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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.


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