Missions of San Antonio: Mission Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, c.1755

August 27, 2015 PowerPoint  Humanities Week 2 Missions of San Antoino          Worksheet:  Humanities Week 2 Missions of San Antonio Worksheet

Spain’s expulsion of the Moors and its decision to support Columbus’s voyage of discovery, both of which took place the same year, opened a new world of possibilities. In the Americas, Spain soon began to use its soldiers to extend its domain, find wealth, and spread the Catholic faith.

Though Spain failed to find gold and silver as they had farther south, in present-day Arizona and New Mexico they established missions to work with peaceable American Indians and presidios (forts) to control hostile ones.

In the late 1600s the French, already in Canada, explored the Mississippi River to the point where it emptied into the Gulf of Mexico.  This expansion posed a threat to Spain’s territory and Spain responded by extending its settlements into what is now Texas, thereby creating a buffer between the wealth of Mexico and French Louisiana.

US_English_Spanish_French_settlements_1776

The Spanish established themselves in Texas by using the same system they had established in Arizona and New Mexico. Through missions, presidios, and an adjoining civilian community (a villa), missionaries and soldiers Christianized andHispanicized the native population. The Spanish hoped that with the help of these now-loyal Indians a relatively small number of Spain’s men would be needed to defend the empire’s frontier.

One base for Spanish missionary and military operations in Texas developed around SanAntonio. Two missions and a presidio were established in the San Antonio River valley between 1718 and 1720, and the Spanish added three new missions in the valley in 1731.

The missions brought control of Spain’s territories and  introduced Christianity to the native American Indians.  In addition, the missions brought “modern” technological skills to these areas and established ways of life necessary for meeting the ruling Spanish on their own terms.  Lastly, missions provided protection from other more aggressive tribes in the region.

Mission Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion was home to a number of distinct nomadic tribes collectively known as Coahuiltecans. It was established by the Franciscan Order and organized like a small village, with storage buildings, a workshop and a church at its core. Friars lived in cubicles in the convent that flanked the church, and mission Indians lived in housing built along the inside perimeter wall of the complex. Beyond lay orchards, fields of crops and ranches for grazing livestock.

The church was built in a baroque design modeled after ornate churches found in Spain.  Construction materials consisted of adobe and rubble then faced inside and out with stone and lastly, coated with plaster.  The floor plan from a bird’s eye view formed a cross which is the traditional design for churches. The mission church was adorned on the interior and exterior with frescoes.  On the exterior, borders were painted using geometric and floral designs that emphasized the building’s architectural parts, outlining windows and creating the fictive columns that frame the openings in the bell tower.  Today, the mission still contains some fragments of the frescoes that once enlivened the interior with color and religious imagery.

Continue reading Common Sense, by Thomas Paine for your book report due on October 8.  Many of you have told me it is challenging reading. In 1775, this was written for the common man.  Enjoy!

Have a great week. – Mrs. S

“All praise to God, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.”  – Ephesians 1:3

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