Camino Real
One of several highways throughout Spain and its colonies but specifically the road ("king's road") the Spaniards built along the length of California that linked the missions established by Father Serra.

A Roman Catholic order of friars, whose members are known as missionaries and educators.

Medicine man
A highly regarded leader among some Native American peoples.

Mission system
A system of contained and supposedly self-sufficient communities, developed by Spain throughout California and the Southwest and designed to further the "mission" of converting people to Christianity.

Forts housing military troops.

In the 18th century, what is now California was populated mostly by Native Americans. Late in the century, Franciscan missions sponsored by Spain and the Roman Catholic church played an important role in establishing European settlement in the region. The Spaniards, who had already colonized parts of Mexico to the south, wanted to protect those colonies and extend their influence northward. The Roman Catholic church wanted to convert Native Americans to Christianity. The mission system supported both goals. The first Franciscan mission in California (Mission San Diego de Alcalá) was established by Father Junípero Serra in what in now San Diego. Fifty-four years later in 1823, the Franciscans founded their last of 21 missions at San Francisco Solano. Each mission had an armed presidio to protect it. Each sought to teach the Native Americans both Christianity and European farming methods. Many of the mission churches remain today as living examples of history.

The following topics will help you explore the California missions, their history, and their impact on both Europeans and Native Americans. Looking at the articles, images, and other materials in this Research Starter may give you more ideas. Each topic has one or more articles to start you on your research, but remember that it takes more than one article to make a research paper. Continue your research with our list of articles below.

The life and work of Father Junípero Serra.
Serra, Junípero

Architecture of the Spanish missions.
Christian Missions
Spanish missions (in U.S. history)

Effects of the missions on Native American populations and culture.
Spanish missions (in U.S. history)

Daily life at a California mission.
Christian Missions

Spanish exploration and influence in the region during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Camino Real.
Camino Real

Camino Real
Christian Missions
Los Angeles
San Diego
San Juan Capistrano
San Luis Obispo
Serra, Junípero
Spanish missions (in U.S. history)

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Franciscan Web Page
The Franciscan Web Page provides comprehensive information about the order, its history and current activities, colleges and universities, a tour of Assisi, and other interesting information.

Arizona Guide
The official Web site of the Arizona Office of Tourism provides information on topics ranging from city weather reports to Arizona's deserts, trails, mountains, and waterways.

The Five Spanish Missions of San Antonio
Descriptions and very good photographs of the five Spanish missions in San Antonio, Texas, including San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo.

San Antonio Missions National Historic Park
The National Park Service provides very good information, history, and illustrations of the individual missions as well as information about visiting the park.

NAA: Hotlinks to Newspapers Online
Newspaper Association of America offers a gateway to news media Web sites, including U.S. dailies (searchable by state), Canadian newspapers, selected international press, weeklies, agencies and associations, business papers, and alternative press.

Vote Smart Web
The interactive map of the United States leads to detailed information on each state's elected officials, politics, and elections. Includes local voter registration information. Check "Issue Links" for political and social sources on the Web.

California Maps
Part of the Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin, these pages present maps of California and several cities within the state. Topographical, geological, historical, and other maps are included.

California Division of Tourism
Home page of the California Division of Tourism offers guidelines to visitors, including maps, weather information, and a searchable database.

State and Local Government on the Net: California
Connections to official state, county, city government pages.

California State Home Page
Official home page of the state of California provides useful links to a host of related sites, including California government Internet servers; a guide to official agencies and laws; and historical, cultural, and economic information.

Tools for Teaching at Links to the Past
Site maintained by the National Parks Service offers a wealth of information for teachers interested in archaeology, ethnography, history, and more. Includes lesson plans, chronologies, and guides to classroom resources and programs. Grades 1–12 and up.

U.S. Gazetteer
The U.S. Gazetteer is the search engine for the U.S. Census Bureau database. Enter the name of a town or county and the search results will yield census information and access to the Tiger Map Server.

National League of Cities
Page describes activities of the organization, the municipal leagues that it sponsors, and provides connections to a wide variety of city, state, federal government, public policy, and political resources on the Internet.

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