Resource Page Baja California

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1697 to 1848
Location: [unknown]
Surname/tag: US Southern Colonies Spanish Nueva España
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Categories: México | Baja California | Baja California Sur.

See Wild Wild West and Westward Ho Projects to develop profiles covering the years 1800-1925

Mary Richardson, Michael Stills, Allan Thomas are the leaders of this sub-project and Judy Wardlow on a more limited basis at this time. If you have any questions, or would like to see something specific addressed on this colony please consult with them.

Overall project leaders are Paula Johnson, Mags, and Nae X.

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1539 Francisco de Ulloa reconnoitered its east coast on the Gulf of California and explored the peninsula's west coast at least as far north as Cedros Island.

1540 Hernando de Alarcón returned to the east coast and ascended the lower Colorado River

1542 Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, João Rodrigues Cabrilho (Portuguese)) completed the reconnaissance of the west coast in 1542.

1602 Sebastián Vizcaíno again surveyed the west coast in 1602, but outside visitors during the following century were few.

1697 The Jesuits founded a permanent mission colony on the peninsula at Loreto. During the following decades, they gradually extended their sway throughout the present state of Baja California Sur. Loreto is located on Baja California Sur's east coast and is considered one of the state's oldest settlements. Founded in 1697 by Father Juan Maria Salvatierra The town served as the capital of the province of Las Californias from its founding until the capital was moved to Monterey on February 3, 1777

1751–1753, the Croatian Jesuit mission-explorer Ferdinand Konščak made overland explorations northward into the state of Baja California. Jesuit missions were subsequently established among the Cochimí at Santa Gertrudis (1752), San Borja (1762), and Santa María (1767).

1768 Expulsion of the Jesuits In 1768, the short-lived Franciscan administration (1768–1773) resulted in one new mission at San Fernando Velicatá.

1769 The expedition to settle Alta California under Gaspar de Portolà and Junípero Serra resulted in the first overland exploration of the northwestern portion of the state.The expedition departed from Loreto on March 24, 1769

1769, The Franciscans were ordered to turn over the Baja missions to the Dominican order and accompany the expedition of Gaspar de Portola to establish new missions in the unexplored northern frontier that became Alta California.

1773 The Dominicans took over management of the Baja California missions from the Franciscans They established a chain of new missions among the northern Cochimí and western Yumans, first on the coast and subsequently inland, extending from El Rosario (1774) to Descanso (1817), just south of Tijuan.

1848: Alta California is annexed by the United States.

1853: Soldier of fortune William Walker captures La Paz, declaring himself President of the Republic of Lower California. The Mexican government forces his retreat after several months.

1884: Luis Huller and George H. Sisson obtain a concession covering much of the present state, in return for promises to develop the area.[12]

1905: The Magonista revolution, an anarchist movement based on the writings of Ricardo Flores Magón and Enrique Flores Magón, begins.

1911: Mexicali and Tijuana are captured by the Mexican Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Mexicano, PLM), but soon surrender to Federal forces.

1917: On 11 December, "[a] prominent Mexican, close friend of President Carranza" offered to U. S. Senator Henry Ashurst to sell Baja California to the U. S. for "fifty million dollars gold.”

1930: Baja California is further divided into Northern and Southern territories.The capital was moved to La Paz after Loreto was partially destroyed by heavy rains.

In 1833, after Baja California was designated as a federal territory, the governor formally put an end to the mission system by converting the missions into parish churches.

Colony Origin/History

The Spanish Missions in Baja California comprise a series of religious outposts established by Catholic religious orders, the Jesuits, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, between 1683 and 1834 to spread the Christian doctrine among the local natives. The missions gave Spain a valuable toehold in the frontier land, and introduced European livestock, fruits, vegetables, and industry into the regions. The "Father-Presidente" was head of the Catholic missions in Alta and Baja California. He was appointed by the apostolic college in Mexico City until 1812, when the position became known as the "Commissary Prefect" who was appointed by the Commissary General of the Indies (a Franciscan residing in Spain). Beginning in 1831, separate individuals were elected to oversee Upper and Lower California.

