“Through Alien Eyes” (circa 1816)


A Russian visitor to California in 1816 noted the “maladies” or sicknesses of many Native people in the missions. Similarly, Father Mariano Payeras, who was president of the California missions when he wrote this quote in 1820, worried about the high rate of death and sickness at the missions. Contact with the Spanish exposed Native Californians to several deadly diseases for the first time. These diseases had come from Europe with the Spanish. The Spanish also brought animals such as cows, horses, and sheep, that ate a lot of Native people’s food. This caused problems with hunger and weakened immune systems for many Native people.

Original Resource: www.teachingcalifornia.org