Mission Santa Clara de Asis

The Spanish missions in California comprise a series of 21 religious outposts; established by Catholic priests of the Franciscan order between 1769 and 1833, to expand Christianity among the Native Americans northwards into what is today the U.S. state of California. #

The missions were part of a major effort by the Spanish Empire to extend colonization into the most northern and western parts of Spain’s North American claims. The missionaries introduced European fruits, vegetables, cattle, horses, ranching and technology into the region.

As any colonization, the missions also brought serious negative consequences, such as disease and forced labor, to the Native American populations with whom the missionaries and other Spaniards came in contact.

The surviving mission buildings are California’s oldest structures and the most-visited historic monuments.