"Highly Recommended. This is an excellent study of California's historic missions." -CIVC Index
California's 21 missions are the state's most visited historical landmarks. This series, shot entirely on location, offers viewers the complete story of the missions and their impact on the state's development. Click for more
A combined version of 5. Mission San Diego de Alcala; 6. Mission San Gabriel and 7. Mission Santa Barbara is available.
5. Mission San Diego de Alcala
As one admires the impressive white chapel façade of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, it would be correct to say, "it all began here"; its history dates back to July 16, 1769, when it was established as California's first mission by Father Junipero Serra; thus beginning the California mission system, which secured the area for settlements that ultimately led to statehood for California in 1850. Today, the Mission is a National Historic Landmark, a symbol of new beginnings in America's West; for here began El Camino Real, the King's Highway, which would then stretch 600 miles north to Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma. Here we tour this historic compound and view its beautiful grounds; we learn about the Mission Indians, discover the significance of the bells, and we visit the Casa del Padre Serra, which illustrates the simple and sparse lifestyle of the Franciscan padres who lived here.
6. Mission San Gabriel
Today, at the intersection of Mission Boulevard and Junipero Serra Avenue in the City of San Gabriel, you will find an active mission of California, San Gabriel Arcangel, which dates back to September 8, 1771, when, under the direction of Father Juniper Serra, Fathers Pedro Cambón and Joseph de la Somera founded the fourth mission. All 21 of California's missions were connected by El Camino Real; however, Mission San Gabriel Arcangel could also be reached by two additional roads: one from Mexico; the other from the growing United States, making this mission a center of activity. This led to problems between the Native Americans and the military; so in 1775 the mission was moved to its present site. So fertile was the land here that soon it became the wealthiest and most prosperous of all the missions; this success led others to establish towns, called pueblos; the closest was the Pueblo de Los Angeles, which today is Los Angeles. Here we discover why missions became the center of Spanish culture in the state; also we learn that not all was good fortune at the mission. Buried here are nearly 6000 neophytes (Indians who became new converts); many died due to diseases brought to the area by the Europeans; also the new Republic of Mexico secularized the Missions in 1833, which ended mission life until 1862, when the U.S. Congress restored the properties back to the Catholic Church.
7. Mission Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, uniquely located on California's "south" coast, has a Mediterranean-type climate and is known for its incredible beauty. It too is no surprise to discover one of the most beautiful of California's missions can be found here, Mission Santa Barbara, the tenth of 21 missions founded in the state by Spanish Franciscan padres. Although originally planned by Father Junipero Serra, Santa Barbara Mission was established by his successor, Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, on December 4, 1786. This program combines a tribute to the Franciscan friars and the Native Americans who labored here along with a tour of the beautiful grounds and museum, which reveal why this mission has earned the title, "Queen of the Missions." 01/11DE/CC Closed-Captioned IJSCA 30 min. Also available in Spanish.
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