California Missions Overview
Spanish Missions were built all along the California coast between 1769 and 1823. The Spanish built the Missions in their conquest to convert the indigenous people of California to Christianity and as strongholds for their newly claimed territories. Twenty-one Spanish missions can be found along the 'King's Highway' in California, which is now Highway 101 on the Central Coast and Interstate 5 in Southern California. Spanish Missions are the oldest structures in California. Most of the California Missions are still active churches with museums and gift shops. All California Missions have suffered earthquake or fire damage but very few have been left in a damaged state.