Santa Barbara was
December 4, 1786 by Father Fermin Lasuen, Presidente of the
California Missions Chain. It was the 10th mission in the 21 mission
chain in Alta California. It was named for Saint Barbara. Father
Serra wanted to start this mission two years before it actually was
founded. He could not get permission from the governor at that time.
By the time authorisation came to begin a mission, Father Serra was
dying in Carmel. Mission Santa Barbara was named "Queen of the
Missions". It sits high on a hill overlooking the city of Santa
Barbara and the Pacific Ocean. During the first few years, there were
a total of three churches built, each larger than the previous one.
The final and remaining church is 161 feet long, 27 feet wide and 42
feet high. It has two matching bell towers that are each 87 feet
tall. The appearance of the inside of the church has not changed
Chumash Indians of
the Santa Barbara
area were friendly and willing to help the padres with the
construction of this new mission. The coast of California was home to
many Indians. There were about 10,000 Chumash Indians between San
Buenaventura and Point Concepcion. They lived in reed huts in large
well designed villages. The Chumash were expert boatbuilders and
lived off the Pacific Ocean. They would often travel to the Channel
Islands in their 24 foot long boats to fish and gather food. Two
hundred-fifty Indians homes were built next to the mission. They
learned the skills and trades of the mission including how to get
water. The padres taught them how to build a water system to get
water to the mission for drinking, cooking, cleaning and irrigation.
This water system was so well built, that a part of it is still used
today by the City of Santa Barbara. In 1807, there were about 1,700
Indians living at the mission. In the cemetery at the mission, there
are over 4,000 Indians buried, including Juana Maria. She was known
as "the woman of San Nicolas Island" and for whom the book "Island of
the Blue Dolphins" was based.
main economy at this
mission and all of
the missions was agriculture and raising animals. In 1809, there were
5,000 head of cattle. In 1821, there were 12,820 bushels harvested.
The Indians learned more than 50 different trades at Mission Santa
Barbara which would allow them to earn a living in the white men's
world. The mission had orange and olive trees growing in large
orchards. The water system brought water to grow wheat, barley, corn,
beans and peas.
the quadrangle, there
was the church,
servant quarters, a sleeping place for the young native women, a
tannery, a kitchen, a priests' house and storerooms. The quadrangle
was a place of work and fiesta. Much of the labor was done within the
quadrangle by the Indians and when the celebrations were held, they
too, were in the quadrangle. The City of Santa Barbara grew up around
theSanta Barbara Mission .
Mexico won its
Spain, it found that it could no longer afford to keep the missions
running as Spain had done. In 1834, Mexico decided to end the mission
system and sell all of the lands. They offered the lands to the
Indians who did not want the lands or could not come up with the
purchase price. The lands were divided into smaller Ranchos and sold
to Mexican citizens who were helpful during the war for independence.
After nearly 30 years, the missions were returned to the Catholic
Church. Although some of the missions had already been returned to
the church, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act
declaring that all of the 21 missions in the California mission chain
would become the property of the Catholic Church and have remained so
since that time. When the Mexican priests took over the missions
north of Mission San Antonio de Padua, Father Duran, Presidente of
the missions chain moved his office to Santa Barbara. California's
first bishop also moved to Santa Barbara, with both of these
important priests at the mission the Mexican government did not try
to take charge or sell the mission. When both of these priests died
in 1846, Pio Pico tried to sell the mission, however, California
became an American territory just in time to stop the sale. This is
why Mission Santa Barbara is the only mission to remain under the
leadership of the Franciscan Friars since the day of its founding
Santa Barbara is
the only California
mission never to have been abandoned. It has remained in continuous
use by the padres since the founding day in 1786. They took good care
of this mission and thus there never really was a rebirth as in some
of the other missions. The mission has been well maintained and
repaired through all of the years.
City of Santa Barbara
has been built
near the mission. The Mission Santa Barbara today, continues to serve
the city as a parish church with many active members.
disabled. Get Netscape 3.0
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2. Mission Santa
Barbara was founded....?
3. What Indian
Tribe was in the area of the Santa
4. Mission Santa
Barbara is know as...?
of the Missions
5. Who did the
actual building of the missions?
6. What happened
to the missions in 1834?
Indians took over
7. Santa Barbara
is the only mission...?
been completely rebuilt
the Franciscan Friars from its
founding to today
8. Part of the
water system at the mission...?
built by soldiers
the Navajo reservation
being used by the city of
Santa Barbara today
after Father Serra
9. What happened
were taken over by Mexican
became an American
10. What did
Abraham Lincoln agree to in 1863?
return the Mission lands to
President of the United
the San Antonio de Padua
the Indians to leave the
Mission Internet Trail
Spanish Missions of California
Missions Interactive Homepage
This project written by Rob
partial fulfilment of
of Arts Degree
and/or comments to Mr.
page last updated on February 28, 2015