Sunday, September 9, 2012

American Minute with Bill Federer Sept. 9 - California Spanish Missions, History & Today

American Minute with Bill Federer
Sept. 9 - California Spanish Missions,
History & Today
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In 1769, the first Spanish missions were founded in California by Franciscan missionary Junipero Serra, whose statue is in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall.

Missions founded were:

1769 San Diego de Alcalá (grew into San Diego, CA, cultivated the first olives in California)

1770 San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (grew into Carmel, CA)

1771 San Antonio de Padua (grew into Monterey County, CA)

1771 San Gabriel (grew into San Gabriel, CA, began California's citrus industry)

1772 San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (grew into San Luis Obispo, CA)

1776 San Francisco de Asís (oldest surviving structure in San Francisco, CA)

1776 San Juan Capistrano (grew into San Juan Capistrano, CA, produced California's first wine)

1777 Santa Clara de Asís (grew into Santa Clara, CA)

1782 San Buenaventura (grew into Ventura, CA)

1786 Santa Barbara (grew into Santa Barbara, CA)

1787 La Purísima Concepción (grew into Lompoc, CA)

1791 Santa Cruz (grew into Santa Cruz, CA)

1791 Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (grew into Soledad, CA)

1797 San José (grew into Fremont, CA)

1797 San Juan Bautista (grew into San Juan Bautista, CA, restored with help from the Hearst Foundation)

1797 San Miguel Arcángel (grew into San Miguel, CA)

1797 San Fernando Rey de España (grew into Mission Hills district of Los Angeles)

1798 San Luis Rey de Francia (grew into Oceanside, CA, first California Pepper Tree planted)

1804 Santa Inés (Danish town of Solvang built around mission)

1817 San Rafael Arcángel (grew into San Francisco Bay area, had the first hospital in California)

1823 San Francisco Solano (grew into Sonoma, CA)

As Indians had previously regarded labor as degrading to the masculine sex, missionaries taught industry.

Missions introduced to California irrigation and oranges, grapes, apples, peaches, pears, figs, cattle, sheep, horses, mules, burros, goats and swine.

Missions built foundries, introducing the Indians to the Iron Age, with blacksmith furnaces which smelted and fashioned iron into nails, crosses, gates, hinges, and cannons for mission defense.

In 1821, Spain lost California to Mexico after its war of independence, but instead of a republic, Mexico set up a monarchy with Augustin Iturbide as Emperor.

Iturbide was executed, and Mexico adopted a Federal Constitution in 1824.

In 1833, General Santa Ana became President, and together with his Vice-President, Gomez Farias, instituted the anticlerical Mexican Secularization Act, which took all mission property away from the Catholic Church and sold it to those who supported his government.

In 1834, General Santa Anna suspended Mexico's Constitution and declared himself dictator. When several States opposed him, he crushed the resistance.

His ruthless actions precipitated the Texas War of Independence, 1836, and the Mexican-American War, 1846.

After the war, California was purchased by the United States with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

In 1849, workers in California building a sawmill for John Sutter on the south fork of the American River, discovered gold. Soon prospectors, called "Forty-Niners," arrived.

California became the 31st State on SEPTEMBER 9, 1850. Its Constitution, which prohibits slavery, stated: "We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our establish this Constitution."

Regarding California Missions, the U.S. Board of Land Commissioners wrote, as recorded in W.W. Robinson's book, Land in California (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1948, p. 28):

"The Missions were be temporary...It was supposed that within that period of time the Indians would be sufficiently instructed in Christianity and the arts of civilized life."

On May 23, 1862, President Lincoln restored all 21 California missions taken by Mexican Secularization Acts back to the Catholic Church:

"I grant unto the...Bishop of trust for the religious purposes...the tracts of land described in the foregoing survey."

Though Spanish Missions were an integral part of California's history, in 2004, Los Angeles County responded to pressure from the ACLU by removing from its county seal a tiny cross.

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