The main purpose of all of the missions from the viewpoint of the Spanish Crown was to confirm the claim of Spain to this wilderness by settling it and creating communities (and ultimately four presidios or forts) that would defend the land. The purpose of the missions from the perspective of the padres was to convert the Native Americans, who were recruited into the missions and converted to Catholicism.
Purpose of the Missions
Many forces worked together to bring an end to the mission system. Perhaps the fundamental reason was that the missions had served their purpose as the primary means of "settling" California and transforming it from a wilderness. By 1830s the mission controlled lands covered about 1/3 of the future state, and the total population had grown to about 30,000 - in the missions, presidios and towns that were formed (the most prominent of which would become Los Angeles). As the number of settlers grew they came to covet the lands and property of the missions.
Mission San Gabriel Arcangel was founded as part of the effort by the Spanish to settle the territory known as Alta California. The purpose of the mission was to build a community of Christian men and women who would be loyal to the Spanish Crown. An important objective, particularly for the missionaries, was to covert the natives to the Catholic faith.
Today San Gabriel is a parish church located in the town of San Gabriel, California. The specific location and other information is on our website.
The Spanish used the mission system to settle and protect its long and exposed frontier. The territory north of Mexico City was referred to as the Northern Frontier.
The missions were built by the Spanish starting in 1769 in order to "colonize" the territory of Alta California, which they had discovered over two centuries earlier. There had been various proposals over the years to do something with this territory, but it was hard reaching the coast of Alta California from New Spain (Mexico) in those days, sailing against the wind and currents, and Spain had other priorities.
The primary products produced by the missions were cow hides and tallow. The cow hides were also known as Yankee dollars, because they were traded for manufactured goods brought by ships which were mostly from Boston. San Luis Obispo was also famous for being the first mission to make roofing tiles, which the other missions soon copied.
As of 1832, the last year for which records were kept, San Luis Obispo had a herd of 2.500 cattle and 5,432 sheep. San Luis Obispo also had large agricultural fields under cultivation.
The missions were built by the Spanish starting in 1769 in order to “colonize” the territory of Alta California, which they had discovered over two centuries earlier. There had been various proposals over the years to do something with this territory but it was hard reaching the coast of Alta California from New Spain (Mexico) in those days, sailing against the wind and currents, and Spain had other priorities.
First of all, why did they have missions and why were they important?