Juan María de Salvatierra

Juan María de Salvatierra, S.J., (November 15, 1648 – July 17, 1717) was a Catholic missionary to the Americas.

Salvatierra was born Gianmaria Salvatierra in Milan, then the capital of the Duchy of Milan, a part of the Holy Roman Empire. His father was of Spanish origin, and his mother was Italian.[1][2] He studied in the Jesuit college of Parma. It was there that he accidentally came across a book on the "Indian missions," which fascinated him. He entered the Jesuit Order in Genoa and in 1675 he sailed for the Viceroyalty of New Spain, present-day Mexico. There he further studied theology, and was for several years professor of rhetoric in the College of the Holy Spirit in Puebla.

Declining a position in the cathedral, he received permission to devote himself to the conversion of the indigenous people of southwestern North America, and in June 1680, set out for the lands of the Tarahumara people in the mountains of Chihuahua. He lived among them for 10 years, founding several Catholic missions along the way. He was subsequently appointed visitor of the Spanish missions in the Sonoran Desert in the Sonora y Sinaloa Province of the Real Audiencia of Guadalajara in New Spain (Mexico). While there he formed a project for the "spiritual conquest" of Baja California, as all the military expeditions to that region of Las Californias had been without success.

Soon afterwards, through conversations with the missionary explorer, Father Eusebio Kino, he conceived an intense desire for the evangelization of the Baja California peninsula, for which undertaking official authority was finally granted in 1697, with all expense to be at the cost of the missionaries. After obtaining permission from his superiors, he sailed on 10 October 1697 for the Baja California region of Las Californias Province, to found the Spanish missions in Baja California chain.

With one small boat's crew and six soldiers, Salvatierra landed on 15 October 1697 at Bahía Concepción, on the coast of the Baja Peninsula, and a few days later, on 19 October, he laid the foundation of Misión Nuestra Señora de Loreto, the first of the Baja California missions, which he dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto, his special patroness through life. For a time he acted as priest, captain, sentry, and cook, besides studying the languages from a vocabulary prepared by earlier Jesuit missionaries Father Kino and Father Juan Copart, and from indigenous people who could be induced to come near.

He soon mastered an indigenous language, and in seven years established six other missions along the Baja California coast. He also made some important explorations. In the organization and later conduct of the work his chief collaborator was Father Juan de Ugarte. The contributions for this purpose, by generous donors, formed the basis of the historic Fondo Piadoso, or Pious Fund of the Californias. (Later, it was a subject of controversy between the republican government of Mexico and the U.S.)

In 1704 he was appointed Provincial Superior of the Society, and resided in Mexico, but when his term was concluded in 1707 he returned to his missions in Baja.

In 1717 he was called to the capital by the Viceroy Baltasar de Zúñiga y Guzmán, to provide material for a history of California which King Philip V had ordered to be written. Although suffering from illness, Salvatierra obeyed, and, crossing the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), continued his voyage along the coast until he arrived in and died at the colonial city of Guadalajara in the Kingdom of New Galicia. The whole city assembled at his funeral, and the remains were deposited amidst ceremonies rarely seen at the burial of a Jesuit missionary, in the chapel which he had erected to the Lady of Loreto.

He wrote Cartas sobre la Conquista espiritual de Californias (1698) and Nuevas cartas sobre Californias (1699), which have been used by Father Miguel Venegas in his Historia de Californias, and his Relaciones (1697–1709) in Documentos para la Historia de Mexico (1853-7).

Salvatierra is still known as "the Apostle of California," a title he shares with Franciscan friar Junípero Serra, who founded many of the Spanish missions in Alta California.

Juan María de Salvatierra
Juan María Salvatierra, S.J.

Monuments and memorials

Salvatierra Walk at Stanford University is named for Fr. Salvatierra.

Salvatierra Crater in the El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve is named for Fr. Salvatierra in honor of his and Kino's 1701 explorations of the region.

