Mission Santa Cruz

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Mission Santa Cruz (1791-1834) - A Spanish mission established in 1791 by Father Fermin Lasuen in present day Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, California. Associated with the Presidio of San Francisco. Named for the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Secularized in 1834.

Mission Santa Cruz Interior
Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park Entrance
Mission Santa Cruz

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 Santa Cruz was founded on 28 Aug 1791, by Father Fermin Lasuen, as the 12th of twenty-one Spanish missions founded in California.

Mexican Period (1822-1846)

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 Santa Cruz was secularized in 1834.

The American Period (1846-Present)

Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park Interior

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. Mission Santa Cruz was returned to the Catholic Church in 1859 with a land patent signed by President James Buchanan.

Current Status

Mission Santa Cruz Marker

A modern half-scale Santa Cruz Mission Chapel outside the park and a reconstructed part of an original adobe mission building inside the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, California. Map point is the half-scale replica of the mission chapel.

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 1872916

Location: 144 School Street, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 36.978117 Long: -122.0294



Visited: 23 Nov 2012

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