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El Presidio Reál de San Diego (Royal Presidio of San Diego) is an historical fort established on May 14, 1769, by Commandant Pedro Fages for Spainmarker. It was the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Coast. As the first of the presidios and Spanish missions in California, it was the base of operations for the Spanish colonization of California. The Mission San Diego de Alcalámarker later moved a few miles away.

In ruins since 1835, the site of the original Presidio currently lies on a hill within present-day Presidio Park although no structures remain. The San Diego Presidio was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

History

Prior to occupation by the Spanish, the site of the Presidio was home to the Kumeyaay people (called the Diegueños by the Spaniards).

San Diego, Californiamarker was first explored by Europeans as early as 1542, but no settlement was made until the fort was built in May 1769. The Presidio had a commanding view of San Diego Bay and the ocean, allowing the Spanish to see potential intruders.

Then, on July 16, 1769, Mission San Diego de Alcalámarker was established by Junípero Serra on Presidio Hill. Less than a month after the Mission was established, an uprising of Indians occurred; four Spaniards were wounded and a boy was killed. After the attack, the Spaniards built a stockade which was finished in March 1770. It included two bronze cannons: one pointed to the bay, the other to the nearby Indian village. (One of the cannons, El Jupiter, is now in the Serra Museum)

In 1773 and 1774, adobe structures were built to replace the temporary wood and brush huts. Later in 1774, the Mission was moved a few miles up Mission Valley to separate the Indians from the influence of the presidial garrison. By 1783, there were 54 troops stationed at the presidio.

Ruins of the San Diego Presidio (National Historic Landmarks collection).
With Mexican independence in 1821, the Presidio came under Mexican control, and was officially relinquished by the Spanish on April 20, 1822. From 1825-1829, it served as the Mexican Governor's residence. The Presidio was abandoned in 1835, after the Mexican government secularized the missions.

Preservation

In 1907, George Marston, a wealthy department store owner, bought Presidio Hill with an interest to preserve the site. Unable to attract city funding, Marston built a private park in 1925 with the help of architect John Nolen. Marston donated the park to the city in 1929.

No historical structures remain in Presidio Park today. The site is occasionally used for archaeological excavations.

Further reading

  • "Early History of the San Diego Presidial District, 1542-1782." UC Berkeley thesis, 1930, by Lucien C. Atherton.


See also



References

  1. NPS Red Book
  2. For the Revillagigedo Census of 1790, see The Census of 1790, California, California Spanish Genealogy. Retrieved on 2008-08-04. Compiled from William Marvin Mason. The Census of 1790: A Demographic History of California. (Menlo Park: Ballena Press, 1998). 75-105. ISBN 9780879191375.


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