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2. Mission

Mission BannerAnza Expedition
In 1775, Juan Bautista de Anza identified a site for a mission in Santa Clara along the banks of the river he named the Guadalupe. He returned in 1776 with 240 settlers including families who founded the Pueblo of San Jose. De Anza's 1400 mile route from Mexico to this area is a National Historic Trail. This trail includes Mission Santa Clara and the Berryessa Adobe as interpretative sites. 

Mission Santa Clara de Asis
Father Tomas de la Pena arrived at Anza's mission site in 1777 and constructed a temporary mission. Soon after, Father Murguia arrived with cattle and supplies and named it Santa Clara de Tamien. In 1779 the Guadalupe River flooded and the mission was moved to higher ground. The church cornerstone was laid in 1781, and on May 16, 1784 Father Serra dedicated Mission Santa Clara de Asis. 

Mission Life
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, mission lands were cultivated with corn, peas, beans and wheat. Thousands of acres were used as grazing land for cattle and sheep. Converted Native Americans (called neophytes) provided the labor to build adobe housing, The Alameda, and the San Francisco Presidio. In 1836 the mission was changed to a parish church and much of its land reverted to the public domain. 

Californios
California was governed by Spain until 1821 and Mexico until 1848. Descendants of early Spanish settlers born in California were called Californios. They spoke and maintained a Spanish culture. Many lived in adobe homes on large ranches and were noted for their horsemanship and hospitality. They enjoyed informal parties with neighbors called fandangos. Descendants of the Californios are still living in Santa Clara.
Last updated: 10/19/2009 4:27:20 PM