Purpose of the Missions

What is the main function of the mission and what specific trees were found on most missions?

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.

Who was in charge of building the missions? Who built San Luis Rey?

The answer is a little complex because you asked a very general question. The ultimate decision to settle Alta California and build a chain of missions was made by the King of Spain. The king's representative in New Spain was a Viceroy, located in Mexico City who organized the effort. The actual building of the missions was the joint responsibility of the Governor of Alta and Baja California and the Father President of the Mission Chain (who was initially Junipero Serra). The Father President was involved in selecting each site.

Why did the mission system end?

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.

What is the purpose and location of Mission San Gabriel Arcangel?

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.

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Why the Spanish built the missions and the purpose of the missions.

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.

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Did San Luis Obispo produce any goods? Were they well-known for producing anything?

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.

Why were missions built in the first place?

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.

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