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Carmel Mission Bell Towers and Front Facade
  • Carmel Mission History


  • Carmel Mission Artifacts


  • Carmel Mission Architecture


  • Carmel Mission Parish


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.

Carmel Mission Bell Tower and Roof

A Brief Historical Timeline

Carmel Mission Historical Dates & Accounts
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.
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.
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.