The Ohlone

Long before the arrival of the first Europeans, the south Bay was residence to a big native population—numbering 10,000 people. They had actually occupied the bay Area for hundreds of years split into as numerous as 40 live independence tribes. One together community, dubbed Thamien, was situated where the campus currently stands. Today, descendants speak to themselves “Ohlone”.

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The Ohlone lifestyle deserve to be explained as “hunter-gatherer”. Though they did not cultivate plants or herd residential animals, lock used innovative landscape administration practices, including prescribed burns, to make a living in the abundant south just region. They live in many settlements the 200 come 500 persons spread throughout the vast "Valley the Oaks” enjoying a diet that fish, shellfish, water fowl, venison, acorns, rabbit, and wild berries. Native the tule reeds uncovered near water’s edge castle made their houses and boats and they wove baskets indigenous the aboriginal sedge grasses. Ohlone faith revolved roughly elaborate ritual dances through dancers wearing vibrant regalia and tribal members communing in the tribal sweat lodge—for ensuring great hunts, heal illness and also expelling impurities.

This way of life had actually sustained the Ohlone for hundreds of years, yet the beginning of Spanish emigration in 1769 presented dramatic changes. Over the course of numerous generations, Ohlone society shifted native a traditional focus on hunting and gathering to agriculture; native holding strictly tribal identities to having blended “mission” identities; from their indigenous worldview to becoming, at least outwardly, Catholic Christian converts and citizens the the Spanish Empire. How could this happen?

Franciscan switch practices began largely v attraction rather than conquest: starting with strategy trade and also outright gifts. Yet, once people joined the mission they were not enabled to leave. Sadly, historic accounts expose harsh punishments (by modern standards) that withholding food, corporal punishments, and also imprisonment for wayward converts. Yet, over there was one more motivator for joining the mission: namely, the boosting scarcity of native game and also foods brought around by the herds the cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and also goats imported through the Spanish. Over-grazing of the native grasses and also growing displacement that the native video game gave the mission one increasing monopoly over the neighborhood food supply. Eventually, the brand-new trade an abilities of ranching, farming, tanning, adobe brick and tile making happened seen together necessary an abilities for survival.


Considering the number of converts and productivity, the padres proclaimed Mission Santa Clara very early success. Yet, this success confirmed fleeting. Weakened by the clash the cultures and also waves the epidemics: chiefly tiny pox and also measles, the Ohlone populace dwindled by 1830 to 2,500 people. Mexican freedom from Spain in 1822 only quickened the collapse of the mission system and also undermined the to plan return that mission land property to the Ohlone. The California gold Rush, carried waves the prospectors and pioneers--along through unscrupulous wheeler-dealers--pushing the staying Ohlone come the margins of California society.

However, the Ohlone civilization did no disappear. Countless family groups have reclaimed your heritage and also are search Federal recognition in ours time.

indigenous Mission to university

The story now turns to Mission Santa Clara de Asis, the 8thmission in the chain of 21 Franciscan missions established by Padre Junipero Serra. It was very first founded January 12, 1777 on the financial institutions of the Guadalupe flow (just phibìc of Hwy 101, the contrary the Mineta global Airport) and the first to be affected by each other the name of a woman, St. Claire that Assisi, very early companion of St. Francis. Flood, fire and earthquake forced 5 relocations till the Mission finally settled on this existing site in 1822.


indigenous the start, Mission Santa Clara was expected to offer as the sisters mission to Mission Dolores in san Francisco. Spanish Viceroy Bucareli’s grand design intended Mission Dolores (and its Presidio) come anchor the mouth of san Francisco Bay through Mission Santa Clara anchoring the southern Bay--receiving goods and services meant for the brand-new Pueblo of san Jose.

Mission Santa Clara appeared to prosper at first: boasting the highest number of converts and recording record productivity made possible by the fertile, well-watered lands and also temperate climate. Yet this was no to last.

The constantly present clash the cultures, epidemics and also growing rivalries v the adjacent Pueblo of san Jose were just made worse by Mexico’s secession from the Spanish empire in 1822, once royal funding completely dried up. At the secession, the fledgling Mexican government found few resources for sustaining such far-off missions. By the finish of the 1830’s, the brand-new government secularized all 21 objectives (i.e. They returned the mission lands come Ohlone ownership) and also expelled the Spanish Franciscans loyal to the King the Spain and also inadvertently abandoned the Ohlone to the pioneers and also the profiteers.

With poor funds to maintain the complex, and also a solitary priest to run the Mission as a parish church, the property fell into serious decay. In 1850, Bishop Joseph Alemany approached a Jesuit priest, Fr. John Nobili, S.J., to turn the parish and its nearby lands right into a college. This meant transferring the building from Franciscan ownership to Jesuit ownership. For this reason on march 19, 1851, Mission Santa Clara ended up being the an initial college of greater learning in the brand-new state of California.


shortly after, the brand-new college president, Burchard Villager, S.J., began a rebuilding project to update the campus’ decrepit buildings. Fr. Burchard additionally enlarged the Mission Church providing it a new facade. For a while, the building boasted one Italianate façade--with two bell towers-- all made of hardwood (similar in format to St. Joseph’s Cathedral in mountain Jose). A damaging fire in 1926 completely consumed this remodeled building. That was determined to rebuild its replacement not in the layout of the remodeled, Italianate structure but in the idealized neo‑colonial format fashionable in ~ the time. Drawing from actual historic photographs, castle resurrected more of the initial 1825 single bell tower structure. This is the structure you check out today: comparable in length however twice as large as the 1825 Mission and much more sophisticated in detail. Fortunately, the structure was also built of steel reinforced concrete--rather 보다 adobe brick--making that much much more resistant to earthquakes and also fire.

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now Mission Santa Clara proceeds to offer as Santa Clara University’s college student chapel when its image has come to be the symbol for the neighborhood county, city, and also university bearing that name.