Mission Santa Clara de
Asis was founded on
January 12, 1777 by Father Junipero Serra, Presidente of the
California Missions Chain. It was the 8th mission in the 21 mission
chain in Alta California. It was named for Saint Clare of Assisi,
founder of the order "Poor Clares". Santa Clara was the first mission
to be named after a woman. The mission had a very slow start. Lt.
Moraga, Father Tomas de la Pena, some mission Indians, and soldiers
with their families came to start the mission. With so few people to
help, the walls went up slowly. The mission is a day's journey from
Mission San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores) and was established
to help protect the San Fransico Bay area. The church is 100 feet
long, 44 feet wide and 25 feet high.
The local Indians were
friendly and hungry.
By 1800, there were 1,247 Indians living at the mission. They were
learning trades like weaving, farming, leather tanning, and tool
making. One of the reasons that the Indians liked the mission was
Father Jose Viader. He was kind and forgiving and taught the Indians
mission music. He developed an Indian choir which was well known
throughout the mission chain.
The economy at Mission
Santa Clara de Asis
was similar to the other missions in that they planted crops of wheat
and corn. They also planted vineyards, and raised cattle and sheep.
The agriculture was needed not only to maintain the mission community
and the nearby Indians, but was used for trade and served to visitors
to the mission. The Indians learned the trades well. Crops and
orchards of fruit grew well and olive trees grew well. Their wheat
crop was among the best at any mission. They also had thousands of
livestock roaming the mission lands.
There was tension between
the people of
Mission Santa Clara de Asis and those in nearby Pueblo San Jose. They
disputed ownership rights of land and water. The tension was relieved
when a road was built by 200 Indians to link the communities
together. On Sundays, people from San Jose would come to the mission
After Mexico won its
Spain, it found that it could no longer afford to keep the missions
running as Spain had done. In 1834, Mexico decided to end the mission
system and sell all of the lands. They offered the lands to the
Indians who did not want the lands or could not come up with the
purchase price. The lands were divided into smaller Ranchos and sold
to Mexican citizens who were helpful during the war for independence.
After nearly 30 years, the missions were returned to the Catholic
Church. Although some of the missions had already been returned to
the church, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act
declaring that all of the 21 missions in the California mission chain
would become the property of the Catholic Church and have remained so
since that time.
In 1850, California
became a state and the
Jesuit order of priests took over the Mission Santa Clara de Asis.
Father John Nobili was put in charge of the mission. He began a
college on the mission site, this school grew into the Santa Clara
University. It is the only mission to become part of a university. It
is also the oldest university in California. Throughout the history
of the mission, the bells have rung faithfully every evening. This
was a promise made to King Charles IV of Spain when he sent the
original bells to the mission in 1777. He asked that the bells be
rung each evening at 8:30 in memory of those who had died.
Mission Santa Clara de
Asis sits on the
campus of the Santa Clara University. It is used as a church for the
university and the community. It is open to visitors and has a museum
on the campus.
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2. Mission Santa Clara de Asis was founded....?
3. Who was Mission Santa Clara de Asis named after?
Saint Clare of
4. Mission Santa Clara de Asis is know as...?
the best wheat crop in all of
able to keep a promise
5. Who did the actual building of the missions?
6. What happened to the missions in 1834?
Indians took over
7. Santa Clara de Asis is the only mission...?
been completely rebuilt
part of a university
8. What did Father
Jose Viader do
for the Indians at the mission?
them into slavery
them poorly and made them
work for food
music and created an Indian
them a college education
9. What happened in 1850?
mission was closed
San Jose took over the
university was started at the
10. What did Abraham Lincoln agree to in 1863?
return the Mission lands to
President of the United
the San Antonio de Padua
the Indians to leave the
Spanish Missions of California
Missions Interactive Homepage
This project written by Rob
partial fulfilment of
of Arts Degree
from Cal Poly
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