See also


  1. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=LeZLxC3_iaUC&pg=PA38&lpg=PA38&dq=juan+maria+de+salvatierra&source=bl&ots=nJTsUJhv_u&sig=PPKoHlUzPtD2Uz48UkdZ0tSo6-Y&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB0Q6AEwADgeahUKEwiV886OrbbHAhXFkA0KHUfnC9w#v=onepage&q=juan%20maria%20de%20salvatierra&f=false
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-08-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)


External links



was a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar, the 1648th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 648th year of the 2nd millennium, the 48th year of the 17th century, and the 9th year of the 1640s decade. As of the start of 1648, the Gregorian calendar was

10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1648 has been suggested as possibly the last year in which the overall human population declined, coming towards the end of a broader period of global instability which included the collapse of the Ming dynasty and the Thirty Years' War, the latter of which ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia.



was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1717th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 717th year of the 2nd millennium, the 17th year of the 18th century, and the 8th year of the 1710s decade. As of the start of 1717, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

Baja California Sur

Baja California Sur (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbaxa kaliˈfoɾnja suɾ] (listen), English: "South Lower California"), officially the Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur (English: Free and Sovereign State of South Lower California), is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted state of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico.

Before becoming a state on 8 October 1974, the area was known as the El Territorio Sur de Baja California ("South Territory of Lower California"). It has an area of 73,909 km2 (28,536 sq mi), or 3.57% of the land mass of Mexico, and occupies the southern half of the Baja California Peninsula, south of the 28th parallel, plus the uninhabited Rocas Alijos in the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered to the north by the state of Baja California, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, and to the east by the Gulf of California, or the "Sea of Cortés". The state has maritime borders with Sonora and Sinaloa to the east, across the Gulf of California.

The state is home to the tourist resorts of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. Its largest city and capital is La Paz.


The Cochimí were the aboriginal inhabitants of the central part of the Baja California peninsula, from El Rosario in the north to San Javier in the south.

They spoke a set of dialects or closely related languages that have been classified in a variety of ways. The most prominent division, between Northern Cochimí and Southern Cochimí, has generally been put to the south of San Ignacio (Mixco 1978, 1979, 2006; Laylander 1997). At one time designated "Peninsular Yuman", Cochimí bears an evident relationship to the Yuman languages of northern Baja California, southern California, and western Arizona. Mauricio J. Mixco (1978, 2006) reassessed this relationship and judged it to be too distant for Cochimí to be included within the Yuman family proper. He placed Cochimí as a sister language to the Yuman family, thus forming the Yuman–Cochimí family.

The Cochimí were first encountered by Spanish seaborne explorers during the sixteenth century, including Ulloa, Cabrillo, Vizcaíno, and others. Sporadic encounters continued until the Jesuits established missions on the peninsula in the late seventeenth century. Eusebio Francisco Kino made an abortive foundation at San Bruno, to the north of Loreto, in 1683-1685. Juan María de Salvatierra began the first successful mission in 1697 at Loreto among the Monqui, who were southern neighbors of the Cochimí. This was quickly followed by Francesco Maria Piccolo's Cochimí mission at San Javier in 1699. Over the next seven decades, the frontier of Jesuit control over the Cochimí gradually extended northward, with missions at Mulegé (1705, Comondú (1708), La Purísima (1720), Guadalupe (1720), San Ignacio (1728), Santa Gertrudis (1751), San Borja (1762), and Santa María (1767). After the Spanish crown expelled the Jesuits from Baja California in 1768, the Franciscans under Junípero Serra established an additional mission at San Fernando Velicatá (1769) on their way north to Alta California. The Franciscans' successors in Baja California, the Dominicans, created the final new mission among the Cochimí at El Rosario (1774). Decimated by epidemics of Old World diseases, the Cochimí population declined, until sometime in the nineteenth or possibly the early twentieth century their language and traditional culture became extinct.

The Cochimí were hunter-gatherers, without agriculture or metallurgy. Pottery-making may have reached the northern Cochimí before Spanish contact (Rogers 1945). Their material culture was generally simple, but it suited their arid environment and mobile lifestyle. The highest level of social organization was the autonomous local community, and inter-community conflicts appear to have been frequent. Among the unusual cultural traits noted for the Cochimí and some of their neighbors were the second harvest of the pitahaya, the maroma, wooden tablas, and human-hair capes:

The fruit of pitahaya cactus provided a highly valued but short-lived seasonal food resource. Subsequent to the pitahaya harvest, Baja Californians winnowed undigested pitahaya seeds from their own dried excrement and then roasted and ate this "second harvest".

