This ethnohistory examines Indian life in the twenty-one missions Franciscans established in Alta California. In describing how the missions functioned between 1769 and 1848, the authors draw on previously unused sources to analyse change and continuity in Indian material culture and religious practices. The twin goals of Franciscans were to mould Indians into a work force that would produce surplus grain for military garrisons and to regulate their moral conduct and religious practices.
Robert Jackson is a professor of history at Texas Southern University.
Political economy of the Alta California missions -- Aspects of social and cultural change in the mission communities -- Demographic collapse in the Alta California missions -- Resistance and social control in the Alta California missions -- Mission secularization and the development of Alta California in the 1830s and 1840s -- Conclusions.