Missions of Baja California: Book Reference List for California History Studies

Oct 2014
As my new book nears its publishing, a list of the many sources of reference to the colorful history of Old California may be of value to others studying the history of California.

The 800 mile long peninsula was the first land to be called California after the European discovery in 1533/1534. California did not become Baja California until 1769 when missionaries and Spanish soldiers traveled north from the eighteen missions already established in California to occupy the vast land beyond the peninsula (that had no name of its own).

This new land (to the Spanish) was called New California or Alta (Upper) California. "Old" (Antigua) California would also be distinguished by being called Baja (Lower) California.

With the arrival of the Americans, "Alta" got dropped from the name, but Baja remained connected to California on the Mexican side of the new line (1848).

Enjoy my reference list for your own studies and entertainment and keep and eye open for the announcement of a brand new, comprehensive guide to the twenty-seven missions founded in Old or Baja California from 1697 to 1834.


Aschmann, Homer. 1959. The Central Desert of Baja California: Demography and Ecology. University of California Press.

Baegert, Johann Jakob, S.J. 1952. Observations in Lower California. University of California Press.
Barco, Miguel del, S.J. 1981. Ethnology and Linguistics of Baja California. Dawson’s Book Shop.
Beebe, Rose Marie and Senkewicz, Robert M. 2001. Lands of Promise and Despair, Chronicles of Early California, 1535-1846. Heyday Books.
Burckhalter, David. 2013, Baja California Missions, In the Footsteps of the Padres. University of Arizona Press.
Burrus, Ernest J., S.J. 1967. Wenceslaus Linck’s Diary of his 1766 Expedition to Northern Baja California. Dawson’s Book Shop.
------. 1971. Juan María de Salvatierra, S.J., Selected Letters about Lower California. Dawson’s Book Shop.
------. 1984. Jesuit Relations, Baja California, 1716-1762. Dawson’s Book Shop.

Clavigero, Don Francisco Javier, S.J. 1937. The History of [Lower] California. Stanford University Press.
Crosby, Harry. 1994. Antigua California, Mission and Colony on the Peninsular Frontier, 1697-1768. University of New Mexico Press.
------. 1974. The King’s Highway in Baja California, An Adventure into the History and Lore of a Forgotten Region. Copley Books.

Dunne, Peter Masten, S.J. 1968. Black Robes in Lower California. University of California Press.

Engelhardt, Zephyrin, O.F.M. 1929. The Missions and Missionaries of California, Volume 1, Lower California. Mission Santa Barbara.

Gerhard, Peter and Gulick, Howard. 1956. Lower California Guidebook. Arthur H. Clark Company.

Hittell, Theodore H. 1880. El Triunfo de la Cruz, The First Ship Built in the Californias. California Historical Society.

Jackson, Robert H. 1994. Indian Population Decline, The Missions of Northwestern New Spain, 1687-1840. University of New Mexico Press.
------. 2005. Missions and the Frontiers of Spanish America. Pentacle Press.

Kurillo, Max and Kier, David. 2013. The Old Missions of Baja & Alta California, 1697-1834. M & E Books.

Martinez, Pablo L. 1960. A History of Lower California. Editorial Baja California.
Mathes, Dr. W. Michael. 1977. The Mission of Baja California, 1683-1849, An Historical-Photographic Survey. Editorial Aristos.
------. 2009. The Land of Calafia: A Brief History of Peninsular California, (1533-1848). Corredor Histórico Carem.
Meigs, Peveril. 1935. The Dominican Mission Frontier of Lower California. University of California Press.

Nápoli, Ignacio María, S.J. 1970. The Cora Indians of Baja California, The Relacion of Father Ignacio Nápoli, S.J., September 20, 1721. Dawson’s Book Shop.
Nieser, Albert Bertrand, O.P. 1960. The Dominican Mission Foundations in Baja California, 1769-1822. Loyola University Dissertations.
North, Arthur Walbridge. 1910. Camp and Camino in Lower California. Baker & Taylor Company.

O’Neil, Ann and O’Neil, Don. 2001. Loreto, Baja California, First Mission and Capital of Spanish California. Tio Press.

Pepper, Choral. 1973. Baja California: Vanished Missions, Lost Treasures, Strange Stories Tall and True. Ward Ritchie Press.
Piccolo, Francisco María, S.J. 1967. Informe on the New Province of California, 1702. Dawson’s Book Shop.

Robertson, Tomás. 1978. Baja California and its Missions. La Siesta Press.
Sales, Luis, O.P. 1956. Observations on California, 1772-1790. Dawson’s Book Shop.

Taraval, Sigismundo, S.J. 1931. The Indian Uprising in Lower California, 1734-1737. The Quivira Society.
Tiscareno, Froy and Robinson, John W. 1969. José Joaquín Arrillaga Diary of His Surveys of the Frontier, 1796. Dawson’s Book Shop

Vernon, Edward W. 2002. Las Misiones Antiguas: The Spanish Missions of Baja California, 1683-1855. Viejo Press.
------. 2009. A Maritime History of Baja California. Viejo Press.

Weber, Msgr. Francis J. 1968. The Missions & Missionaries of Baja California. Dawson’s Book Shop.
------. 1979. The Peninsular California Missions, 1808-1880. Libra Press Limited.
Werschkul, Dave. 2003. Saints and Demons in a Desert Wilderness. Xlibris Corporation.
Wheelock, Walt. 1971. Byroads of Baja. La Siesta Press.

Zevallos, Francisco. 1968. The Apostolic Life of Fernando Consag, Explorer of Lower California. Dawson’s Book Shop.