In 1542 the first European explorer in California, Juan Cabrillo, sailed into what is known today as San Diego Bay and made first contact with the local inhabitants, the Kumeyaay people. It is widely agreed among scholars that the Kumeyaay people occupied this region for at least 12,000 years. To the north lived the Luiseño people, and to the east, the Cahuilla.
In 1769, Father Junípero Serra established the first Franciscan mission in California near the ancient Kumeyaay village of Kosa’aay, known today as Old Town San Diego. Father Serra, also known as the “Founder of California,” went on to establish 9 of the 21 missions from San Diego to San Francisco.
During our tour of the San Diego area, we will take an in-depth look into some of these missions, as well as the archaeology of the native people, which will tell us the story of their unique existence before and after the arrival of the Spanish.