California Missions Trail

El Camino Real’s Connection to Santa Barbara Intertwined with History

By Jarrell Jackman

In his article titled El Camino Real’s Connection to Santa Barbara Intertwined with History, author Jarrell Jackman writes

El Camino Real, or The Royal Highway, is identified today with historical markers along Highway 101 from San Diego to San Francisco. The Spanish highway actually evolved over time as missions were founded that changed its course.

In the Santa Bárbara Presidio District, which extended from the San Fernando Valley to San Luis Obispo, the first site to be founded was not a mission, but El Pueblo de Los Ángeles in 1781. Next came Mission San Buenaventura in March 1782 and El Presidio de Santa Bárbara in April 1782.

Four years were to pass before Mission Santa Barbara was founded in December 1786, Mission La Purísima Concepción in 1787, Mission San Fernando Rey de España in 1797, and the last mission in the Presidio district, Mission Santa Inés in 1804.

After each founding, the Royal Highway had to be rerouted. A similar evolution followed for the development of the highway in the other military districts of Alta California.

By 1804, one might say the final route of El Camino Real during the Spanish period had been established in the Santa Barbara Presidio Military District, or had it? …

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