Alexandria Digital Research Library

Children at the Edge of the Empire: A History of Childhood in Coastal California's Pueblos and Missions, 1750 -- 1848

Crispin-Peralta, Vanessa Christine
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. History
Degree Supervisor:
Ann M. Plane
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
History, United States
History of childhood
Native American
Colonial California
Spanish California
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013

Colonial California has drawn the attention of professional and amateur historians since the late nineteenth century. The focus has largely been on missions and presidios, and to a lesser extent, the civilian settlements and ranchos. These have primarily been studies of men and/or native peoples, although recently scholars have begun to focus on the experiences of women, adding much to our understanding of the period. This project builds from and augments these earlier works by analyzing the lives of children in order to provide a new window into the complex colonial world of California. Native and Hispanic children were dramatically impacted by the process of Spanish settlement and colonial authorities often emphasized the important role that they would play in this process.

The concept of childhood infused the language of colonization in California and a clearer understanding of the ways that priests and secular authorities used it allows us to obtain a firmer grasp of the dynamic between Native Americans and these newcomers. The lives of native and Hispanic children reveal the role that children played in the creation of the Spanish empire in California as well as the establishment of a Hispanic culture. Throughout this study children emerge as colonizers, colonized individuals, members of families, conveyors of culture, laborers, students, and converts. The various roles they fulfilled demonstrate their importance to the colonial project as a whole. Parents and leaders within Hispanic and native communities recognized the importance of raising children in the appropriate way, so that their vision for California would either be preserved or come to fruition.

The lives of children from the pre-mission period through the end of the Mexican period provide a way to reconsider oft told stories from California's past in an effort to obtain a richer and more nuanced understanding of the way colonialism worked on the far reaches of the Spanish empire and the Mexican Republic.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (290 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Vanessa Crispin-Peralta
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