Spanish Governors of California

The Spanish era in California spanned 1769 through 1821. There were 12 different governors in that period: 1768-9 Jul 1770: Don Gaspar de Portolá Don Gaspar de Portolá (1723-?) was born in Balageur, Spain. He entered the military at 11, becoming an ensign in the dragoons. He served in battles in Italy and Portugal. He […]

Spanish Arrival in California

Two events stand out relating to the Spanish arrival in Alta California: the voyage of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo who was the first European to set foot in Alta California and the arrival of Saint Serra and others who would start the settlement of Alta California. Both of these events took place relatively close together in […]

Lasuen Short Biography

Who is Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuén? A short biography: The successor to Saint Serra in the mission system was born 7 June 1736 in Victoria, Spain. He joined the Franciscans early in life and volunteered for the mission life as a deacon. He arrived in Mexico in 1759 and served in the lower California […]

Mission Industry – Soap Making

Soap was one of many Mission’s industries. Since Missions ran large herds of cattle there was always an abundance of animal fat (also known as tallow) which was used to make soap. One steer could easily produce up to 100 pounds of fat to process. Processing began by rendering the tallow (melting and cooking it) […]

Presidents-General of The Missions

The head of the Catholic missions in California between 1769 and 1812 was known as the President-General and was appointed by his apostolic college in Mexico City. After 1812 when Mexico became independent, he was appointed by the Commissary General of the Indies, a Franciscan residing in Spain and technically known as the Commissary Prefect […]