California Missions – Importance

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These Spanish missions are 21 in number and form the nucleus of the tourism industry on modern day California. They were built in the 1700's and their ruins and reconstructed buildings are highly sought after places by the tourists visiting the state of California. They were founded by the Spanish catholic practices who came to the territories of Native Americans with the aim to spread Christianity and to colonize them.

Californian trail

Nineteen Spanish missions are constructed along the coastal areas of the Native Americans land with two missions built inland. These missions turned into churches to form an important tourist destination place for the people traveling to the state of California. The missions are located few kilometers apart from each other and one can visit them one by one while traveling by road. These road trips along the coastal areas in search of the churches are known as Californian trail.

Most important mission

The most important mission of the Spanish was the mission of St. Francis. Care of Assisi. It was founded by a Franciscan missionary named Father Junipero Serra. He was the president of the missions during the building of this church. It was established on January 12, 1777 and was 8th mission to be constructed out of the 21 missions. It is situated near San Francisco and is of great importance as a national landmark.

Design of the mission

The mission built in 1777 incorporated a church in the later years. It was the fifth and most important church built. It was built with adobe / mud bricks and had a tiled roof top. The other designs of the mission include:

  • The building style: the building was simple in structure but had a number of paintings both inside and outside. A large variety of bright colors were used to ornate the building. Most of the paintings were done by native artisan.
  • Wall structure: the walls supporting the building were wider from the bottom and they narrowed down in thickness while moving to the top.
  • Bell tower: A tower was built near the entrance of the chapel. It was square in shape and was located on the left side of the building. The bell tower consist of three bells.

Compounds and grounds

This mission among the California missions was successful in nature as the missionaries of the mission were successful in converting a substantial number of natives into Christianity. It was a prosperous mission and the natives being good spinners and weavers decorated the mission walls. The buildings were in quadrangle formation and they were the homes to the missionaries and Spanish soldiers. They had the kitchen, guard rooms, and workshops.

The adjourning fields produced grains and had orchards of peaches, pears, figs, and grapes. The ranches surrounding the building compound had a number of cattle and sheep. All of this added to the prosperity of the mission. Willow trees marked the pathways and made a very attractive picture. This all was done to tempt the natives to join in to the missionary work.


Source by Mark Lopes

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