Between 1769 and 1823, Franciscan
padres established a string of 21 missions along the
two missions were exactly alike in their design or development. A mission’s
location influenced its architecture and its industries. The personal characteristics
of the padres assigned to a mission shaped the course that life at that mission
would take. Attitudes of the local inhabitants of the area differed from mission
to mission. Missions founded later in the mission period developed somewhat
differently than those founded in the early years.
these factors created differences among the missions. Yet the 21 missions had
even more in common than they had differences. Founded with the same goals --
to secure the land for
the course of the 65 years of the mission period, many changes were taking place
Life describes the typical mission
life and activities at the peak of the mission period. The emphasis is on those
factors that were held in common by most of the missions. Some differences are
described. The aim, however, is to give a composite
view of what being inside the mission
was like for most of the people who lived there in the early 1800s.
of what we know about what went on inside the missions of
most complete description of the
Mission Life is based on many sources, including Engelhardt’s work. Throughout the descriptions, however, the experience of the Native Californians has been kept in view in a sincere attempt to present a balanced picture of life inside the missions.