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Essay on Padres and Indians

Decent Essays
One of the things which largely go unrecognized is how vital the missions were to the military in California in the 19th century. Since the military in California received little to no support during the Mexican revolution against Spain, and suffered more after Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821. In particular, Mission San Jose was expected to furnish food to the military presidios as a way of preventing famines. In fact this had been established in the 1770’s with the Reglamento,
It is also important to note that in Spanish California at this time, the dominant economic system was based on that of bartering. Pesos were far more an abstract economic factor for both the missionaries as well as the soldiers. Since pesos would
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But for the present the mission offers 200 pesos, the only ones it has and 300 fanegas of wheat for trade with the Russian ship if it enters, etc., all for the sole purpose of helping the troops.
This letter from Duran was in response to an earlier circular (a letter which was sent to all missions) from Fr. Sarría in which he stated:
You know the state of the nation and the misery an suffering of the monarchy on account of the war. I know it is not good to dispossess the neophytes but it is essential for the missions to contribute goods and other necessities for the maintenance of the troops and their families as we did last yeafr and which we must do again. It is our patriotic duty.
Duran’s response to Sarría is interesting on two levels. The first level is his mention of trade with the Russian ships. One of the primary roles for colonizing Alta California (and utilizing the evangelizing fervor of the Franciscan missionaries for this was to create a bulwark against foreign incursions, primarily of the Russians, though later the English and the Americans would enter into the mix. This was accomplished easily enough during the early days of the missions’ existence when they were struggling just to survive. In the beginning, the missions had nothing which the commercial interest (which was the driving force of an empire) would be interested in, since at that time the missions were barely producing enough to support themselves, let alone produce surplus for sale. This
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