Friday, February 17, 2012

Missions of New Spain

Map of the route, Juan Bautista de Anza traveled in 1775-76 from Mexico to today's San Francisco, where he founded the Presidio of San Francisco.

The California Missions, after they were all established, were located about one day's horseback ride apart for easier communication and linked by the El Camino Real trail. These Missions were typically manned by two-three friars and three to ten soldiers. Virtually all the physical work was done by Indians coerced into joining the missions.
The padres provided instructions for making adobe bricks, building mission buildings, planting fields, digging irrigation ditches, growing new grains and vegetables, herding cattle and horses, singing, speaking Spanish, and understanding the Catholic faith—all that was thought to be necessary to bring the Indians up to be able to support themselves and their new church.
The soldiers supervised the construction of the Presidios (forts) and were responsible for keeping order and preventing and/or capturing runaway Indians that tried to leave the missions. Nearly all of the Indians adjoining the missions were induced to join the various missions built in California. Once the Indians had joined the mission, if they tried to leave, soldiers were sent out to retrieve them. Some have compared their Peon status as only slightly better than slaves.


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