The Old Franciscan Missions Of California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about The Old Franciscan Missions Of California.

It would form a fascinating chapter could I here tell of the stirring history of some of the Missions established in New Mexico.  There were martyrs by the score, escapes miraculous and wonderful.  Among the Hopis one whole village was completely destroyed and in the neighborhood of seven hundred of its men—­all of them—­slain by their fellow-Hopis of other towns, simply because of their complaisance towards the hated, foreign long-gowns (as the Franciscan priests were called).  Suffice it to say that Missions were established and churches built at practically all of the Indian pueblos, and also at the Spanish settlements of San Gabriel and Santa Cruz de la Canyada, many of which exist to this day.  In Texas, also, Missions had been established, the ruins of the chief of which may be visited in one day from the city of San Antonio.



Rightly to understand the history of the Missions of the California of the United States, it is imperative that the connection or relationship that exists between their history and that of the Missions of Lower California (Mexico) be clearly understood.

As I have already shown, the Jesuit padres founded fourteen Missions in Lower California, which they conducted with greater or less success until 1767, when the infamous Order of Expulsion of Carlos III of Spain drove them into exile.

It had always been the intention of Spain to colonize and missionize Alta California, even as far back as the days of Cabrillo in 1542, and when Vizcaino, sixty years later, went over the same region, the original intention was renewed.  But intentions do not always fructify and bring forth, so it was not until a hundred and sixty years after Vizcaino that the work was actually begun.  The reasons were diverse and equally urgent.  The King of Spain and his advisers were growing more and more uneasy about the aggressions of the Russians and the English on the California or rather the Pacific Coast.  Russia was pushing down from the north; England also had her establishments there, and with her insular arrogance England boldly stated that she had the right to California, or New Albion, as she called it, because of Sir Francis Drake’s landing and taking possession in the name of “Good Queen Bess.”  Spain not only resented this, but began to realize another need.  Her galleons from the Philippines found it a long, weary, tedious and disease-provoking voyage around the coast of South America to Spain, and besides, too many hostile and piratical vessels roamed over the Pacific Sea to allow Spanish captains to sleep easy o’ nights.  Hence it was decided that if ports of call were established on the California coast, fresh meats and vegetables and pure water could be supplied to the galleons, and in addition, with presidios to defend them,

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The Old Franciscan Missions Of California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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