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Frequently Asked Questions

How did the missions change California?

The missions created new communities where the Native Americans received religious education and instruction. The Spanish established pueblos (towns) and presidios (forts) for protection. The natives lived in the missions until their religious training was complete.

What was everyday life like in the California missions?

Daily life in the missions was not like anything the Native Texans had experienced. Most had routine jobs to perform every day, and the mission priests introduced them to new ways of life and ideas. The priests supervised all activities in the mission. They would often physically punish uncooperative natives.

In what way were the California Missions self sufficient?

Missions were self-sufficient. They made and grew everything they needed for the mission's survival. How did the missionaries convert the Native Americans?

How did Indians resist California missions?

The public flogging of the Indians involved in this revolt was a ritual designed to restore Spanish domination, a common practice throughout Spanish America. The Mission Indians often rebelled against the Franciscan missionaries with their feet: they ran away from captivity.

How did the missions change the landscape of California?

The California missions transformed the landscape of coastal California from a wild place to an agricultural region. Crops and plants from Latin America and Europe came to live alongside of, and sometimes replace, the native plants and grasses of the California landscape.

What did the Spanish missionaries bring to California?

The Spanish missionaries also brought fruits from Europe, such as apples, peaches and pears. Other jobs included carpentry, building, weaving and leather-working. Padres, or religious leaders, oversaw the mission. They were assigned six soldiers to protect them and the mission properties.

What kind of buildings did the California missions use?

The mission period greatly influenced architecture in California. Many of the buildings, houses and churches still exist today. Native Americans used all-natural materials, such as stone, timber, mud brick, adobe and tile to build mission structures.

When did the first mission start in California?

There were 21 missions in all, lasting from 1769 until about 1833. The California missions began in the late 18th century as an effort to convert Native Americans to Catholicism and expand European territory.

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