In addition to the presidio (royal fort) and pueblo (town), the missión was one of three major agencies employed by the Spanish crown to extend its borders and consolidate its colonial territories. Asistencias ("sub-missions" or "contributing chapels") were small-scale missions that regularly conducted Catholic religious services on days of obligation, but lacked a resident priest. Smaller sites called visitas ("visiting chapels") also lacked a resident priest, and were often attended only sporadically. Since 1493, the Crown of Spain had maintained missions throughout Nueva España. [1] The mission system came to an end around 1830 and the politically connected were issued large land grants, also known as the Ranchos of California

Government Structure

Original Structure

Evolution of Government Structure

Mexico states evolution

  • Spanish Crown
  • Laws issued by Spanish Crown: Burgos
  • Laws for Prevention of mistreatment indigenous Peoples
  • Royal Audencia- Viceroyalty of New Spain
  • Guide for establishment of presidios, missions, pueblos
  • Monarchical regime, Iturbe, emperor
  • Constitution of Mexico
  • Republic - United Mexican States
  • General Santa Anna overthrew Iturbe, revoked Constitution, invaded Texas
  • Mission power ended

1512 The Laws of Burgos, signed by King Ferdinand II of Aragon, focused upon the welfare of the conquered native peoples

1542 Leyes Nuevas, issued November 20, 1542 by King Charles I of Spain regarding the Spanish colonization of the Americas, are also known as the "New Laws of the Indies for the Good Treatment and Preservation of the Indians", and were created to prevent the exploitation of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas by the Encomenderos (large enterprise landowners) by strictly limiting their power and dominion.

1548 Royal Audiencia of Guadalajarawas the highest tribunal of the Spanish crown in what is today northern Mexico and the southwestern United States in the Viceroyalty of New Spain. It was created by royal decree on February 13, 1548, and was originally located in Compostela and permanently seated in Guadalajara in 1560. Its president was the chief political and executive officer of the district, subordinated only to the viceroy of Mexico

1573 The Laws of the Indies were an attempt to guide and regularize the establishment of presidios (military towns), missions, and pueblos (civilian towns), King Phillip II developed the first version of the Laws of the Indies.

1776 Provincias Internasor Commandancy General of the Internal Provinces of the North was a colonial, administrative district of the Spanish Empire, created to provide more autonomy for the frontier provinces in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, present day northern Mexico and southwestern United States. The goal of its creation was to establish a unified government in political, military and fiscal affairs.

1821-1823 The Mexican Empire (Imperio Mexicano) was the official name of independent Mexico under a monarchical regime, Agustín de Iturbide, was proclaimed emperor of Mexico.

1824 Constitution of Mexico The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1824 (Spanish: Constitución Federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos de 1824) was enacted on October 4 of 1824, after the overthrow of the Mexican Empire of Agustin de Iturbide. In the new constitution, the republic took the name of United Mexican States, and was defined as a representative federal republic, with Catholicism as the official and unique religion

1835 President Santa Anna revoked the Constitution of 1824. In October 1835, Santa Anna abolished all state governments.

Since 1493, the Crown of Spain had maintained missions throughout Nueva España. [2] The mission system came to an end around 1830 and the politically connected were issued large land grants, also known as the Ranchos of California


Migrating From the Northern Colonies


Native Americans

In the south of Baja California were the Cochimí. In the north were several groups belonging to the Yuman language family, including the Kiliwa, Paipai, Kumeyaay, Cocopa, and Quechan. These peoples were diverse in their adaptations to the region. Cochimí of the peninsula's Central Desert were generalized hunter-gatherers, nomadic; however, the Cochimí on Cedros Island off the west coast had developed a strongly maritime economy. [3]

By 1767, epidemics of measles, plague, smallpox, typhus, and venereal diseases had decimated the native population. Out of an initial population of as many as 50,000 indigenous peoples, only some 5,000 are thought to have survived.[4]

Indentured Servants


Economic Resources and Information

NOTE: Relevant to the individual colony

Conflicts Within The Colony

NOTE: From the establishment of the colony until the inclusion in the USA.

Research Resources

WikiTree Resources

Nueva Espana Some of Provinces of Nueva Espana and later Mexico

  • Resource Page Baja California

Existing Categories
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Surname/Family Pages


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Free Resources

Baja California Sur, Mexico Online Genealogy Resources

Paid Resource Sites

Mexican Genealogy Research Online: A Guide to Help You Discover Your Ancestry

Find Your Mexican Ancestors in the Worlds Newspapers Using Eliphind

Photos and Images

Sources for this Page

  2. [1]
  3. [2]

Images: 2
Baja California Image 1
Baja California Image 1

1757 Mapa de la California su Golfo, y Provincias
1757 Mapa de la California su Golfo, y Provincias

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On 8 Dec 2014 at 21:08 GMT Paula J wrote:


December 8, 2014