THE HISTORY OF U.S. HISPANICS/LATINOS
El Camino Real de California
A journey through history/Un viaje a través de la historia
Every time I go on one of my history tours, I feel like I'm traveling back in time, following 16-18th centuries maps on 21st century highways. But nowhere is that feeling more real that in California!
It's impressive. California doesn't let you forget you are traveling on El Camino Real.
If you are traveling north or south on some of the state's major coastline highways, you are constantly being reminded that you are on a road with a history that dates back to the Spanish missionaries of the 1700s, the road that still connects the 21 missions they built more than two centuries ago.
Hispanic Heritage is not hidden here. In fact, you are constantly reminded of the road's historical significance. And they don't remind you in a subtle way. They have bells all over the state!
These are not mission church bells. These are markers, just to remind us that the road has a history. If you live in California, you probably take them for granted. But if you are a visitor driving on El Camino Real, "Wow." You see them everywhere!
They remind you that, when you follow El Camino Real, you are following California's history. Stretching more than 600 miles (1000 kms) from San Diego in the south to Mission San Francisco Solano in the north, this is the road traversing the state through the heart of its largest cities, which also happen to be Spanish in origin.
Some of those cities first started as Spanish missions, pueblos or presidios (forts), and the road still connecting them was first established by Franciscan padres, Native Americans and Spanish soldiers who worked together to create a safe passage through California in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
There are other "Royal Roads" connecting Spanish missions in Texas, New Mexico and Baja California, Mexico.
you see a reminder every few miles????, sometimes at one-mile intervals!
As you drive on El Camino Real, the road that has connected California's Spanish missions for more than two centuries,
Next: The Great Hispanic American History Tour treks north on El Camino Real to