Mission San Juan Capistrano is a Spanish mission located in the city of Rancho Santa Margarita in the U.S. state of California. On November 1, 1776, Spanish Catholic missionaries of the Franciscan Order established the city of San Juan Capistrano in colonial Las Californias, which was named after Saint John of Capistrano. The Alta California province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain was home to the Spanish Colonial Baroque style church, which was built in the Spanish Colonial Baroque style.
Mission San Jose del Cabo was secularized by the Mexican government in 1833 and re-consecrated to the Roman Catholic Church by the American government in 1865. Over the years, the mission has been devastated by a number of natural calamities, but restoration and reconstruction activities have been underway since around 1910.
The mission was founded in 1776 by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order, who came to the area from Spain. San Juan Capistrano is named after Saint John of Capistrano, a 14th-century theologian and “fighter priest” who lived in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The city is also home to the oldest building in California that is still in use, a chapel built in 1782 and dedicated to Saint John of Capistrano.
It is believed that Junipero Serra celebrated Mass in “Father Serra’s Church,” also known as “Serra’s Chapel,” which is the sole remaining edifice where this has been documented. The mission is one of the most well-known in Alta California, and it is also one of the few to have been founded twice – the others being Mission San Gabriel Arcángel and Mission La Pursima Concepción – making it unique among missions in the region.
When Fermn Lasuén dedicated the site on October 30, 1775, the indigenous community of San Diego protested, prompting Lasuén to abandon it shortly after.
The historical records of the settlement make it clear that the populace had a thriving existence. There were around 550 indigenous Acjachemen people who resided in this area of their territory prior to the advent of the missionaries. Approximately 700 Mission Indians resided in or around the Mission compound by 1790, and almost 1,000 “neophytes” (fresh converts) lived in or around the Mission site six years later. There were 1,649 baptisms in that year alone, out of a total of 4,639 persons who were converted from 1776 and 1847, according to the census.
Mission San Juan Capistrano is also home to a number of other historic landmarks.