established by the Spanish to hold and colonize new land.
The California missions were also created for this
purpose. This missions consisted of the church, a fort or
presidio, and the town or pueblo. The fort and soldiers
protected the padres from attack. The town provided the
basic necessities for growing families. Men, women and
children were brought in from Mexico to settle in the
The missions were generally designed as a walled
city, in the shape of a quadrangle. The church was on one
side, and the fort and town on two other sides, with a
large open square in the center.
The picture of life in one of these missions during
their period of prosperity is unique and attractive. The
whole place was a hive of industry: trades plying indoors
and outdoors; tillers, herders, vintagers by hundreds,
going to and fro; children in schools; women spinning;
bands of young men practicing on musical instruments;
music, the scores of which, in many instances, they had
themselves written out; at evening, all sorts of games of
running, leaping, dancing, and ball-throwing, and the
picturesque ceremonies of a religion which has always
been wise in availing itself of beautiful agencies in
color, form, and harmony.
At every mission were walled gardens with waving
palms, sparkling fountains, groves of olive trees, broad
vineyards, and orchards of all manner of fruits; over
all, the sunny, delicious, winterless California sky.