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Documents from the Spanish & Mexican Periods
A virtual collection of documents and maps from the California State Archives and across the Web 

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Spanning little more than a single generation, "Old California" existed briefly during a time of great transition in the American Southwest. An often-romanticized period, it included the establishment of Spanish missions and pueblos along the California coast, designed to convert and civilize the native population, who had previously possessed the land for thousands of years. In turn, a populist Mexican revolt would overthrow the Spanish regime, secularize the missions, and establish in California large baron estates driven by the sale of hides and tallow. It ended almost as soon as it began, with the eventual crumbling of the Mexican system under the expansive ambitions of the United States. It was a time, however, that would shape the development of land settlement in California for the next century and a half, imbuing the Golden State with a unique complexity in all of the American West.

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