Mexican Villages, Loreto, Baja California Sur
My guess is you have probably never heard of Loreto but believe it or not there was a time when this little village was the capital of California, actually Loreto was the first capital of California. Hernan Cortes first tried to establish a presence in California in 1533, but failed, really bad. It would be over a hundred more years until another white person was seen in California.
In October 25, 1697, a Jesuit missionary named Juan Maria de Salvatierra came with a crew of 9 Spanish settlers and established la Mision de Nuestra Senora de Loreto Concho (or as everyone calls it today Mission Loreto). The mission didn’t do that well because the natives in California didn’t really need the Spanish. The Californians would come for food, given to them by the Spanish, but then the Spanish wouldn’t help grow the food, which got the Californians mad, which got the Spanish mad so they would lock the Californians up, but then no one was growing food, so there were lots of famines.
The famine cycle would repeat itself for another 73 years until in 1769 the Franciscans took over the mission and sent a guy named Junipero Serra. If the name sounds familiar it is because we would go on to establish 21 missions in what was back then known as Alta California.
This cycle would repeat itself for another 73 years until in 1769 the Franciscans took over the missions. They sent a guy named Junipero Serra (yeah that guy) to take over the mission. His formula was a little different in that he required both the Spanish and the Californians to work, which actually worked, but Junipero Serra had a serious case of itchy feet, so he left and went to establish more missions more north.
Without Junipero Serra Loreto didn’t really grow but it did serve as jumping off point for more northern expeditions. Loreto would serve as the capital of California until the capital was moved to Monterrey in 1777.
Loreto today is kind of a mellow resort town that caters to a mix of local fisherman and Canadian retirees. We were not there for very long and only got the chance to visit a few restaurants, a local beach, and the one major historical building that is Mision Loreto.
I did notice that there were some American retirees moving in so I will expect this place to become another expat haven like Puerto Vallarta soon, which means the prices are going to go up.
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