Another unusual food trait was the maroma. A valued morsel of meat was tied with a string, swallowed, then pulled back up and passed to the next person in a circle of consumers, until the meat finally disintegrated.

Tablas were wooden tablets with painted designs and/or drilled holes, used in religious ceremonies. Some of these artifacts have been found archaeologically (Massey 1972; Hedges 1973; Meigs 1974).

Capes made from donated human hair were worn by shamans on ceremonial occasions (Meigs 1970).Information on Cochimí customs and beliefs has been preserved in the brief observations by explorers but, above all, in the writings of the Jesuits (Aschmann 1959; Laylander 2000; Mathes 2006). Particularly important and detailed are the works of Miguel Venegas (1757, 1979) and Miguel del Barco (1973).

Ernest J. Burrus

Ernest Joseph Burrus (1907–1991) was a Jesuit and a leading historian of northwestern New Spain, particularly the Baja California peninsula and Sonora. He made notable contributions in editing many accounts of the Jesuit period in documents from European archives.

Burrus was born in El Paso, Texas, on April 20, 1907. He received his ordination as a Jesuit priest in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1938. In the following year, the Nazi regime arrested and expelled him. After teaching for 10 years, in 1950 he was transferred to work at the Jesuit Historical Institute in Rome. He died on December 11, 1991.The documents which he published in Spanish, in English translation, or both, covered a wide geographical range, but with a particular focus on northwestern New Spain. Among the most noteworthy book-length publications are a four-column history of the Jesuits in New Spain by Francisco Javier Alegre and accounts by Jesuit missionaries including Eusebio Francisco Kino, Juan María de Salvatierra, Francisco María Piccolo, Wenceslaus Linck, Benno Ducrue, and others. Burrus also produced many articles for scholarly journals.

Francisco García de la Rosa Figueroa


[1]Francisco García Figueroa (b. in the latter part of the 18th century in Toluca, Mexico; date of death unknown) was a Franciscan who supervised the compilation of a significant catalogue of historical documents relating to the Spanish colonial period of Latin America.

He was lector emeritus of his order, prefect of studies of the college of Tlatelolco, superior of general convents, definitor, custodian, twice provincial of the province of Santo Evangelio, and visitor to the other provinces of New Spain. On 21 February 1790, a royal order was received directing that all documents shedding light on the history of New Spain should be copied and sent to Spain, the order designating in some instances special documents which were wanted. The Count of Revillagigedo, viceroy from 1789 to 1794, entrusted to Father Figueroa the work of selecting, arranging, and copying these manuscripts.

Figueroa managed in under three years to turn over to the Government thirty-two folio volumes relating to the political and ecclesiastical history of the provinces. One copy, which was sent to Spain and examined by the chronicler Muñoz, is preserved in the Academia de Historia; the other was kept in Mexico in the Secretaría del Virreinado, and from there was transferred to the general archives of the Palacio Nacional. The first volume of this was missing, but about 1872 a copy of it was made from that preserved in Madrid. To the original thirty-two volumes another was added, compiled years afterwards by some Franciscans, which contains a minute index of the contents of the work. Two other copies of the thirty-two volumes were found; one remained in Mexico, and the other was taken to the United States to the H.H. Bancroft collection.


The Guaycura (Waicura, Waikuri, Guaycuri) were a native people of Baja California Sur, Mexico, occupying an area extending south from near Loreto to Todos Santos They contested the area around La Paz with the Pericú. The Guaycura were nomadic hunter-gatherers. They are distinguished by a language unrelated to any other Native American language, indicating in the opinion of some linguists that their ancestry in Baja California dates back thousands of years.

The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) of the Catholic Church established Christian missions in their territory in the 18th century. The Guaycura may have numbered 5,000 at the time of Spanish contact, but their numbers quickly declined, mostly due to European diseases. They became extinct as a culture by about 1800, the survivors being absorbed into the mestizo society of Mexico.


Guaymas (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈɡwajmas]) is a city in Guaymas Municipality, in the southwest part of the state of Sonora, in northwestern Mexico. The city is 117 km south of the state capital of Hermosillo, and 242 miles from the U.S. border. The municipality is located on the Gulf of California and the western edge of the Sonoran Desert and has a hot, dry climate and 117 km of beaches. The municipality’s formal name is Guaymas de Zaragoza and the city’s formal name is the Heróica Ciudad de Guaymas.The city proper is mostly an industrial port and is the principal port for the state of Sonora. The city has a well-attended annual carnival, which has been held since 1888. Nearby, San Carlos and its beaches are major tourist attractions.

