History Of San Diego Mission De Alcala
San Diego Mission De Alcala Table Of Contents
Page 1. San Diego Mission de Alcala Spanish Mission Period, Mission Life
Page 2. Indian Relations, San Diego Mission de Alcala at Presido Hill
Page 3. San Diego Mission de Alcala at Mission Hills
Page 4. The Ghosts At Presidio Park Hill And Mission De Alcala
Page 5. Bibliography
Spanish Mission Period
The Spanish exploration, trade and conquest eventually made its way to the Americas beginning with the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus. Further colonization of California by the Spanish during the Mission Period (1769–1833) led to the establishment of 21 missions and forts along the California coast. The first mission was Mission San Diego de Alcala established in 1769 in San Diego, by Father Junipero Serra. Missions were purposely constructed in areas where large numbers of Native Indians lived. As each mission was established, a path, called The El Camino Real, or Kings Highway, was created to allow easier access for people, livestock and supplies. The mission period would continue even after Mexico won it’s Independence from Spain, in 1821. As the Mexican government matured, calls for the secularization (“disestablishment”) of the Missions increased, by December of 1836 all 21 Missions had succumbed.
The Spanish establishment of Missions on the pacific coast was three fold. One, it allowed Spain to claim lands and resources from afar. Two, it spread the Catholic religion and the Spanish language into native Indian populations. Lastly, Spain would tax the converted Indian populations as they became citizens.
Mission Life And Culture
Life for the indigenous Indian population would change drastically with the coming of Spanish settlers in California. In most cases Indians were forced to leave their traditional dwellings to live, work, learn, and worship in the Missions. Probably the hardest change for the Natives was the daily regiment of Mission life, waking up at a certain time, morning mass, daily duties, etc. The Spanish Padres looked upon the Indians like children and were very strict with them as such. Spanish soldiers were a different lot. At times the soldiers would lash out violently against the Indians without cause. Additionally the Spanish unknowingly brought a series of diseases to the Indian populace of which they had no immunity.
Indian Relations And Tensions
The physical demands, along with the strictness of the Padres and violent outbursts from the Spanish soldiers led to resistance from some Indians. The largest form of resistance was escape, where by Indians would seize any opportunity to flee the mission and forts to return to their way of life. Some Indians looked at the Mission Padres as evil and took effort to assassinate them.
At the 1801 Mission of San Miguel Indians poisoned three Padres, killing one. In 1804 a Padre at the San Diego Mission was also poisoned by Natives. Lastly in 1812, Costanoan Indians at Mission Santa Cruz murdered a friar. The priest had threatened to use a torture device on natives as a means of punishment. The Kumeyaay of San Diego fought back against the Spanish, right after their arrival by launching military style assaults. In 1775, the Kumeyaay decimated the original Mission at Presidio Hill and slayed Father Luis Jayme and two other Spaniards.
San Diego Mission de Alcala at Presidio Hill
Father Junipero Serra led the last of the Spanish land expeditions, into San Diego from New Spain (Mexico), which arrived on June 29th 1769. At 56
years of age Junipero was a small man, 5′ 2″ and 120 pounds and was plagued by a chronic leg infection. In July 16, 1769, Father Serra established Mission San Diego and the California Mission system had begun. Presidio Hill (Presidio Park), had a com-manding view of San Diego Bay and the ocean, allowing the Spanish to see potential intruders. On May 14, 1769, Spanish Commandant Pedro Fages established El Presidio Reál de San Diego (Royal Presidio of San Diego), a fortified position against possible intruders. Mission de Alcala was built on Presidio Hill in proximity to the fort, for protection.
The natives resented the Spaniards intrusion and the settlement was attacked within a month of being established. Mission de Alcala at Presidio Hill was short lived. There was the issue of tension between the Spanish military and Indians coupled with a lack of dependable water supply. As such, the Mission was relocated 6 miles inland in 1774.
San Diego Mission de Alcala at Mission Hills
Father Luis Jayme, with permission from Father Serra, made the decision to ultimately move Mission de Alcala inland. The new Mission was now closer to the Indian villages and the San Diego River. Father Jayme was accepted favorably by most of the local Indians. With the Spanish soldiers 6 miles away, there was almost immediately a notable upsurge in the number of conversions, which by 1775, numbered 431. Not all was fine for every Indian at the Mission. Two became upset and defiant over Mission rules and regulations. Those two Indians would incite over 6oo more and on the moonlit night of November 4th, 1775 when they horrifically massacred Father Jayme, pillaged, and burned Mission Alcala to the ground.
Father Serra returned to the Mission and would oversee the rebuilding. Out of fear for another Indian attack, the mission was built according to the specific-ations of an army fort. Life at the mission continued on. The most successful year was 1797. That year marked a record of 506 baptisms and 1,405 converts to Christianity. the land area encompassed 50,000 acres, harvesting corn, wheat, barley, kidney beans and chick peas; vineyards produced enough grapes for wine and gardens yielded vegetables. The mission owned 20,000 sheep, 10,000 cattle, and 1250 horses.
After Mexico gained its independence from Spain, secularization in 1834 removed the administration of the mission from the padres and gave it to Santiago Arguello. Eventually the United States would acquire the land, and the mission saw use by the American military from 1853-1859 as a Calvary and livestock post. The mission would also serve as an Indian children school for 17 years. Over time the Mission became abandoned and fell into a complete state of disrepair. The mission was rebuilt in 1931 to mirror the 1813 original Spanish church. Mission de Alcala is an active church, and museum in the Mission Hills community in San Diego.
San Diego The Ghosts And Paranormal At Presidio Park
Presidio Hill, was converted into a park and the Serra museum erected under the vision of San Diego businessman George Marston. Some local paranormal investigators and paranormalists believe the history of the original mission is still alive today. Several ghosts are said to inhabit Presido park. One such ghost is that of a little white deer named Lucy. The Serra museum is also reported to be haunted by similar cloaked monk like figures, and a boy spirit has been witnessed atop the mission tower.
It is unclear who or what is haunting the back trails of Presidio Park. The best reports come from a local paranormal group called San Diego Paranormal Eye, which has been investigating the park since 2011. According to an anonymous guest member, “I felt my necklace levitate from around my neck, I reached for it, only to find it on the ground by my feet.” Other paranormal reports include possible possession, and odd light phenomena. Matt Barron founder of San Diego Paranormal Eye urges, “We “HIGHLY” advise any individual or individuals not to investigate the mission or trails without a guide to, investigate safely.
Another less well known rumor is that of a secret Padre mine that supposedly existed in San Diego. The urban legend of secret mines are usually associated with other larger south west cities or states. According to the story the Spanish Padres used Indian labor to mine for rich deposits of Gold and Silver. The Indians would end up destroying the mine along with all 200 workers to ensure the mine would be lost forever.
Literature purchased at Mission de Alcala pages 1-4
Interview Mathew Barron of San Diego Paranormal Eye