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Archaeology
of a
San Francisco Neighborhood

This Web site was funded by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

It was created by Anthropological Studies Center (ASC).

The Neighborhood Through Time

Mission Delores and Yueba Buena


In 1776 Mexican settlers under Lt. José Joaquín Moraga arrived from Monterey to found the Mission San Francisco de Asís (also known as Mission Delores) near Chutchui, as well as the Presidio near the Golden Gate to the northwest. A small pueblo or village called Yerba Buena was also formed on Yerba Buena Cove in the heart of what became San Francisco. The Spanish authorities that ruled Mexico at that time had decided that these settlements were necessary to secure Spain’s claim to the area of Alta California north of San Francisco Bay.

The founding of Mission San Francisco and the missions built to the north of San Francisco Bay, had a devastating effect on Native Americans. During the period from 1776 to 1833, nearly all of the surviving native people in the Bay area were drawn into or compelled to enter the missions. Intended by the Spanish to 'civilize' the Native Americans and convert them to Catholicism, the result of the missions was a loss of traditional knowledge and the separation of families and social groups.

Disease took an heavy toll on Native Americans living in the missions. Mission San Francisco's population was particularly hard hit. The mortality rate at the mission was nearly seventy five percent of its population. By the time the missions were secularized or disbanded in 1833, there were only 204 remaining native converts living near Mission Bay. Once the missions were secularized, surviving Native Americans were forced to relocate. Many worked as laborers on surrounding ranches.

 

 


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