San Luis Rey Mission
  • “Miserable Conditions”
  • Failed escapes: flogged, iron clog fastened to their legs
  • Destruction of crops
  • Famine
  • General abuse
  • Forced labor
san diego mission revolt
San Diego Mission Revolt
  • Revolt of November, 1772 Jayme killed
  • Revolt of 1775 the Mission burned down
forced system of labor
Forced System of Labor
  • Excessive confining work
  • Santa Barbara Mission:
    • Fr. Maynard Geiger
    • Brick Manufacture
      • Men made adobe bricks
      • Women aided in transporting bricks & tiles
    • Weaving lucrative for the mission
      • Women & Children employed in processing wool and weaving
        • Evidence of piece rate system, paid “in kind”
physical punishment
Physical Punishment
  • General coercive nature of the system
  • Padre Antonio de la Conception Horra, 1799
    • The treatment shown to the Indian’s is the most cruel I have ever read in history. For the slightest things they receive heavy floggings, are shackled, and put in the stocks and treated with so much cruelty that they are kept whole days without a drink of water
forced conversion
Forced Conversion
  • Captain Beechy, visited San Francisco Bay, 1826 – 27
    • If Indian’s refused to convert, they would imprison them for days at a time releasing them to walk around the mission until they agreed to renounce the religion of their forefathers
  • Lt. Pear’s Journal, Hugo Reid’s Letters, Cook, 1976
    • Evidence of use of military coercion
conditions of women
Conditions of Women
  • Unmarried girls, women and widows kept in special compounds and locked in dormitories at night.
    • Separated from families and men
      • Men kept in Jayuntesor men’s quarters
    • Poor diet
    • Poor hygiene at the missions
    • Greater contagion
  • Higher rate of death among women
women s quarters monjero
Women’s Quarters: Monjero
  • Russian Explorer Otto Van Kotzebue
  • Santa Clarita Mission, 1824
    • large quadrangular bldg without windows and only one carefully secured door resembling a prison
    • These dungeons are opened 2-3 x/day, but only to allow the prisoners to pass to and from church
    • I have occasionally seen the poor girls rush out eagerly, to breathe fresh air, and driven immediately into the church like a flock of sheep, by an old ragged Spaniard armed with a stick. After mass they are hurried back to their prison
18 th c perspectives
18th C Perspectives

French Explorer Jean Francois Galaup Comte de La Perouse

Likened the Indians of Mission San Carlos in 1786 to the Slaves of Santo Domingo

Descriptions lf serious charges of cruelty

George Vancouver Expeditions

Naturalist Archibald Menzies, 1792

Documents & letters authored by military authorities in 1785 & cited by George Bancroft

native resistance
Native Resistance


Passive Resistance


Active Resistance



Raids on livestock


  • Only if there was something to gain, material benefits, or too much to lose in resisting
passive resistance
Passive Resistance
  • Non cooperation
  • Work Slow Down
  • Destruction of Tools and Resistance
  • “Huntin’ ‘em up!”
  • 12 lashes after Sunday Mass, then kiss hand of missionary
  • “I don’t want it, I am returning to my land”
  • Pagan Headmen caught for harboring fugitives
    • Kept confined for one month
    • Whipped
    • killed
revitalization movements
Revitalization Movements
  • Chumash - Santa Barbara
    • Chupu - Earth Goddess & “tears of the sun”
  • Split between “Traditional” & conversos or neophytes
mission san gabriel revolt
Mission San Gabriel Revolt
  • Revolts & resistance so common as to not be recorded regularly
    • 1785 revolt against Mission San Gabriel
      • Led by Taypurina, 24 yrs woman shaman
      • 4 people received 20 lashes, 2 released
      • General Ugarte orders 2 years later
          • Condemned Nicolai to six yrs of work at the presidio followed by perpetual exile
          • 2 other women dismissed with 2 years imprisonment
chumash revolt february 21 1824
Chumash Revolt February 21, 1824
  • No way out of Mission except escape
    • Catalyst for revolt, flogging so severe a young neophyte died of wounds at Santa Ynez Mission
    • Building burned
  • La Purisima Mission of Lompoc
  • Santa Barbara Mission
san rafael mission revolt
San Rafael Mission Revolt
  • Pomponio (Coast Miwuk)
    • originally from Mission Dolores in San Francisco
  • 1821 – 1824
  • He led guerilla warfare between San Rafael and Santa Cruz missions
  • Uprisings between 1820 – 1830s of Missions in San Francisco Bay Area
    • Leaders of Revolts
      • Yozcolo
        • Captured, beheaded, head hung on a pole for all to see
      • Estanislao
      • Marin
      • Quintin
yuma san diego revolts
Yuma & San Diego Revolts
  • San Diego - 1769 Father Jayme
  • Yuma Revolt - 1780 - Most Successful
      • Destroyed 2 missions and the settlements
      • 30 soldiers
      • 4 padres
    • Cut off Travel over Anza trail until 1820s
impact of the mission system and spanish settlement
Impact of the Mission System and Spanish Settlement




Mission Santa Barbara

population decline
Population Decline
  • 65 years from 1769 – 1834
    • 81,000 baptized
    • 60,000 deaths
  • 1834 15,000 resident neophytes remained at 21 missions
  • 50% - 70% decline during mission period
    • Rape and Murder - abortion, infanticide
    • Military & Mission physical torture and abuse
    • Forced labor
    • Malnutrition, starvation
    • disease
social upheaval
Social Upheaval
  • Murder of Knowledge Specialists
  • New economic system -destruction and dispossession
  • Ideas imposed that forced restructuring of social and political relationships
    • Gente de Razon/Gente de Sin
    • Patriarchy