California Mission Timeline

The California Mission Period

The California “mission period” lasted from 1769 to the mid 1800s. The table below shows significant events in the history of the missions, as well as major historical events that occurred during the period.


Click the column headings to sort the table. Click the mission names to read about the missions.

Year Mission
Event
1767
King Carlos III of Spain expels the Jesuits from Spanish lands; the California missions (unlike earlier missions in other states) will be founded by the Franciscans
1769 San Diego de Alcalá
Mission founded
1770 San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
Mission founded
1771 San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
California mission headquarters moved to Carmel (through 1815)
1771 San Antonio de Padua
Mission founded
1771 San Gabriel Arcángel
Mission founded
1772 San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
Mission founded
1773 San Antonio de Padua
The first recorded marriage in California , between Margarita de Cortona (an Indian woman) and Juan María Ruiz (a Spanish soldier).
1774 San Diego de Alcalá Mission relocated about 5 miles from its original site, to free the padres from the ‘unsavory’ influence of the soldiers at the Presidio.
1776 San Diego de Alcalá Indian uprising at the mission.
1776 San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores)
Mission founded
1776 13 American colonies declare independence from Great Britain.
1776 San Juan Capistrano
Mission founded
1777 Santa Clara de Asís
Mission founded
1782 San Buenaventura
Mission founded
1782 Santa Barbara El Presidio Real de Santa Bárbara is founded
1783 American Revolutionary War ends; United States granted independence under the Treaty of Paris.
1786 Santa Barbara
Mission founded
1787 La Purísima Concepción
Mission founded
1787 San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Santa Margarita de Cortona Asistencia founded as a sub-mission.
1791 Santa Cruz
Mission founded
1791 Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
Mission founded
1793 Mission Nuestra Señora del Refugio The last Spanish mission to be built in the state of Texas is founded.
1797 San José
Mission founded
1797 San Juan Bautista
Mission founded
1797 San Miguel Arcángel
Mission founded
1797 San Fernando Rey de España
Mission founded
1798 San Luis Rey de Francia
Mission founded
1804 Santa Inés
Mission founded
1806 San Juan Capistrano
The Great Stone Church, a magnificent cathedral, is completed. The cathedral is destined to stand just six years before being destroyed in an earthquake.
1810 Mexican War of Independence begins.
1812 San Juan Capistrano
The Great Stone Church, constructed in 1806, is destroyed in an earthquake; 40 people are killed.
1812 Russian settlement established at Fort Ross.
1815 La Purísima Concepción
California mission headquarters moved to La Purísima Concepción (through 1819)
1816 San Luis Rey de Francia
San Antonio de Pala Asistencia founded as a sub-mission.
1817 San Rafael Arcángel
Mission founded
1818 San Diego de Alcalá Santa Ysabel Asistencia founded as a sub-mission.
1818 San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo The Monterey Presidio and the town of Monterey are attacked by French pirate Hipólito Bouchard.
1818 Santa Cruz Mission raided and looted.
1819 San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
California mission headquarters moved to Carmel (through 1824)
1821 Mexican independence from Spain granted under the terms of the Plan of Iguala.
1823 San Francisco de Solano
Mission founded. This is the final California Mission, and the only mission founded after Mexico’s independence from Spain.
1823 San Luis Rey de Francia Las Flores Asistencia founded as a sub-mission.
1824 San José
California mission headquarters moved to San José (through 1827)
1824 La Purísima Concepción Indian revolt, suppressed by soldiers from the Monterey Presidio.
1827 San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo California mission headquarters moved to Carmel (through 1830)
1830 San Gabriel Arcángel San Bernardino Asistencia founded as a sub-mission.
1830 San José California mission headquarters moved to San José (through 1833)
1833 Santa Barbara California mission headquarters moved to Santa Barbara (through 1846)
1834 Missions secularized by the Mexican government.
1839 Sutter’s Fort established in Sacramento.
1841 Russian Settlement at Fort Ross officially disbanded; the land is sold to John Sutter, whose subsequent discovery of gold in Sacramento triggered the California gold rush.
1846 California Bear Flag Revolt against Mexican rule.
1848 San Rafael Arcángel Mission occupied by General John C. Fremont during the California Bear Flag Revolt.
1848 John Sutter discovers gold, triggering the California gold rush.
1850 California becomes the 31st US state.
1851 Santa Clara de Asís Control of the mission transferred to the Jesuits, to form the nucleus of a Santa Clara University (which continues to operate today).
1893 San Luis Rey de Francia Franciscan novitiate established at the mission; it later became San Luis Rey College.