Why Famous: Junípero Serra was a Franciscan friar remembered as the founder of the first missions in California.
Serra arrived in the New World in 1749 but it was not until 1769 that he reached Alto California as part of an expedition by the Spanish Governor.
Serra's first mission in California was the Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769 and it was the first of nine missions he would establish. Serra stayed in California and based himself in Carmel and was known as "Father Presidente" of the missions.
Pope John II beatified Serra in 1988, despite some protests over Serra's treatment of native Indian peoples.
- 1769-07-16 Father Junipero Serra founds Mission San Diego the 1st mission in California
- 1988-09-25 Pope John Paul II beatifies Friar Junípero Serra (founder of 1st Californian missions)