The California missions are a series of settlements established by Spanish Catholic Franciscans, to Christianize the local Native Americans, but with the added benefit of giving Spain a toehold in the frontier land. The missions introduced European livestock, fruits and vegetables and industry into the California region.
The 21 missions were established along California's El Camino Real (Royal Highway), much of which is now U. S. Highway 101. The mission planting was begun under the leadership of Father Junípero Serra in 1769, and concluded in 1823, although Serra had died in 1784. Father Fermín Francisco Lasuén took up Serra's work and established nine more from 1786 through 1798. Others established the last three.
In order, south to north
See also: Missionary, History of Christian Missions