Mission Nuestra Señora de la SoledadEdit profile
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is in the Salinas Valley near Soledad, in central Monterey County, California. The mission was founded on October 9, 1791 for the increasing settlement of upper Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and for the Indian Reductions to convert the Native Americans living in the area. It was the thirteenth of the Spanish missions founded by the Franciscan Order.
The remains of Arlington Springs Man on Santa Rosa Island are among the traces of a ancient habitation in California, dated to the last ice age, Wisconsin glaciation about 13,000 years ago. The first humans are therefore thought to have made their homes among the southern valleys of California's coastal mountain ranges some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, with the earliest of these people known only from archaeological evidence. The cultural impacts resulting from climactic changes and other natural events during this broad expanse of time were negligible; conversely, European contact was a momentous event, which profoundly affected California's native peoples.
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, La Misión de María Santísima, Nuestra Señora Dolorosísima de la Soledad, was founded October 9, 1791 by Fermín Francisco de Lasuí©n, the 13th of 21 missions in the California mission chain. The Chalon, a subgroup of the Ohlone and arguably the original residents of the Salinas Valley, were converted and brought to work and live here, followed by Esselen and Yokut people. By 1803, there were 627 Mission Indians at Mission Soledad. At the Mission many Chalon married local Esselen speakers, while others married Yokuts who were brought into the mission between 1806 and 1834. The mission's herds numbered 1,150 cattle, about 5,000 sheep, 30 swine, 670 horses and 40 mules. Spanish Governor Josí© Joaquín de Arrillaga was buried in the chapel after he died on July 24, 1814 during a visit to the Mission.
Decline and secularization
Though prosperous in its early years, the Mission declined after 1825. Nevertheless, Father Vicente Francisco de Soledad stayed on in poverty to serve the Indians until his death in 1835, when the Mexican Government discontinued the mission during the period of secularization in Alta California. This was an attempt by the Mexican Government to turn the California missions over to the Indians on whose lands the missions had been established, to reward political allies, and to raise money for the territory's defense. After secularization, the Mission Indian survivors dispersed. Most went to work on the farms and ranches of west-central California, while many with Yokuts ancestry moved east into the San Joaquin Valley. The Mission lands were subsequently "regranted" to the Bishop of Monterey and church in 1859. For over a century after secularization the adobe Mission sat crumbling in the wind and rain.
Restoraton and reconstruction
In 1954, when the Mission Soledad restoration was begun, only piles of adobe dirt and a few wall sections from the cuadrángulo (quadrangle) remained. The chapel was reconstructed and dedicated under the auspices of the Native Daughters of the Golden West on October 9, 1955. The ruins of the quadrangle, cemetery, and some of the outer rooms, while not restored can still be seen. Governor Arrillaga's grave was identified and given a new marker. The Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is now a functioning Catholic chapel and public museum.