Monday, October 13, 2014

What Are Missions?

Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

Living in Santa Barbara, California, you've undoubtedly heard tons about our local mission. Have you ever stopped to wonder what it was? Why was it built? What purpose does it serve? Thankfully, our next unit on the California Missions will answer all of your questions.

A brief overview of what we will cover will follow:
-The Origin of our Missions System
-The History behind individual Missions.
- Daily Life on the mission.

Below is an excerpt from about the origins of missions. After reading the except, use the comments section below to write three things you would like to learn about our missions!

Why were missions built in the first place?

The Franciscans came to California to convert native tribes to Christianity and prepare them for life in a Spanish society. The natives were taught religion and the Spanish language. They were also taught skills such as brick making and construction, how to raise cattle and horses, and weaving.

The natives would live in the missions until their education was complete. They would then establish homes outside of the missions. Once the native in one region were educated and converted to Christianity, the missionaries would move on to new locations. The old missions would be left as parish churches. In the new location, the missionaries would begin the conversion process once again with a new group of natives.

The missions prospered. By 1804, the occupation of the sea-coast line from San Francisco to San Diego was complete. There were nineteen missions within a day's journey of each other. Construction started on a second row of missions more inland. The missions created a considerable wealth and economy with agriculture and large numbers of livestock.
While many people benefited from the missions, many more wanted that prosperity for themselves. Traders, settlers and explorers saw the wealth and began to exploit the missions. There was constant pressure for the mission economy to be taken over by the Californians. In 1813, regulations from Mexico and California were issued to disbanded the missions. They were to be turned over to civilian authorities. This process of "secularization" became the end of the missions.

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