From 1493 until 1852, the Kingdom of Nueva España and later the independent Mexican Empire maintained a network of Franciscan missions throughout the future US states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. The idea, for better or worse, was to convert Native Americans to the Spanish way of life while fending off rivals for New World territory. With little access to imported building materials and skilled labor, the Padres and Native Americans invented an entirely new style of architecture and interior decoration. The Mission Style is still with us in its various reincarnations. Here are 11 photos of the originals, from the Alamo to Alta California.
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