The Spanish Missions of Baja California, Part 1: The Jesuit Missions
Santa Maria de los Angeles: the northern-most Jesuit
founded mission in California. Photography by Jack Swords (copyright)
Photographs at each mission site taken between 1998 and
2008. Older photos (if available) will appear after recent photos in order
to compare. A brief description of each mission follows the photographs.
Unless otherwise noted, photographs are from Jack Swords and protected by
copyright. Each mission will have its official name followed by the years
it was in operation. GPS map datum set at WGS84.
A mission was much
more than a church building, it was an organization, an outpost in the
wilderness, and a center of 'civilization'. The Jesuit missions were
funded by donations of wealthy Europeans. The Spanish government wished to
colonize California before the Russians or English did and the mission
system was the method used to convert the native population. Instead, the
diseases brought to California killed off the natives.
mission itself, there usually were several 'visitas' (mission visiting
stations) for each mission where a chapel was built and the priest would
visit and hold services. Some visitas were very large and their churches
and functions resemebled missions. A true mission was funded by an
endowment, and historic records are clear that there were 17 Jesuit
missions established and operated in California (today's Baja California).
The list below includes some missions that changed their full name
because of a relocation (#7, #9 and #17) thus each has a dual listing.
Also, #13 (Santa Rosa at Todos Santos) was absorbed by the mission of
Pilar de la Paz when Pilar de la Paz moved to Todos Santos.
1683, Jesuits with Spanish soldiers first tried to colonize California.
They first landed at La Paz Bay, but were soon forced north and tried
again at San Bruno, just north of Loreto. The effort failed after two
years and some ruins of the San Bruno fort are still visible.
Jesuits built roads to connect their missons and visitas. Many are easily
seen today and make interesting hiking or mule riding adventures. The
primary mission road in California is known as EL CAMINO REAL (The King's
Highway). See link to El Camino Real on last page.
The Oldest Spanish Ruins in Baja
The ruins of the failed mission and fort at San Bruno,
1683-1685. Located about 15 miles north of Loreto, near the coast. Photo by
Edward Vernon. GPS: 26°13'57.5" 111°23'53.9"
Map of Northern Jesuit California Missions
Map of Southern Jesuit California Missions
The 17 Jesuit Missions
1) Nuestra Señora de Loreto Concho 1697-1829
San Francisco Javier de Biaundo 1699-1817 (moved 5 miles south in
3) San Juan Bautista de Ligui/ Malibat 1705-1721
Santa Rosalia de Mulege 1705-1828
5) San Jose de Comondu 1708-1827
(moved 22 miles south in 1736)
6) La Purisima Concepcion de
Cadegomo 1720-1822 (moved 10 miles south in 1735)
Señora del Pilar de la Paz Airapi 1720-1748 (moved to Todos Santos in
7b) Nuestra Señora del Pilar de la Paz (Todos Santos)
8) Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Huasinapi
9a) Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Apate 1721-1741 (moved
to La Pasion in 1741)
9b) Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Chilla (La
10) Santiago el Apostal Aiñini 1724-1795 (moved 2
miles south in 1734)
11) Nuestro Señor San Ignacio Kadakaaman
12) San Jose del Cabo Añuiti 1730-1840 (moved 5 miles
north, then back, then 1 mile north)
13) Santa Rosa de las Palmas
(Todos Santos) 1733-1748 (absorbed by moved La Paz mission in
14) San Luis Gonzaga Chiriyaqui 1737-1768
16) San Francisco de Borja Adac
17a) Calamajue 1766-1767 (moved 30 miles north in
17b) Santa Maria de los Angeles 1767-1769
Baja California Jesuit Mission Photo Pages: Jump to a mission or click
on 'next page' at bottom.