I went to this mission on my tour of the Southern States of America with my Uncle Dave in 2012. It is one of my favourite missions & is well worth a visit if you are ever in Orange County, California.
Mission San Juan Capistrano.
I had been to the Mission San Juan Capistrano when I was a teenager with my mum & dad & I love the gardens here & the bells in the walls. The story of the Swallows of Capistrano is also very interesting, they are said to return every year on March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day. The story of the swallows even had a song written about it 'When the swallows come back to Capistrano' which charted for several people including Pat Boone, The Ink Spots & The Glenn Miller Orchestra.
History of the Mission San Juan Capistrano.
The mission was first founded by Father Lasuen, on October 30th 1775.
Mission San Juan Capistrano became the seventh of twenty-one missions founded in Alta California. Like the previous six missions, San Juan Capistrano was established to expand the territorial boundaries of Spain & to spread Christianity to the Native peoples of California. By 1806, Mission San Juan Capistrano had a population of over 1,000 people, over 10,000 head of cattle. After 1812 the Mission began to decline.
By 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain, which made Alta California a territory of Mexico. By 1834, the Mexican government decided to end the mission system entirely. Soon after the decree of secularisation, or the ending of the missions, the landholdings of Mission San Juan Capistrano were divided and sold to 20 prominent California families. By 1845, Governor Pio Pico even sold the Mission itself. The Mission was sold at auction to John Forster, Governor Pio Pico’s brother-in-law for $710, it was valued to be worth more than $54,000. For the next 20 years, the Mission was a private ranch property of the Forster family.
Mission San Juan Capistrano, like California, saw yet another government take over California when the United States won the Mexican American War in 1848. As part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, California & other western territories were ceded to the United States.
President Abraham Lincoln gave back the Missions to the Catholic Church. The Mission continues its efforts in preservation, with the help of donations each year. Although the Mission is owned by the Catholic Church, it is now run by a non-profit organisation.