The history of Carmel Mission (San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission) takes place over more than 200 years of California history. Carmel Mission was established in 1770 and is still regarded as one of the major cultural and historic landmarks in California and in the Carmel community. The history of Carmel Mission begins in 1542 when Alta California was discovered by the Spanish.
1542- Spanish explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo discoveres Alta California but it remains untouched until 1769.
1769- Father Junipero Serra and Don gasper De Portola lead the first Spanish expedition for colonization of alta California.
June 3, 1770- Carmel Mission is founded by the Monterey Bay. The mission was named after an Italian Cardinal from the 16th century, Saint Charles Borremeo.
The location of the Mission near the presidio of Monterey was not a good idea. Many of the Spanish soldiers were abusive to the Natives which was discouraging them from coming to the mission and a struggle had developed between Father Juniperro Serra and military governor Pedro Fages who was stationed at the Presidio during this period.
August 24, 1771- Father Junipero Serra decides to move the location of the mission to Carmel which creates
a more peaceful atmosphere at the mission, a better location for crops, and is closer to fresh water. Carmel Mission becomes Father Serra’s center of operation and the headquarters for all of California’s missions.
Its interesting to note that even though the location of the mission was moved from Monterey to Carmel, the original adobe and wood building was kept in Monterey and became the San Jose Chapel for the presidio of Monterey. The chapel is known today as the Royal Presidio Chapel.
August 28, 1784- Father Serra Passes away after 13 years of hard work at Carmel Mission. Father Fermin Lasuen continues Father Serra’s work at Carmel Mission.
Early 1800’s- Father Fermin Lasuen builds the church with stone on the site where the original adobe church once stood. The recontruction of the chruch is an important historical event because its the first California Mission Church built out of stone.
1834- The Mission is closed by the Mexican government and the property falls under Mexican control. The mission sadly decays over the next 50 years.
October 19, 1859- The Mission is given back to the Catholic Church by the United States.
1884- Restoration of Carmel Mission begins.
1933- Mr. Harry Downie is put in control of major restorations to the mission.
1961- Pope John XXIII names Carmel Mission’s church as a Basilica(The highest honor for a church that signifies artistic and historical importance. )
1987- Pope John II visits Carmel Mission to honor Father Junipero Serra, and to give an important address.