It’s been a while since the last SoCal Mission Quest. Two years to be exact; and, there’s no better place to kick it all off-again than the one that started it all: Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first of the California Missions to be founded in New Spain (1769).
This particular Mission boasts a significant number of firsts in California: the First Church, the introduction of Catholicism to the West, the first mass, the first Christian burial, California’s first public execution, and the first Christian Martyr: Father Jaymae.
The original Mission was built atop a hill with the Presidio overlooking El Pueblo de San Diego. However, this location was not capable of sustaining crops or people, so the Mission moved to its current six miles to the East and closer to the Diegeño people.
The locals didn’t appreciate this, or the attempts of the Spanish Friars to impose Catholicism and rigid authority onto their people. On November 4th, 1775, eight hundred Diegeño attacked the mission and burned it to the ground. During the attack, they killed Father Jayme, who was later buried under the altar when the Spanish rebuilt the Mission.