(Please note the quality of the mission photos are not up to my usual professional standards. Before I made the decision to buy pro DSLR, I experimented with a consumer grade DSLR. As a result, in getting used to it, not all photos are of the quality I prefer, but I put them up because when I had them on another Web site, they were often downloaded by primary and middle school students. Because I haven't been back to those missions, I haven't been able to take new photos with my pro DSLR. Maybe some day.)
"The Spanish missions in Alta California comprise a series of 21 religious and military outposts; established by Catholic priests of the Franciscan order between 1769 and 1833, to spread Christianity among the local Native Americans.
"The missions were part of the first major effort by Europeans to colonize the Pacific Coast region, the most northern and western of Spain's North American claims.
"The settlers introduced European fruits, vegetables, cattle, horses, ranching and technology into the Alta California region; however, the Spanish colonization of California also brought with it serious negative consequences to the Native American populations with whom the missionaries and other Spaniards came in contact.
"The government of Mexico secularized the missions in the 1830s after the passage of the Mexican secularization act of 1833. This divided the vast mission land holdings into land grants which became many of the Ranchos of California.
"In the end, the missions had mixed results in their objectives: to convert, educate, and 'civilize' the indigenous population and transform the natives into Spanish colonial citizens. Today, the surviving mission buildings are the state's oldest structures and the most-visited historic monuments."
(These photos were taken prior to me transitioning to my pro DSLR gear. I hope to photograph at least Mission Santa Barbara someday with my pro gear. These can be enlarged a bit.)