History of California before 1900

Human history in California began when indigenous Americans first arrived some 13,000–15,000 years ago. Coastal exploration by Europeans began in the 16th century, and settlement by Europeans along the coast and in the inland valleys began in the 18th century. California was ceded to the United States under the terms of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the defeat of Mexico in the Mexican–American War. American westward expansion intensified with the California Gold Rush, beginning in 1848. California joined the Union as a free state in 1850, due to the Compromise of 1850. By the end of the 19th century, California was still largely rural and agricultural, but had a population of about 1.4 million.

Juan de Ugarte

Juan de Ugarte, S.J., (1662–1730) was a Jesuit missionary and explorer in Baja California Sur, New Spain, and the successor to Juan María de Salvatierra as head of the peninsula's missions.

Ugarte was born in Tegucigalpa, then in the Kingdom of Guatemala, part of New Spain, today Honduras. He went to Mexico to enter the Society of Jesus in 1679. His younger brother, Pedro de Ugarte, was also a Jesuit missionary in Baja California. After his ordination, he was assigned to teach philosophy at the Colegio Máximo de San Pedro y San Pablo in Mexico City. It was there that he came to know two fellow Jesuits coming from Europe who were headed to the missions on the frontier of the Spanish Empire, the Italian Salvatierra and the Italo-German Eusebio Kino. Through conversing with them, Ugarte chose to commit his life to these misisons as well.Ugarte was initially the procurator for the newly established missions of California in 1697–1700. As such, he was stationed in Mexico City, administering the Pious Fund of the Californias, a fund of private donations that supported the missions, and seeing to the logistical support necessary to sustain them.

In 1701, Ugarte went to the peninsula as its third missionary, following in the footsteps of Salvatierra and Francisco María Piccolo. Stopping first at Mission Loreto, he proceeded to Mission San Francisco Javier which had been abandoned the previous year due to threats from the native population, arriving there in 1702. It was there that he established his home for the rest of his life, among the Cochimí Indians. Ugarte was an able and energetic leader in the expansion and development of the mission system. He served as visitador or Visitator for the missions in Salvatierra's absence and after the latter's death in 1717.

Ugarte led several expeditions of overland exploratio to seek out mission or visita sites in the region surrounding San Javier. More spectacularly, he oversaw the construction of a ship, "El Triunfo de la Cruz", from locally harvested lumber called gueribo found at La Sierra "La Giganta". In September 1720, Ugarte sailed his new ship from Loreto to La Paz to help found a new mission there. In the following year, he sailed to the head of the Gulf of California, trying to resolve the longstanding question of whether California was an island or a peninsula.

He died at Mission San Francisco Javier in 1730.

Loreto, Baja California Sur

Loreto (or Conchó) is a resort town and municipal seat of Loreto Municipality, located on the Gulf of California in eastern Baja California Sur state, Mexico. In 2019, the city of 20,385 inhabitants is located about 350 km (220 mi) north of La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur state.The city is a tourist resort, catering mostly to American travelers, with daily flights from California to Loreto International Airport.

Miguel Venegas

Miguel Venegas (1680–1764) was a Jesuit administrator and historian. He is most known for his book Noticia de la California, a standard geographical, historical, and ethnographic description of Baja California, Mexico—a region he never personally visited.

Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó

Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó, or Mission Loreto, was founded on October 25, 1697 at the Monqui Native American (Indian) settlement of Conchó in the present city of Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Established by the Catholic Church's Jesuit missionary Juan María de Salvatierra, Loreto was the first successful mission and Spanish town in Baja California. The mission is located at 26°00′37″N 111°20′36″W.

The mission closed in 1829. The Mission Church survives and is located in downtown Loreto.


The Monqui were indigenous peoples of Mexico (American Indians), who lived in the vicinity of Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico, at the time of Spanish contact. Monqui territory included about 65 kilometres (40 mi) of coast along the Gulf of California and extended a few kilometers inland to where the Cochimi people lived.

