PART 3: MISSION VISITAS
As are the missions themselves, many visitas are in danger
of being lost to careless acts or apathy such as these ruins at San Juan de Dios
destroyed by a farmer in 2008, 5 years after this photo was taken by Jack Swords
Baja California Mission Visitas
Visitas (also known as 'estancias') were visiting stations
of the 'cabecera' or primary mission. They had a church, inhabitants, and
operated the same as a mission, but without a resident priest.
mission was located at a source of water, often at an existing native
Indian village ('rancheria') and had a limit on the population it could
support. Visitas were located at other water sources and rancherias, where
additional food could be raised to support the entire mission territory.
The mission priest would visit these outposts and perform his duties, as
Long after the mission system ended, some locals (and
authors) believed many visita ruins were missions. Some Baja books still
name visitas as mission sites. For a complete listing and details of the
27 missions of Baja California founded from 1697 to 1834, see the Baja
mission web pages in the links, below.