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Locate primary sources, including images, objects, media, and texts. Annotations by scholars contextualize sources.

Misión Nuestro Señora de la Soledad

Established in 1791, the Mission of Nuestro Señora de la Soledad was a Spanish colonial church in the frontier region of Spain’s empire in North America. By the time of its founding, twelve other similar institutions already existed throughout modern-day California, in addition to the dozens of churches across the US Southwest.

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Misión San Antonio de Padua

The Mission of San Antonio de Padua was the third church established by Spanish friars in the territory that today comprises the state of California. Founded in 1771, this complex aimed to house the church authorities and evangelize the local native communities. Indigenous labor built the sanctuary and its supporting buildings, such as workshops and a granary.

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Misión San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo

Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Spanish Crown granted its missionaries permission to establish dozens of missions throughout the modern-day US Southwest. During this period, this region was the borderlands between Spain’s territory and those claimed by the British, French, and indigenous groups.

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Misión San Francisco de Solano

Located in Southern California, the Mission San Francisco de Solano once operated as a Spanish colonial church. It was founded in 1823 and originally featured living quarters in addition to the sanctuary. Missions like this one were established to evangelize the native communities in the area. The Spanish monarchs approved the creation of dozens of missions throughout the borderlands region.

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Misión San Fernando Rey de España

Throughout the seventeenth century and eighteenth centuries, the Spanish Crown approved the establishment of dozens of churches throughout the region that today comprises the US-Mexico border. During the period, this territory was the frontier zone for Spain, at the northern edge of its American colonies.

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Misión San Rafael Arcángel

Located near San Francisco, California, this mission originally functioned as a hospital. It was a secondary site for a larger mission closer to San Francisco. It was founded later than many of the colonial churches throughout the US Southwest, in 1817. These churches were built as part of the Spanish Crown’s efforts to evangelize the native peoples of the Americas.

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Misión San Gabriel Arcángel

Founded in 1771, the San Gabriel Arcángel Mission joined a large network of Spanish colonial churches throughout the territory that today comprises the Southwest United States. The Crown had granted the church permission to not only establish sanctuaries, but also to supervise local settlements in the hopes of converting the local peoples to Catholicisim.

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Old Mission San Buenaventura

Known as the ‘Mission by the Sea,’ this church once belonged to Spain’s extensive network of missions throughout the modern-day US Southwest. It was founded in 1782 by Francsican friars whose objective was the evangelization of the native peoples in the region, who were the Chumash. The church complex, which included aqueducts, was built with their labor.

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San José de Guadalupe

This church was founded in the late-eighteenth century by Francsisan friars in modern-day Fremont, California. Their goal was to establish a settlement to evangelize the native peoples and coerce them into adopting Spanish ways of living, worshiping, and working.

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Misión San Cayetano de Tumacácori

This church was founded during the late-seventeenth century, when the Spanish Crown claimed this region as the northern border of its empire in North America. Throughout this period, the monarchs of Spain allowed missionaries to establish settlements in the modern-day US Southwest in order to evangelize the native peoples.

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