Have a Baja Moment! Visit the Mission at San Ignacio
The mission of San Ignacio de Kadakaamán was founded in 1728 by Padre Juan Bautista de Luyando as the 11th Spanish mission in California. San Ignacio was the northernmost mission for the next 23 years and today is the most northern Spanish mission in the modern Mexican state of Baja California Sur.
The site for San Ignacio was discovered in 1716 by Jesuit Padre Francisco Maria Piccolo on an expedition from the mission at Mulege. Piccolo had heard of a large settlement of Cochimí Indians and much fresh water at their home, called Kadakaamán. Once there, Piccolo found hundreds of natives awaiting conversion. Padre Piccolo named this place San Vicente for the next dozen years until a mission could be founded.
Many expeditions were launched out from San Ignacio in search of new mission sites. The most famous was led by Padre Fernando Consag in 1746 to the Colorado River delta. This expedition finally put an end to the idea that California was an island. Consag found a spring that would be developed for the next mission north. Consag called the site La Piedad and it was to become the mission of Dolores del Norte. However, when funds became available the benefactor requested the mission name be changed to Santa Gertrudis, in honor of his daughter.
San Ignacio’s date palms were originally planted by the Jesuits. Flash floods were responsible for great losses, so the Jesuits had a massive dike built. It was called a “muralla” and was three miles long, twelve feet high and up to forty feet wide and located just east of town.
The beautiful cut stone church construction was completed in 1786, by the Dominicans. The Dominican Order of Catholic Priests took over Baja California mission operations in 1772. San Ignacio proved to be a very successful mission and remained open until 1840. Today, the grand stone church is the center of the town of San Ignacio and faces the town plaza.
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