Mission San Juan Capistrano (2)

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Mission San Juan Capistrano (2) (1776-1833) - A Spanish mission established in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra in present day San Juan Capistrano, Orange County, California. Associated with the Presidio of San Diego Named for Giovanni da Capistrano, Saint John of Capistrano, a "warrior priest". Secularized in 1833. Returned to the Church in 1865.

Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica Alter
Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica Baptismal
Mission San Juan Capistrano Ruins of the Great Stone Church

The Spanish Period (1769-1821)

The Spanish period began in California with the building of Mission San Diego de Alcala, and the Presidio of San Diego in 1769. The Spanish Presidio provided a support system for the attached missions that included military troops. The mission provided provided a complete community for the converted native peoples that included agriculture and industry activities as well as religious instruction and services. Typically a very limited military presence was maintained at the missions and the presidio acted as the garrison for the surrounding missions. The Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded on 1 Nov 1776, by Father Junipero Serra, as the 7th of twenty-one Spanish missions founded in California. An earlier attempt by Father Fermin Lasuen to found the mission on 30 Oct 1775 was aborted when a revolt in San Diego forced him to return to San Diego. An severe earthquake in 1812 caused significant damage to the mission and collapsed the great stone church.

Mexican Period (1822-1846)

Mission San Juan Capistrano Mission Bells

The Mexican period began with the end of the Mexican Revolution around 1820. Mexican troops occupied the presidios and Mexican governors ran the province of Alta California. The Mexican government began the process of secularization (turning church lands over to private interests) around 1831 and passed laws in 1833 mandating secularization of all missions in Mexico. Secularization gradually ended church ownership of community property. Most of the missions and presidios were abandoned and fell into disrepair as the lands were redistributed to private owners.. Mission San Juan Capistrano was secularized in 1834 and the lands were divided up and sold to twenty prominent families. In 1845 the mission itself was sold to Governor Pico's brother-in-law for a mere $710.

The American Period (1846-Present)

The Mexican War was declared by the U.S. Congress on 11 May 1846 in response to a Mexican attack on U.S. troops in Texas. The declaration of war opened the door for American occupation of California. The American period began when American forces occupied San Diego in 1846. With end of the war, Mexico ceded all of upper California to the Americans in 1848 and a new round of land redistribution began.

On 19 Feb 1853, Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany filed a claim on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church for the return of all former mission lands in the State of California. Ownership of 1,051 acres (for all practical intents being the exact area of land occupied by the original mission buildings, cemeteries, and gardens) was transferred back to the Catholic Church by land patents and proclamations signed by U.S. Presidents between 1855 and 1874. The core mission property was returned to the Catholic Church in 1865 by President Abraham Lincoln.

Current Status

Restored mission and archeological remains in San Juan Capistrano, Orange County, California.

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 1765964

Location: 26801 Ortega Hwy, San Juan Capistrano, Orange County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 33.5028043 Long: -117.6625509

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 125'



Visited: 8 Jan 2013

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