How Big Were Their Footprints?

Mission Era


The Spanish priests planned a small ranch or farm to bring the Catholic religion to the valley, and to supply food for the San Gabriel Mission. Here are the things they did to change the natural environment of the valley:



Diverted creek water for irrigation

Probably not too permanent of a change since nature could change it at any time

Introduced foreign grains and plants

This tends to crowd out native plants and change the food supply for native animals.

Built permanent buildings

These were the first permanent structures in the valley -- However they were not too permanent, since you can't find any traces of the first estancia buildings today, and the second estancia had nearly all melted by 1919.

Brought cattle and sheep to the valley

Anytime you bring in animals from another place, you change the balance of nature. Native animals have to compete for food.

Brought smallpox to the Indians

Huge numbers of Natives died from this disease.

Taught the Indians to farm

The Natives had been hunters and gatherers, using only what nature provided. Now they had been encouraged to force Nature to grow they wanted, where they wanted. They would never be able to go back to their old ways.

The Bottom Line:

The European footprints were BIG and pretty DEEP. Traces of the ditches and buildings they built are still around nearly two-hundred years later. The BIGGEST effects were on the people, plants and animals that lived here before. Nothing would ever be the same again!