L I F E S T Y L E Hidden Cabo A look back at the age of Jesuit mission building in Baja By Chris Sands • Photos by Joseph A. Tyson The La Paz mission church dates back to 1720. This photo was taken in May 1991. Although Hernan Cortés landed in La Paz in 1535, the first permanent settlement on the Baja Peninsula—then known simply as California—was not established until 1697. This delay of some 150 years was not for lack of trying. The Spanish wanted land support for their galleon trade, which was beset by attacks from English and Dutch pirates, and the pearl beds of La Paz exerted a powerful fascination for Spanish adventurers. Cortés and Sebastián Vizcaíno both attempted settlements in La Paz during the 16th century; each failed in less than a year due to food and water shortages, and unrelenting attacks from indigenous tribes. Similar problems afflicted another notable attempt at colonization: the 1683 expedition led by Admiral Isidro de 24 Los Cabos Magazine | Spring 2016 Atondo y Antillón. After initially landing at La Paz, which was by that time customary, the admiral quickly earned the enmity of the Guaycuras by having some 10 of their number shot, and he and his company of three ships were obliged to sail north. After finding a base with sufficient water and pasture land, and establishing good relations with the local Indians, the admiral and his men were responsible for several important California firsts: They founded the first mission, Misión San Bruno; made the first serious attempt at agriculture on the peninsula; and explored the interior in all directions (among those reaching the Pacific Ocean after an overland journey was the royal cosmographer, Eusebio Francisco Kino).
Los Cabos Magazine #43
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