American Indians •  American West and History

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Indians, Franciscans, and Spanish Colonization: The Impact of the Mission System on California Indians

Robert Jackson
Edward Castillo

This ethnohistory examines Indian life in the twenty-one missions Franciscans established in Alta California. In describing how the missions functioned between 1769 and 1848, the authors draw on previously unused sources to analyze change and continuity in Indian material culture and religious practices.

The twin goals of Franciscans were to mold Indians into a work force that would produce surplus grain for military garrisons and to regulate their moral conduct and religious practices. The authors use production records to show the missions were quite effective in serving the economic goals. Also carefully assessed are the efforts to transform the culture and world view of Indians by delineating how they coped, their history of disease and death, and their efforts at resistance.


Robert H. Jackson, an independent historian, resides in Spring, Texas. He is widely published in the history of colonial Latin America and the borderlands.


"The book is a valuable ethnohistory and it offers important primary source materials for teaching and research."


Journal of American History

6 x 9 in. 224 pages 16 halftones, 12 tables