Presidios and Missions of Alte California

April 29, 2011

Exhibit opened March 19, 2011 in the Great Hall. Closing Date not yet determined

Louis Choris. Indians Dancing at the Mission of San Francisco in 1818. Color Lithograpgh

Beginning in 1867, Spain decided to settle Alte California as a response to Russian settlements moving down the coast and the threat of English speaking colonists arriving from east and west. Four presidios or forts, and 21 missions, were spread out along the coast from San Francisco to San Diego. Working with the military and settlers were Franciscan missionaries who gathered native peoples from diverse backgrounds into these missions. The colonization system as designed was bound to cause conflict between the military, settlers, missionaries and native peoples. The Indians suffered under the system but fared even worse after the mission system collapsed. Most of the churches of these missions survive today in some state of reconstruction and have inspired architecture and the imagination since. The exhibition looks at the history and architecture of the four presidio/missions of San Diego, Monterrey, San Francisco and Santa Barbara as well as the mission of Santa Clara.


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