Probably first encountered by explorers traveling up the Gulf of California during the sixteenth century, the Monqui were subjected to some of the peninsula's earliest intensive Jesuit missionary efforts during the late seventeenth century. The Tyrolean Jesuit Eusebio Francisco Kino, together with Admiral Isidoro de Atondo y Antillon, unsuccessfully attempted to establish Misión San Bruno on the northern margin of Monqui territory in 1684-1685. The first permanent mission and settlement in Baja California was founded in Monqui territory at Loreto in 1697 by Juan María de Salvatierra.

In contrast to many of their Jesuit colleagues, Kino and Salvatierra included relatively few notes on native ethnography in their letters and reports. Most of what is known about the aboriginal culture of the Monqui comes from incidental comments in explorers' accounts and at second hand in the works of the Jesuit historian Miguel Venegas (1757, 1979).

Pious Fund of the Californias

The Pious Fund of the Californias (Spanish: Fondo Piadoso de las Californias) is a fund, originating in 1697, to sponsor the Roman Catholic Jesuit Spanish missions in Baja California, and Franciscan Spanish missions in Alta California in the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1769 to 1823, and originally administered by the Jesuits. It became the object of litigation between the US and Mexican governments in the 19th century, with the resolution making legal history in The Hague in 1902.

Society of Jesus

The Society of Jesus (SJ; Latin: Societas Iesu) is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church for men founded by Ignatius of Loyola and approved by Pope Paul III. The members are called Jesuits (Latin: Iesuitæ). The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a Basque nobleman from the Pyrenees area of northern Spain, founded the society after discerning his spiritual vocation while recovering from a wound sustained in the Battle of Pamplona. He composed the Spiritual Exercises to help others follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 1534, Ignatius and six other young men, including Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, gathered and professed vows of poverty, chastity, and later obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope in matters of mission direction and assignment. Ignatius's plan of the order's organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by a bull containing the "Formula of the Institute".

Ignatius was a nobleman who had a military background, and the members of the society were supposed to accept orders anywhere in the world, where they might be required to live in extreme conditions. Accordingly, the opening lines of the founding document declared that the society was founded for "whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God to strive especially for the defence and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine." Jesuits are thus sometimes referred to colloquially as "God's soldiers", "God's marines", or "the Company", which evolved from references to Ignatius' history as a soldier and the society's commitment to accepting orders anywhere and to endure any conditions. The society participated in the Counter-Reformation and, later, in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council.

The Society of Jesus is consecrated under the patronage of Madonna Della Strada, a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is led by a Superior General. The headquarters of the society, its General Curia, is in Rome. The historic curia of Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit mother church.

In 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the first Jesuit to be elected Pope, taking the name Pope Francis.

Spanish missions in Baja California

The Spanish missions in Baja California were a large number of religious outposts established by Catholic religious orders, the Jesuits, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, between 1683 and 1834 to spread the Christian doctrine among the Native Americans or Indians living on the Baja California peninsula. The missions gave Spain a valuable toehold in the frontier land, and introduced European livestock, fruits, vegetables, and industry into the region. The Indians were severely impacted by the introduction of European diseases such as smallpox and measles and by 1800 their numbers were a fraction of what they had been before the arrival of the Spanish.

Mexico secularized all missions in its territory in 1834 and the last of the missionaries departed in 1840. Some of the mission churches survive and are still in use.

The Californias

The Californias (Spanish: Las Californias), occasionally known as the Three Californias or Two Californias, are a region of North America spanning the United States and Mexico and consisting of the U.S. state of California and the Mexican states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. Historically, the term "The Californias" was used to define the vast northwestern region of Spanish America, as the Province of the Californias (Spanish: Provincia de las Californias), and later as a collective term for Alta California and the Baja California Peninsula.Originally a single, vast entity within the Spanish Empire, as the Californias became defined in their geographical limits, their administration was split various times into Baja California (Lower California) and Alta California (Upper California), especially during the Mexican control of the region, following the Mexican War of Independence. As a part of the Mexican–American War (1846–48), the American Conquest of Alta California saw the vast Alta California territory ceded from Mexico to the United States. The populated coastal region of the territory was Admitted into the Union in 1850 as the State of California, while the vast, sparsely-populated interior region would only later gain statehood as Nevada, Utah, and large parts of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Today, "The Californias" is a collective term to refer to the American and Mexican states bearing the name California, which share geography, history, cultures, and strong economic ties.

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