San Borja

1768 - 1818

Guadalupe del Norte

1834 - 1840

The Dominican mission of Guadalupe was founded by padre Félix Caballero in 1834 as a final location for the mission he operated first at san Miguel and then at el Descanso. Not only was this mission the final mission founded in Baja California, but also the final mission founded in all of the Californias, (Alta and Baja California). Mexico won his independence from Spain in 1821, but the former Spanish missions were allowed to continue to operate in California because of their remoteness from the mainland of Mexico and until the Indians converted to the ¨modern ways¨ of life. Only foundations remained of the short-lived mission that was raided by Indians led by chief Jatnil. Jatnil was once a friend of Padre Caballero, but became angry and destroyed the mission when Indians were force ably baptized and put to work for the mission.

Padre caballero escape to San Ignacio but died soon after under mysterious circumstances. Modern authors call this mission Nuestra  señora de Guadalupe del Norte to distinguish it from the Jesuit´s Guadalupe del Norte, mission in Baja California Sur which closed in 1795.

Information: Carlos Chávez, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. 


1766 - 1767


1775 - 1839

The site of Santo Domingo de la Frontera mission was originally discovered by Franciscans explorations in 1771. In 1775, Fathers Friars Manuel Garcia and Miguel Hidalgo established the mission.  The firs site of the mission was about 5 miles (8 kms) from the Pacific Ocean, north of Bahia de San Quintin. In 1793, the mission was relocated 2.5 (4 kms). further inland for improved water availability. As in the case of other missions, diseases caused the native population to drop and by 1821, the missions, no longer had a permanent priest. Extensive ruins that have been preserved by INAH, and access by a well graded dirt road make a visit to Santo Domingo rewarding. The mission is 5 miles from highway 1, near colonia Vicente Guerrero.

Information: Carlos Chavez, Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia.


1791 - 1849

To close the 100 kilometer gap between san Vicente and san Miguel missions, a new mission was established on April 24,1791 by Dominican padre Jose Loriente and called Santo Tomás de Aquino. the first site, while located next to a grove of oak trees and a running stream, had many mosquitoes, was close to steep for much of the day. In 1794, the mission was moved about a mile (1.5 km) east on a large gentile slope with plenty of sunlight and no mosquitoes, but far from water. A third and final move was made in in 1799of about 4 miles. (6.5 km) to the southeast where both more convenient.

Santo Tomás was the last mission to remain operating in Baja California. The last missionary closed the mission in 1849 and left in disgust when one of his neophytes   sold alter ornaments to a passing 49er a gold prospector bound for Alta California very little adobe survives at the first two sites and just a small wall is still standing need to me El Palomar campground the town of Santo Tomas. No preservation of protection has been done at the three historic locations of Santo Tomas due to the fact that the sites are on private property.

Information: Carlos Chavez, Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia.


1794 - 1824

In April of 1794, father Friar Jose Loriente, O.P. founded the first mountain mission in Baja California in order to incorporate the natives living far from the coast into the mission system.   The highest mountain range in Baja California is named after this mission. The first site for San Pedro Martin Mission was at a place called Casilepe by the natives and was nearly 7,000 feet (over 2,000 meters) above sea level. Less than for months passed and due to the extreme cold, the high location was changed for another, 7 miles (12kms.) away and 2,000 feet (600 meters) lower in elevation. The site never prospered and was closed by the Dominicans in 1806.

The missionaries moved the neophytes to their Santo Domingo Mission. San Pedro Martin in the only Mission in the state of Baja California not accessed by automobiles.  A two-day hike or horseback ride is required to see the foundation ruins.

Information: Carlos Chavez, Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia.


1797 - 1840

Santa Catalina virgin y Mártir was founded in November of 1797 by Dominican padre Jose Loriente  after years of planning and exploration to settle the high country between the pacific and the Colorado river. The mission seemed to serve more as fort complete with a lookout tower (atalaya) and was frequently attacked by natives seeking an end to the European occupation of their lands. However many natives joined the mission giving it a population of 600 in 1824, the highest number of neophyte of any of the Dominican founded missions. The mission was destroyer in 1840 by an attack of hostile Indians and never rebuilt.

Some historians consider Santa Catalina as the final Spanish mission in Baja California because México began its fight for independence in 1810. It is located on a hilltop overlooking a graveyard, 1 kilometer northeast of the paipai India village of Santa Catalina (note spelling difference from the mission).

Information: Carlos Chavez, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.


1767 - 1768

The misión of Santa Maria de los Ángeles is located at an oasis the cochimí Indians called cabujakaamung. The mission was moved here in May of 1767 when the fist site at Calamajué proved unfit because of bad water. Founded on May, 1767, by Jesuit father Victoriano Arnés, the mission was the shortest lived in California as the Jesuit were removed from their missions. In January, 1768 and soon taken back to Europe, the Franciscans, led by Junípero Serra, arrived several months later and built the adobe buildings we see ruins of today. In 1769, the Franciscans had developed their first California mission at san Fernando de Velicatá and found it so superior to Santa María that they reduced Santa María to visita status (a satellite sub-mission).

It’s very difficult to visit the sight due to the rough terrain. The site is under the administration by INAH.


Information: Carlos Chavez, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.

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